Steiner Exam Results

This year the national figures for pupils gaining 5+ A*- C GCSE grades in GCSEs used in the Student Performance Analysis tables do not include the BTEC.

Students in class 9 and 10 at the state-funded Hereford Steiner Academy study for a BTEC in Countryside and Environment rather than science subjects. The results for Steiner Academy Herford show that only 29% of the class achieved 5 or more A*C grades this year. It is not clear whether this percentage only includes the number of students who achieved grade A- C in English and Maths within their 5 subjects.

The national average for state schools this year is 52.6 % for A – C grades without the BTEC, and 63.2 % without specifying English and Maths, a drop from last year’s figure of 81.8%

So although there has been a drop nationally this year without the BTEC, it is nothing like the drop for this Steiner school.

Two students from the Hereford Steiner school went on to agricultural college, which suggests this that a career in Countryside and Environment is perhaps not a priority for many of these children, despite their grounding in the subject. It is a concern that any student who wished to pursue a career in the field of science could find themselves at a disadvantage as a result of not having studied science to GCSE level.
The following statement is found on the school website;

“The natural world and the sciences are approached from a phenomenological perspective”.

In an on-line dictionary, phenomenology is

  A philosophy or method of inquiry based on the premise that reality consists of objects and events as they are perceived or understood in human consciousness and not of anything independent of human consciousness.”

“It is an approach to psychological subject matter that has its roots in the philosophical work of Edmund Husserl”, according to wiki.

Husserl was a German philosopher who just happens to have been an exact contemporary of Rudolf Steiner. His work has been used in psychotherapy;

 The phenomenal field focuses on “how one feels right now”.

I wrote before about the approach to science in Steiner Free schools, and how this differs from science as taught in the national curriculum.

Physics, chemistry, life sciences, geomorphology, climatology, and ecology are all studied and questioned.

…says the Hereford school.  Steiner followers love to say that evolution and other scientific facts are “only a theory” in order to elevate Rudolf Steiner’s “indications” to an equal status. So the idea of “questioning”  the sciences takes on a whole new meaning.

Of course, if the Stroud Academy is no longer an official Steiner school, we now have no idea what curriculum they are planning on teaching. As a free school they can teach what they like. At least the Steiner “Richter and Rawson” curriculum book is a known quantity, whatever we may think of it.

Anyway, the phenomenological study of the countryside does not count in the 2014 tables, much to the dissatisfaction of the Steiner community.







  1. MarkHayes

    Here’s what Clarence Harvey had to say about science education in 2012, when he was acting Principal at Hereford:

    “It is not our aim to promote scientific orthodoxy, but rather to enable pupils to think and engage in independent verification of reality.”

    I suspect that they have great trouble recruiting credible and able science teachers.

  2. Nick Nakorn

    “independent verification of reality” Wow, that is really horrible – no wonder they think their opinions are as good as collegiate, tested and peer reviewed research.

  3. Jim

    But we need to recognise that such comments will be taken at face value as showing that Steiner encourages free and independent thinking and of course who could be against that? The fact that the actual practice is the exact opposite will pass many by.

    The whole Steiner intellectual apparatus is strange. Most new agey mystical nonsense is basically intellectual laziness and stupidity but I don’t think you can say that about the Steiner hard core ( the peripheral followers are another matter ). They do seem to put a lot of effort into expounding their theories and gathering supporting “evidence” from real science. Of course they distort it and pick very selectively and their whole edifice is pernicious nonsense but it still requires a lot of effort and a sort of intelligence to build. Which makes it all the worse because you can’t expect much from the stupid and lazy but effort and intelligence could be put to better use.

    • Nick Nakorn

      Indeed, my surprise was merely rhetorical as all I’ve read over the past few years points to Steiner having a hatred of tested evidence in preference for personal revelation. But I’m still gobsmacked when I see such ‘independent’ thinking proposed as a virtue simply because it flies in the face of rationality and real communication. I also agree that such intellectual, if one can call it that, effort would be so much better if put to good use. But I suppose the binding factor in all religions is the adherents’ lack of mental turmoil when faced with mutually exclusive ideas and information. The layer upon layer of complex invention that goes into squaring those paradoxical and oxymoronic issues is as astonishing in conception as it is torturous to read.

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