The Officials at the Ministry will not Understand…

It is frustrating that those with influence do not understand the nature of Steiner education, and are reluctant to look in to it sufficiently in order to understand it.

Our former MP David Drew has stated his support for Steiner education and current MP Mr Carmichael does not oppose the free school application. As we know, the Steiner movement managed to win the support of the DfE for state funding, but perhaps not the support of the civil servants who looked in more detail.

Mr Carmichael, who was on the Education Select Committee, and should have even greater reason to get to the bottom of the matter, does not know anything whatsoever about anthroposophy, and thinks the free school “will not be a Steiner school” despite it being pointed out that it will be under the leadership and direction of the SWSF. The name does slightly give it away too…

If it is not going to be a Steiner school, I think parents are being misled. What kind of education does Mr Carmichael think the children will receive, if not a Steiner one? In this case, I think they have even more explaining to do.

It is frustrating yet understandable, when we consider how the Steiner movement operates; economy with the truth is one way of describing it, obfuscation and deliberate misrepresentation of the facts would be another.

In “Faculty meetings with teachers -1919 – 1922” Rudolf Steiner talked about joining the Waldorf school with the school of Spiritual Science.

A teacher asked “Should we work toward making it possible for the Waldorf school to be under Dornach?”

Steiner answered;

At the moment, if  that connection were made official, people could break the Waldorf school’s neck.”

“What we can do…there is another way that could immediately bring you closer to your intention of complete connection with the anthroposophical movement. The proposal is that the Waldorf school declare itself prepared to host a conference that the anthroposophical society would present at Easter at the school. No-one could complain about that.

Certainly the independent Waldorf school could hold an anthroposophical conference on its own grounds. That is something we can do…I do not think there will be any public objection and the officials at the ministry will not even understand the difference. They will certainly not understand what it means.”

Pulling the wool over the eyes of “the ministry” seems to have begun at Steiner’s instigation, nearly 100 years ago, and if the reactions of ministers these days is anything to go on, continues to this day.

I already mentioned the role of the Easter Conference, in “training” both state and independent Steiner school teachers, and that the conference last year was held at a state funded Steiner School.

Some of the faculty meetings book is available to read on line.

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9 comments

  1. Jim

    It is frustrating that no local politician seems willing to criticise Steiner education in principle though at least David Drew and the local Labour party have come out strongly against the proposed free school on the basis that it is unnecessary and divisive.
    Neil Carmichael’s ignorance on this, or indeed any, issue does not surprise me but I was disappointed by David Drew’s unwillingness to engage in any discussion of the substance of Steiner education. Surely it can’t be a tactical reluctance to antagonise any sector of the local vote – by opposing the school he has already done that. However, we should be grateful for the opposition he has expressed.

  2. Helen

    Perhaps once someone in a prominent position has defended an institution it is difficult to admit you didn’t really know much about it and that maybe you were wrong?
    I am surprised if neither of these men is interested in reading enough about anthroposophy to get a picture of how it is used in the schools, so it is more likely they have decided it would be prudent not to investigate, thus avoiding a discussion.
    Did the Labour party really say it would be divisive ? So far I have only seen that word in the SNJ comment, which I assumed did not come from the Labour party.

  3. Helen

    Neil Carmichael cited the local “Focus” school as an example of a “well-run and successful faith school “.
    Well the parents who send their children there may consider it well run, but as a Plymouth Brethren school it is one of the most fundamentally religious schools around, and most parents would not consider it.
    My upbringing included a PB grandmother who lived with us, but the conflict with another religion meant neither won out – fortunate, eh?
    However, a point in Focus’s favour is that it is open about its ethos; it does not state the religious beliefs of the church on its own website, but does provide a link to the church website, where you get a pretty accurate picture of the set-up.
    If only Steiner schools would do the same…
    The Focus school apparently considered applying to be a free school, but didn’t want to change its ethos. How wise and honest.

  4. Helen

    Whilst I am on the subject, “The radio and television have become pipelines of filth” according to the beliefs of the Focus school held up as an example by Neil Carmichael.
    Yep, that’s how I remember PB views.

  5. Jim

    Where is this Fortune school? I’ve never heard of it, but I have found something called the Focus school. That seems to fit the description.

  6. Helen

    Oh dear, yes, you are right. I am so bad at proof reading my own stuff. I fixed it.
    Yes, it is the Focus school. I can’t believe there are so many of them [schools] around the country. You do see the women around the town here wearing long skirts and headscarves or black bands. They look a bit like the Amish. Of course you never notice the men – they are dressed normally, as with some other religions.

  7. Jim

    Aha. Now it makes sense. I don’t know which is worse for a Plymouth Brethren child – normal school or PB school. At a normal school they are very much outsiders, sometimes not allowed to eat with others or visit friends. I guess at a PB school that’s one less pressure but at what cost?

  8. Helen

    Hmm. I was starting a reply but I can’t think of anything more to say about this without being uncivil to them, so I won’t.

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