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.