According to Steiner ideas about medical matters there are specific therapies to treat spiritual deficiencies. These are listed on the Ruskin Mill college website student support page, and include the following;
- Anthroposophic and complementary medicine
- Movement therapy (Eurythmy)
- Art therapy (Hauschka)
When I spoke to someone at Gloucestershire County Council about the use of anthroposophical medicine at this local local Steiner college where they fund places, I was told that Ruskin Mill was only used as a “last resort”, and that the council had certainly not been funding any of the anthroposophical therapies I asked about.
However a phone call to Ruskin Mill confirmed that the therapies were paid for by local authorities, as part of a package. For example a student could be receiving one or two hours a week of one-to -one eurythmy therapy, weekly massage therapy, and the attention of an on-site anthroposophical nurse.
And yet according to the person I spoke to at the council, none of these therapies are itemised in any correspondence between the college and the council, and she could not imagine that any of them would be sanctioned for use on students they fund places for.
I made three freedom of information requests in November last year and the answers confirm that therapies at the college do appear to be funded by tax-payers;
I made requests about placements for young people at Ruskin Mill college in the Stroud area to three authorities; Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, and Swindon Borough Council.
Swindon Borough have funded 10 students since 2010 and say
There are no details outlined in any funding application forms or in the
subsequent Funding Requirement submitted by Ruskin Mill other than a
heading Therapy Costs in which Physiotherapy, Behavioural Support, Speech
and Language and Counselling are given a monetary figure
Gloucestershire County Council say they have funded 13 places at Ruskin Mill, and answer the rest of my questions in one paragraph;
We purchase an overall package from Ruskin Mill Cottage taking into account the
range of facilities which they offer including therapies. As with any other school or
college, we would expect Ruskin Mill Cottage to meet the needs of the individual
student with whatever individual support they require including therapies. We would
expect this provision to be reviewed regularly within the college’s contractual
arrangements with GCC.
South Gloucestershire Council is also funding 12 students at Ruskin Mill, and says
“Students access the “conventional” carousel of therapies Ruskin Mill use…”
SGC also say that the college has not asked the council to sanction or fund the specific anthroposophic therapies I asked about, and that
“There is currently no process in place to identify whether nor not these therapies are being used on students”.
I don’t know whether the local authority services are joined up enough for answers such as these to FOI requests to trigger any kind of investigation within the Youth support teams.
For public money to be spent on subjecting some of our most vulnerable young people to alternative therapies with no proven benefit seems very wrong to me. I do not even understand how this can be legal.
It does, however, explain how the large number of Steiner specialists in this area make a living; the therapies are prescribed by the anthroposophical doctor, supplied by the therapists, and paid for indirectly by you and me, via the county councils who do not appear to be interested enough to look in to exactly what they are paying for.
There are “panels” at Gloucestershire County Council where health and educational professionals meet to discuss the needs of the young people they support, and they either approve these therapies (which seems unlikely given the response I had on the phone) or they are not being informed in detail by Ruskin Mill about what is going on, to arouse suspicions.
Anthroposophic doctors and nurses belief that illness, indeed all forms of suffering, are a result of “karma”, and must be worked through in the appropriate way according to Rudolf Steiner’s proclamations. Hence the disapproval of vaccination within Steiner circles; these illnesses have a cause and a purpose, according to this belief system.