The decision on a new free school in Stroud will be made at the Department for Education, but the debate rumbles on in the town.
Each week someone has a say in the local press; either a parent, a pupil, a Steiner supporter or critic writes a letter, or sometimes there is a report speculating on where any new school might be located, or whether there is demand.
This week is no exception with 3 people commenting on the fact that the money would be better spent on existing schools, and two responding to criticisms of Steiner schools from the previous week.
There is a report on the OFSTED inspection of a Steiner college recently downgraded to inadequate, and the news that an executive principal from Glasshouse College has been brought in to implement changes.
Two letters in defence of Steiner schools base their opinions on a local independent Steiner school; a parent claims that the GCSE and A level results “compare favourably” with local grammar schools. It seems this unfortunate parent who took her child out of an “over- subscribed and highly academic and competitive state secondary school” for unstated reasons, has been misled by the results statistics from the Steiner school, which do not tell the whole story as has been discussed here before.
How much research did this parent do, I wonder?
The other letter is from someone who has “grown up with many Steiner friends and watched them develop into some of the most amazing young people on this earth”.
This person, (who may or may not be Steiner educated themselves?) has bought into the myth spread among the Steiner community that they are superior in most if not every way to those on the “outside”. He or she says they are “understanding, empathetic and expressive”.
Seemingly unconnected but undoubtedly a symptom of the concentration of Steiner followers in our area is a letter against vaccination. The writer is a supporter of the Steiner free school initiative, and is expressing the view commonly held in the Steiner community that vaccines are harmful to health rather than beneficial.
If Steiner open their free school, Stroud will become even more of a hotbed for this kind of misinformation; a haven for those opting out of modern life; a return to a kind of medieval type lifestyle where we all live in poverty and disease for want of education and reason.
A frightening thought for those of us who do not subscribe to a New Age Steiner fantasy.