State-funded Steiner school opens in Frome – plans for a Suffolk Steiner school
I think it’s fair to say that the British Humanist Association was a little slow to wake up to the threat of Steiner schools, while they concentrated their efforts on campaigning against more conventional faith schools. Since the Steiner philosophy is so woolly and many parents are fooled into thinking that it all sounds lovely, few others saw them as threat either. If parents want to send their kids to Steiner schools, where they’ll learn to be at one with Nature, why should we care? We should care because these schools are taking advantage of Education Secretary Michael Gove’s enthusiasm for free schools, a policy that has many critics, to claim public funds to run schools based on the teachings of a cult. For more information, use our search box (right) to see previous posts, including one I posted in July last year, which contains a link to our supporter Esther Fidler’s blog post on “anthroposophical education”.
The people behind the proposed Fullfledge Ecology School still hope to open their school in September next year, in the Woodbridge area. They say, “Our proposal has passed the first stage of approval and we are now on the second stage, which is an interview with the DFE. We are preparing for this now. Five members of the project team will represent Fullfledge Ecology School at the interview. The DFE will inform us ‘in the summer’ whether we have the final go ahead to start the school in September 2013.” Under the regulations on free schools, they are supposed to demonstrate that another school is needed in the area (that local schools are over-subscribed), but other free schools seem to have got round this requirement.
Those who’ve been campaigning against Steiner education (including “survivors” of Steiner education and concerned parents) are pleased to see that the BHA’s Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson was included in a BBC regional Inside Out programme on the new Frome Steiner free school. They say,
BBC One Inside Out South West report on state-funded Steiner schools, featuring BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson. First broadcast 19 November 2012. For more information, please see this news item on our website – State-funded Steiner schools teach science from book sceptical of evolution, give homeopathy to students.
On a lighter note, but very close to the truth, satirical website The Daily Mash has taken a swipe at Steiner schools with their story, Moon-gnomes defend Steiner free schools.
Moon-gnome Stephen Malley is one of the magical elemental beings that philosopher Ruldolph Steiner correctly identified as being responsible for the Earth’s ecology.
Seated on a toadstool and thoughtfully stroking his lustrous gnome beard, Malley said: “Steiner’s contribution to the understanding of gnomes, undines and other types of nature spirit cannot be overestimated.”
If you’re in the Woodbridge area, especially if you have school-age children, we’d like to hear from you.
Image: Waldorf gnomes used in Steiner maths teaching, from the Waldorf Homeschooling curriculum, based on the same principles as Steiner schools.