Standards in Gloucestershire will fall.

In the news this week there is a report on the high standards of schools in Gloucestershire

County councillor and cabinet member for children and young people Paul McLain, and Schools Minister David Laws both congratulated local schools on “raising their game” and achieving better results in literacy and numeracy than the national average.

I wonder if those in authority have considered what a state-funded Steiner school in the county will do to their attainment figures?

This week the Stroud News and Journal reported that the Steiner free school application has reached the interview stage, and that this will take place in January.

So in a small town where the district council formally opposes the idea of a free school, where there are hundreds of extra school places, and where such a school will have a huge impact on educational provision, someone on high has decided this is a proposition worth considering for a second time.

The children in the new school will not be allowed to have books in the classroom before the age of seven because the old spiritualist Rudolf Steiner decided it would harm the “incarnation of their etheric body”. Yup. That’s why.

Open Waldorf, a site which claims to be neutral (it isn’t, it is pro) explains Steiner’s phases of child development as used in the schools in a handy diagram, and quotes from a book on the subject;

“The curriculum of the Waldorf School aids the process of the child’s development from the aspect of reincarnation.”

McAllen, Audrey. Sleep

The schools give out all sorts of obfuscation about “respecting childhood”, and an “unhurried” approach, but their slavish devotion to Steiner’s doctrine means that they see harm in teaching children to read and write before their milk teeth have fallen out. That does not sound like “respecting childhood.” It sounds like pseudoscience.

Steiner schools claim that children “catch up” with their peers, but this is not the case; some parents spend out on tutors, some remove their children and ask teachers in other schools to help (this happens a lot in Stroud) some children struggle and end up with the kind of certificates Steiner schools offer, some never achieve a decent standard of literacy and numeracy, and look back in anger.

The exam results for Hereford Steiner Academy this year fell significantly more than other schools in the country as new standards were introduced.

Enthusiast parents claim their right to choose this kind of “alternative” to education at our expense, but it could be considered a form of abuse to prevent a child from having the educational opportunities most children enjoy. Small children do not have a say in where they are sent to school; they are at the mercy of their parents to select a good option, and of the authorities to ensure the options are up to standard.

If this school materialises in Stroud children will suffer, and whereas in the past the choice of Steiner has been down to parents, it will now be a possibility that some parents in the area will have no alternative but to send their child to Steiner school. What a frightening thought.





  1. we escaped!

    We are trying our best to raise awareness of the truth and facts. At least this blog is evidence and will most likely be used in a court of law one day, because we all know what is going to happen in the future. And when it does happen, people will be able to personally sue these government bodies for being made aware of the facts and not bothering to listen and do justice. Unfortunately, in the meantime children and families will suffer abuse.

    • Helen

      Certainly parents will blame the DfE when instances of abuse occur. It will be their responsibility.
      Already this year in a State-funded Steiner school there has been controversial treatment of a child. Other parents are not always aware of what is going on, or only hear the story from the perspective of the school.
      I can picture a situation in Stroud where parents who are not sympathetic to the Steiner lifestyle find themselves involved unwittingly because the only place available is at the Steiner school. These parents are unlikely to put up with the kind of goings on we have been hearing about – chanting, eurythmy, low academic priorities, a suspect attitude to science… no, people will not put up with this from a school if they are not Steiner-inclined in the first place.

  2. Jim

    It’s bad enough that some parents are misguided enough to choose Steiner schools for their children ( a strong argument against parental choice ) but the notion that parents may be left with little alternative highlights the absurdity of the whole free school system. The poor quality of the education and the impossibility of isolating the religious aspects of the school so that dissenters can opt out are just more arguments for why state funding is unacceptable.

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