Wynstones Exam Results

In general exam results at Steiner schools are not considered worthy of discussion by proponents, as they claim to have other priorities.

Dick Baker chairman of the trustees of Wynstones Steiner school wrote to the Stroud News and Journal this week to say their academic results are “pretty impressive.” He mentions 2014 but I assume he means 2013.

He says “comparative school league tables for 2014 show that Wynstones school came third in the county of Gloucestershire for A level results…at GCSE level students achieved 83% grades A* to C, well above the national average.”

These results would indeed be impressive if they were a percentage of the number of children in the year group at the school. In fact the figures refer to the percentage of exam entries. In other words, 83% of the students who entered received these grades.

There is no way of knowing what proportion of children in the year group took exams.

In 2013 there were 26 exam entries at A level. On the last figures available there were 23 students in the 6th form, and one wonders why only 26 A level exam entries were made. One A level is hardly worth spending two years’ studying for.

To look at science subjects, one person took physics and 2 took Biology and Chemistry.


A2 Exam Results June 2013 Series


 Subject Entries A* A B C D E U
 Art and Design: Fine Art 4   2 2        
 Art and Design: 3D Art 1     1        
 Biology 2 1 1          
 Chemistry 2   1 1        
 English Literature 7 2 1 3 1      
 French 1   1          
 German 2   2          
 History 1       1      
 Mathematics 2 1 1          
 Physics 1   1          
 Religious Studies 3   1 1 1      
 Total Exam Entries 26 4 11 8 3      
 Total % 100% 15% 42% 31% 11% 0 0 0



The 83% success rate for GCSEs is out of 99 exam entries. Looking at the roll for 2009 when the school was last inspected by the Schools Inspection Service, there were 250 students up to 16 That equates to roughly 25 children in a class up to 16 .

With 25 in a class, this would mean almost 4 GCSEs each. Not so impressive.


GCSE Results June 2013


 Subject Total A* A B C D E
 Art & Design 11 2 2 3 3   1
 Drama 8 1 2 1 3   1
 English 1         1  
 English Language 11 3 4 3 1    
 English Literature 11 6 3 1 1    
 Dutch 1     1      
 French 10 2 2 2 2 1 1
 German 8 5 1 1 1    
 Mathematics 13 3 2 4 2 1 1
 Music 1   1        
 Science 12   5 4 1 1 1
 Additional Science 12   2 5 3 1 1
 Total 99 22 24 25 17 5 6
  100% 22% 24% 25% 17% 5% 6%


A parent interested in exam success for their child would not be impressed by Wynstones results especially considering this is a  fee-paying school. It would be very surprising if a few of the pupils at this kind of school did not achieve reasonable grades.

Non fee-paying local schools have made 10 or 12 GCSEs the norm for more able students, with extra-curricular activities to boot. They produce rounded students with sporting, musical, artistic and adventurous talents and interests all encouraged.

In a similar vein to Dr House last week Mr Baker writes disparagingly of mainstream education, implying that only Steiner schools “encourage each child’s love of learning and develop the confidence to meet the future and play a part in shaping it”.

This attitude insults the hard work and dedication of mainstream school teachers locally who are highly regarded by parents. There will always be parents who are able and happy to pay for their child to be educated privately, but Mr Baker has failed to provide a convincing argument for sending a child to the Steiner school he supports.

Given the contempt with which Steiner supporters often speak of exam success, and how low on their priorities they say qualifications are to them, it is surprising Mr Baker took the time to highlight this issue in his letter. Since he has decided to do this however, parents will be looking at the results in detail, and may not be so impressed as he hopes.






  1. Waldorf - More than just a Salad

    Hi Helen,

    A correction to your “rough” calculations for the GCSE results 2013
    There were exactly 12 pupils in Class 10 in 2013 – all 12 certainly sat more than 4 GCSE’s.
    I myself completed 9 GCSE’s that year
    English Literature. A*
    English Language. A*
    French. A*
    German. A
    Mathematics. B
    Science. A
    Additional Science. B
    Art & Design. B
    Drama. A

    OCN Qualifications
    Orchestral Participation. Level 3
    Choral Participation. Level 3
    Metal Forming. Level 2
    Carpentry. Level 2
    Pottery. Level 2
    Spinning and Dyeing. Level 2
    Basketry. Level 2

    Just thought I should let you know, as I’m sure you wouldn’t want to make assumptions based upon false and misguided beliefs, would you now?

  2. Helen

    Hi…..Waldorf – more than just a salad.
    My calculations were rough because each time I phone the school to find out, no answers are forthcoming. Was this a particularly small year group, and if not what happened to the other half of the class? had they already left?
    This is obviously a better way of eliciting information than asking the school for it.
    Anyway well done on your grades, you have single handedly accounted for a 10th of the total of exams taken that year.

    • Waldorf - More than just a Salad

      It was just simply a small year group, and not every person took every subject. The Dutch GCSE was taken by a Class 9 student and the Music GCSE was taken by an A Level student alongside their 3-4 subject choices.
      In response to Mah74 – every school trumpets their exam results after exam success – why shouldn’t they?

      • mah74

        “I don’t know why Steiner schools trumpet their exam results.” – Admittedly that was a hot-headed thing to say, but I make no apology for it. I’m a scientist. The mis-use of statistics, whether deliberate or not, bothers me. There would be clearer, more honest and more informative ways of Wynstones giving information about their exam results. And certainly every school has individual students of which they can be proud.

        12 pupils in class 10 and 250 in total 16 and younger implies that the later classes are significantly smaller than earlier ones. In other words, students often move to other schools to do their GCSEs. Is that the case?

        • Waldorf - More than just a Salad

          This year, in class 10 (GCSE’s), there are approx 25 students. So no, Mah74, I don’t think it is the case.

          • mah74

            ok, thanks. Helen’s assumption of 25 in the class would have been spot-on for this year then! It does sound unusually variable if there were 12 students in the class of 2013 and 25 in 2014.

            I hope you can see how more detail is needed than Wynstones provide themselves to make an accurate assessment of how they’re really doing.

  3. mah74

    “at GCSE level [Wynstones] students achieved 83% grades A* to C, well above the national average.”

    To pick this apart some more, the 2013 GCSE A*-C national average for fee paying independent schools (like Wynstones) was significantly higher at 94%. The point being that you must compare like with like.

    I don’t know why Steiner schools trumpet their exam results. Aside from their stance that there is much more to education (on which I agree) the statistics don’t stand up to even the slightest scrutiny. They do it so often it’s almost boring.

    • Rain17

      “I don’t know why Steiner schools trumpet their exam results.” I know. It’s hilarious.

      It’s the same sleight of hand anthroposophists pull with that “spiritual science” moniker, as an attempt at some credibility among the sorts of people who prefer to think about what they do before they do it. E.g., “materialists” and “rationalists” – no need to recount the laundry list of elitist anthroposophy epithets.

      Strangely, the self-same people DESPISE actual science, which they dismiss as materialistic and inferior to their clairvoyantly-derived “science”. Oxymoronic doesn’t even begin to describe this mentality.

  4. Jim

    It’s interesting that Waldorf’s GCSE year group was so small – had it always been so or does the size reflect a withdrawal of students from the school as the critical exam years approach? Waldorf’s own results indicate that the school can work for some but the wider results may indicate that the less able are being failed.

    Helen, can you clarify something about the A level results? If the 6th form size is 23 would that not be across 2 years with the A2 results relating only to one year group of maybe 10 – 12 students? If so it would be a little better but still unimpressive. Almost as though the purpose of the 6th form was to keep the students in Steiner education for 2 more years rather than to prepare them for university.

    • Helen

      Yes you are right Jim, there would be only half the number taking exams. Maths is not my best subject!!
      So that makes it 2 and a half each, I guess.

      • Jim

        But as they don’t give out half passes we have to speculate. Say 12 students in the year, assume 4 get the 3 passes needed for university ( ignore the grade question ) there are 14 left for the other 8 students – ie 1.75 each. What’s left? A few with 2, some with 1. Some with nothing at all?

        Guesswork of course but it adds to the impression that the able will do OK regardless and the less able are left to struggle.

  5. Elizabeth

    I am concerned that you are trying to ‘elicit’ information from a young woman regarding Wynstones GCSE results. Pulling apart their data without all the necessary information makes this come across as an educational assassination based on guesswork. About a third of the parents in my son’s class at Wynstones are teachers. State school teachers. We are clear about the educational value of their approach to fostering a life long love of learning. How can you say we don’t value GCSE results and Science when we teach it ourselves? Regardless of your opinions on the school, pupils will read the comments on this website, and you are running the risk of belittling their achievements.

    • Helen

      Wow – a third of the parents – out of a class of 24 that would be a minimum 8 state school teachers, assuming only one of each set of parents. And how many are science teachers?
      That is a lot of teachers willing to accept or overlook the pseudoscience of anthroposophy, and to deprive their children of books until the “right” age. Admittedly the parents would not have been informed at the beginning about what kind of school they were choosing, and it’s hard to get out of Steiner once you are in.
      It is also a lot of state school teachers who can afford private education for their children. My father was a state school teacher and there was no way he could have afforded private school fees for us. It is also a lot of teachers able to provide extra support with school work – which could explain why the results at Wynstones are not as poor as other Steiner schools.
      The results still do not compare well with other fee-paying schools however. I wrote this post having tried and failed to find out class sizes from the school, and the young woman known as “Waldorf – more than just a salad” who commented above provided information which allowed us to form a better idea of the levels achieved at this school. Far from belittling their achievements, I think her comments here have shown how well certain individuals (children of teachers? – not an assumption, just wondering) have done at this school. I do remain concerned about the others who do not seem to have done so well, and seem not to appear on the tables at all.

      • Elizabeth

        Your generalising is out of control, your remarks are wrong, this website is ridiculous. We’re not all teachers (actually) but since we’re on the subject, perhaps you should read up on the educational theorists that underpin the state school system, namely Piaget, Bruner and Vygotsky. You may find Bruner’s personal beliefs of interest.

  6. Helen

    “…out of control” – yes, I am not under the control of Steiner followers – annoying isn’t it?
    “We’re not all teachers” – but some are – I am not sure what you think I am generalising about – I am going by what you tell me.

      • MarkHayes

        Hang on a minute, ‘Waldorf – more than just a salad’ provided more than enough information of their own accord, entirely unprompted, to give enough information to accurately interpret the Wynstones exam results. Note that Helen asked the school directly but they wouldn’t reply. I do agree that it isn’t the responsibility of (ex-)pupils to provide this information.

        For anybody who doesn’t know (and many readers here will) – Piaget, Bruner and Vygotsky had lots of good ideas about education that often also appear in Steiner schools, but without the karma, incarnating souls and cosmic flap-doodle that Steiner associated with them. Guess what trainee Steiner teachers are required to study?

        Two more data points: when we talked with friends about the possibility of sending our son to a Steiner school, two of them expressed doubts. Both were education professionals. It was as though they knew something we didn’t…

  7. Elizabeth

    I’m sorry but I would expect a bit more from someone who thinks they have the authority to assassinate an education system. Farewell.

    • Rain17

      Hm, now it’s calculated murder to say to a private institution, ‘go peddle your wares on your own dime.’ Can’t speak for Elizabeth, but so many Steinerite-supremaciasts seem to believe they are entitled to other people’s dimes, in their ware-peddling endeavor. Because Waldorf is *special*. Sigh.

      • Helen

        Yes, “assassinate” was a curious word to use – I wonder if the commenter was thinking of the man himself rather than his school system – after all – he’s not really dead, just biding time in heaven until his next incarnation.

  8. Helen

    Actually I don’t think you need any qualifications at all to criticise Steiner – you just need to be able to read or talk to people and understand or to have experience.

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