In East Sussex, a Steiner hotspot similar in size to the one here in Stroud, there has been a campaign to “create a government supported free school with a Steiner Waldorf curriculum, for children aged 4 to 16”.
The group applied twice, then a third bid was abandoned after their failed attempt to recruit a secondary teacher with leadership experience to the team. I wrote about this in 2015.
The Sussex Weald group decided to “cease working on this free school application, at least for the time being” in 2015, not long after I posted on their facebook page (no longer in existence) and alerted them by email to the goings on in Stroud. Perhaps sufficient time has elapsed for new families to be impressed by attractive Steiner window dressing, without yet being familiar with the drawbacks of a school with a well-hidden religious basis that is disastrously harmful when it surfaces, as it invariably does.
Earlier this year the group posted an invitation for local families to contact them, with a view to re-awakening the project. They say they have “fresh blood” in the group. I am afraid this translates to me as “innocent new victims”.
Is the need for a Steiner School, or would a free-thinking, child-centric approach taking the best from State and Steiner suit the needs of your children?
A good question. The latter is what Joe Evans thought he was going to achieve in Bristol, and also attempted to pull off in Stroud. As we know this failed; after abandoning the Steiner name just after putting in their application, the Stroud group were turned down for the second time. Bristol is a story in itself, with a poor Ofsted report and unfavourable parent reviews followed by the Principal being replaced. (Personally I doubt she was at fault – the anthroposophists she had to deal with are the problem).
In Stroud the reason for ditching the word Steiner from their identity was to avoid the compulsory affiliation with the Steiner Waldorf schools Fellowship (SWSF) – the controlling force working for Dornach in the UK. The strict requirements of the SWSF with regard to anthroposophy were not what the Stroud group wanted for their school, and they only realised this too late.
To anyone thinking of supporting this latest endeavour in Sussex, I say consider this; The Steiner system is rigid, based on a religious cult, deceitful and controlling. If what you want is a free-thinking approach, Steiner is not for you.
What are you really after – a pretty classroom and an alternative lifestyle, or a decent education with no hidden agenda? You can give your child wholesome food, stories and country walks yourself. You don’t need a school to tell you how to dress, medicate and eat.
East Grinstead has a shortage of school places apparently, but this is no reason to opt for Steiner. New young parents ignore the testimony of victims of the Steiner creed around the world at their peril.