Having watched boys and girls aged around 14 years old being made to do eurythmy in a Steiner school, I regard it as a form of abuse. It was frankly embarrassing to watch.
The instructors are clearly getting some sort of spiritual kick out of the sessions, and I suppose in some strange way they think they are helping the young people in their care.
The truth is eurythmy is complete Steiner nonsense, and at times dangerous nonsense, as we know, where teachers see fit to attach weights to a 6 year old’s ankles to “ground” him.
The state funded Steiner Academy in Hereford employs two part-time eurythmists to run eurythmy therapy sessions. There is a eurythmy room and a eurythmy therapy room; the latter is for individual children to be removed from normal lessons and given one-to one eurythmy therapy.
I spoke to someone at the school who seemed non-plussed when I asked what kind of problems the eurythmy therapy would help with, and also whether parents were involved in the decision to provide this therapy for their child, or indeed whether the parents were aware of the sessions.
In view of the way the parents who wrote about their experiences for this blog were treated, it is quite possible the parents are not informed.
I also asked who pays for this therapy, but neither of the two staff members I spoke to could answer.
Reading some of the minutes from governors’ meetings which are now available on line thanks to a freedom of information request last year, I see that the eurythmy therapy has been giving the school some problems with their statistics for special educational needs. The minutes are not easy to understand.
Here is an exerpt from a meeting held in July last year;
our SEN figures include eurythmy therapy. If excluded, around 25%
have SEN. Regional picture is 22.5%. Statements 1.8% SAH, 1.5% in Hereford.
Nationally is 18%. 105 of which 41 are eurythmy therapy.
Another note from May
Principal’s report to show SEN comparisons excluding eurythmy
therapy, & staff absences in context
And this from March;
f) SEN figures – ACTION: comparison without eurythmy therapy
In addition to the way eurythmy therapy is used in statistics, the meetings reveal some very interesting details some of which raise more questions than they provide answers for.
There is mention of
Report of conversation between governors WB/RT/NE and Clarence
Harvey on 14 Dec 2012 in regard to the breakdown in trust within ALT and
the reasons for the Board’s decision to terminate his role as Acting principal (2012)
Settlement agreement with member of staff leaving with immediate effect.
UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED (2013)
And also in 2013
Written allegation by a parent that a teacher hit a child resulted in a formal
conduct hearing. In this case the hearing found the allegation was
unsubstantiated. (this to appear on email not on posted minutes)
Most worryingly, this is also from last year’s principal’s report;
Formal Complaint – has been investigated; recommendation of 4 counts of gross misconduct. The hearing run by Hoople will be held on Friday afternoon. ND, LR, JL on panel (with HR as the Personnel Governor)
Finally more evidence in 2014 of the ongoing struggle within Steiner schools in deciding how best to present anthroposophy to the outside world;
STRATEGIC INTENTIONS – we should not pull back from using the
word anthroposophy but we should be clear on what it means. DD to
circulate suggested statement. Wording of Item 7 – viability changed
to well-being. Item 1 – academic standards changed to standards of
work; academic achievement changed to all-round achievement.
If someone at Hereford is clear about what anthroposophy “means” perhaps they would be good enough to share that with us?