Parent views of a Steiner Academy

Have a look at the Steiner Academy Exeter parent view on Ofsted.

This state-funded Steiner school opened in 2013 and this page shows the 21 responses so far collected from the parents of the 111 children on the roll in answer to questions about how satisfied they are with their new school. (click on each question to see the percentages) Over 30% of the responses are negative . Parents are asked to agree or disagree with the following statements;

  •  1. My child is happy at this school 
  •  2. My child feels safe at this school
  • 3. My child makes good progress at this school 
  • .4. My child is well looked after at this school
  • 5. My child is taught well at this school
  • 6. My child receives appropriate homework for their age
  • 7. This school makes sure its pupils are well behaved
  • 8. This school deals effectively with bullying
  • 9. This school is well led and managed
  •  10. This school responds well to any concerns I raise
  • 11. I receive valuable information from the school about my child’s progress
  • 12. Would you recommend this school to another parent?

My first thought was to look at question 8. Bullying has been documented as a serious issue at Steiner schools time and again. Sadly 33% strongly disagree that bullying is dealt with effectively.

Over a third disagree that their child is happy at the Steiner Academy, with 10% “strongly” disagreeing, and 40% do not agree that their child feels safe at school.

28% strongly disagree that the school is well led and managed, and 29% disagree that the school responds well to concerns.

38% would not recommend this school to another parent.

Parents have high expectations of a Steiner school, with many claiming they want their child to have less pressure and a more unstructured education, with what they think will be a so-called “child centred” and “creative” approach to learning. It is therefore even more disappointing when this turns out not to be the case, and that the “methodology” adopted in these schools leads to problems of its own, with children failing to thrive, or worse, suffering the unique consequences of a flawed system based on anthroposophy.

As mentioned before, it is not easy to leave a Steiner community where the world outside is held in disdain, and families are led to believe that there is no acceptable alternative to Steiner school for their child, and very difficult indeed to effect changes in a system where nothing much has changed from the days of the guru, Rudolf Steiner, and where teachers are trained in his belief system and how to use it in school.

Each new Steiner school that opens believes it will be free of the problems critics highlight.

The clue is the word “Steiner”, for any parent wondering how a new school will function; looking at the evidence, it is not difficult to see that the problems remain the same in Steiner schools, whether they are state funded academies or Independent fee-paying schools.

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8 comments

  1. Vicki

    This doesn’t surprise me one bit. My own experience tells me that children are no more valued for their individual qualities than at any other school. In fact I would go so far as to say they are often disadvantaged at Steiner schools because they are expected to fit in with the system, just as staff are…abide by the religion and not question it. It’s such a shame that there isn’t a better alternative, an alternative that really values children for their own unique self. Maybe some of the forest schools would meet these criteria? I fr one would like to see a non religious alternative, free from the methodology.

    • Helen

      There seems to be pressure to conform in certain ways at a Steiner school which does not happen in mainstream.
      Yes the forest school idea looks interesting.
      Our children’s mainstream schools certainly valued them as individuals, and talking to teachers on parents evenings demonstrated that they knew each child and did their best for them. Primary school particularly was a really caring place. Talking to parents about other local schools locally the same was true there.
      I also think sometimes parents underestimate the effect of their own influence on their children. The majority of time is spent in the home with family, and so much of a child’s development must depend on this.

  2. Traumatised ExSteiner Family

    I am one of the parents that filled in the Ofsted questionnaire. What a dreadful mistake I made, trusting my child to those people. I’m happy to share my story if you like?

  3. Helen

    Anonymous commenter posted;

    You might notice that strangely there are now 111 responses which coincides rather too nicely with the 111 pupils on roll. I believe ofsted are paying a vist as we speak…

    • Helen

      Around 20 – 30% of parents are still not happy with this Steiner Academy and some have already left. What a disappointment after starting with such high hopes.

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