Why was this bid to set up a Steiner School rejected?

(93 Posts)
nlondondad Tue 09-Jul-13 16:04:04

The background to this story is in the original posting on thread


One of the things that has started to come up is the interesting point that there were TWO competing Bids to set up a Free School on the old Ashmount site. Bellevue Place Ltd won this competition defeating the bid from a group of parents who wanted to set up a Steiner School. Why did the Steiner bid fail?

The Steiner Bid was led by parents and teachers at the fee paying Steiner primary in Hornsey. (The plan was, if they had succeeded to move that school to be the primary section of the new, all through Steiner School on the Ashmount Site.) As such, surely it was just the sort of group that the Free School idea was set up to support was it not? And the DFE has no problem with Steiner in view of the other Steiner Schools it has approved.

The Steiner Free School was to be all through, age 4 to 19, so they cannot have been planning for more than one form entry, possibly less than thirty at that. At the moment in London there is no secondary steiner provision at all, with a few fee paying, private, Steiner schools. The Hornsey School's existence already demonstrates prior core demand. Steiner people tend to be very committed, not that well heeled, and so greatly welcome being able to have state funded Steiner provision, rather than having to pay for it as they usually do. This school would have drawn support from Steiner adherents at least from all over London. There are millions of people living within a 45 minute commute by public transport, London is like that, and no doubt Steiner families would have chosen to move into the general area as well.

I have no doubt they would have filled their places, and also that they would have had no impact on recruitment on local schools as Steiner people are such a minority, and the school small in numbers anyway. (As both bidders were planning to refurbish the existing old Ashmount building they are the same in that regard. And, I would say, are, on that point, both equally misguided)

However on getting "evidence of demand" they left nothing to chance.
You see they made a really big effort. They had a stall down at Crouch End Broadway several saturdays running, distributing leaflets, talking to anyone, who like me, wanted to know more. They handed out leaflets on several occasions to commuters leaving Archway and Highgate tubes in the evening, and leafleted through the doors of the area local to the proposed site. There were leaflets in the local libraries and good, local press coverage. Bellevue did NONE of this at all. Despite what they say on their web site they never did go out on the streets.

So what did Bellevue have they did not?

curlew Tue 09-Jul-13 16:10:03

"So what did Bellevue have they did not?"

Not being as mad as a box of frogs and believing in gnomes?

ReallyTired Tue 09-Jul-13 16:13:11

I imagine that DFE wants a school that will meet the needs of the surrounding area, rather than "steiner families". Prehaps there is a need for a more mainstream school where children are taught to read and write from the age of four rather than reception.

There is a huge crisis in London for school places. Selling off an ex school to a housing association would just exasabate the schools crisis.

nlondondad Tue 09-Jul-13 16:16:05


Your point is vividly put. But as the DFE have approved three or four, I forget, Steiner Free Schools already, the fact it was a Steiner school (that IS what you meant is it not?) is an insufficient reason.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 09-Jul-13 18:28:13

I wish the Steiner School where I live had not been approved. I think it's beyond outrageous that public money has been used to bail out a private school that people weren't prepared to pay for, and now people are coming from all over to send their kids to the free gnome school that is leaching money from the other schools in the area. Disgraceful, so it is.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Tue 09-Jul-13 18:31:25


Isn't that the school that pushes the idea that white people are spiritually more advanced or intelligent or some such rubbish?

AuntieStella Tue 09-Jul-13 18:34:35

The difference might come down to the age groups: this document highlights the desperate need for primary places based on the borough's own stats obtained by FOI request. It seems they are only coping with primary demand at present because of bulge classes, and demand is set to rise. So an exclusively primary school does seem to make more sense, especially given the impending London-wide shortage of primary places.

FannyMcNally Tue 09-Jul-13 19:13:43

I like to think all Free Schools that are given the go-ahead are serving the community in some way. This Steiner School wouldn't because, as you said yourself, it would have no impact on recruitment in local schools as Steiner people are such a minority. So what would be the point? As a tax-payer I wouldn't be too happy that money that could be better used elsewhere was earmarked for a few odd people just so they could save on on fees.

BoundandRebound Tue 09-Jul-13 19:21:49

Delighted to hear that a Steiner school has been rejected in favour of what I would hope would be straight forward education policy

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 09-Jul-13 20:07:24

Fanny Thats exactly what has happened where I live. Money that could be better used elsewhere has been earmarked for a few odd people who mainly don't even live round here just so they can save on fees. sad

FannyMcNally Tue 09-Jul-13 20:37:05

That's ridiculous. And it's made me cross reading that. angry Thankfully Islington got it right.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 09-Jul-13 20:39:26

I'm also glad the Steiner school was rejected. Sounds like a private school for a minority tried to get the govt to bankroll their school.

Much better that a school which will appeal to the majority is approved.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 09-Jul-13 20:40:42

Steiner schools are quite normal in Germany and they don't push push push. They wait till seven or eight before reading I think, and then it's very quickly picked up. I think for some children they are exactly the right kind of school, and I think calling those children "odd people" is very rude and offensive.

PureDeadBrilliant Tue 09-Jul-13 20:43:11

Thank God the Steiner has been rejected. Tinfoil hats are not a legitimate uniform choice.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 09-Jul-13 20:48:30

There seems to be quite a lot of prejudice? Especially considering the invective often directed towards hot-housing. Do people really know what they want? This is from the BBC seven years ago:

"The schools give priority to educating the "whole child", with a strong emphasis on creativity. Many children sit GCSEs and A-levels, but they also experience an unconventional education in which hands-on learning through activities such as gardening sit alongside classroom lessons.

They do not have head teachers but a "college" of staff, working in a less hierarchical system.

The research comes at a time when the government is trying to encourage diversity and innovation.

Its author, Professor Phillip Wood, says he wants to challenge preconceptions about Steiner schools and explore ways to co-operate with the state sector."

"Its author" mentioned there is the author of a study by the uni of Westminster.

Sometimes this is the sort of thing that people call for when they get cross about facts being rammed down children's throats.

southeastastra Tue 09-Jul-13 20:50:48

don't see why that wasn't allowed, we are allowed to have faith based schools funded by the tax payer - all religion is based on woo isn't it.

BikeRunSki Tue 09-Jul-13 20:51:02

Why don't you put in a Freedom of Information request to the local authority and ask them OP? They will be able to explain the social, economic, needs-based and other drivers behind approving or rejecting a free school application.

muminlondon Tue 09-Jul-13 21:01:11

The local authority doesn't decide - Gove's department does. It took nearly two years and several legal challenges for him to release the impact assessments for schools approved in 2010.

FannyMcNally Tue 09-Jul-13 21:01:38

'Odd people', as you very well know, referred to the fee-paying parents. Which is a true description.

BikeRunSki Tue 09-Jul-13 21:07:18

Ok, thanks MuminLondon. But it is surely public information?

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 09-Jul-13 21:07:53

Not just fee paying parents but fee paying parents who think the state should pay their fees.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 09-Jul-13 21:10:14

Did it really? No I didn't know that at all. And I think they wouldn't be fee-paying? A normal hothousy environment might be right for your children. Some children will be better off with something very different.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 09-Jul-13 21:13:28

Well they do pay for a state education Fanny, and as taxpayers can get one in a madrassa or a church school, I don't see why not in a Steiner. They might be forced into being fee=paying parents otherwise, because the "learn to read at the age of four" might not suit their children in the slightest, they get labelled as failures and never recover. In Germany Steiner schools seem to do ok.

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 09-Jul-13 21:13:32

Sounds good that it was rejected, tbh

muminlondon Tue 09-Jul-13 21:45:38

BikeSkiRun You'd think so. But secrecy over free schools and scandals over Gove's advisers (the Mrs Blurt emails, @ToryEducation) have been going on for two years:


The Information Commissioner overruled him several times and even put the department in 'special measures'!


So he's very grudgingly releasing information but it's all over the place, hard to put together as a coherent whole.

nlondondad Tue 09-Jul-13 23:04:07

I am afraid what I seem to have mainly found out so far from starting this thread is that some people do not like Steiner Schools; but I knew that already...

The question I was posing was why did the Steiner bid to be given, free of charge, a site in Islington that would have cost them at least three million pounds to pay for defeated by a proposal without any demand being shown put forward by a private for profit company.. given that the Steiner bid was actually made by local parents and that Steiner schools have been accepted for tax payer funding elsewhere.

And by the way the decision is purely Mr Gove's to make not Islington, and actually Islington Council do not want to have a school there as they say the places not needed.

I refer you back to the other "free School in Islington" thread for more information on who did win.


VivaLeBeaver Wed 10-Jul-13 06:25:45

Why do you say no demand? I'm sure a new school will be utilised by local families. If a new school was proposed here I wouldn't get involved with it at a planning stage, I'm not that sort of person. The majority of people in life are either apathetic about such matters or too busy. However if a good local school opens they will use it.

A Steiner school is a niche market, many wouldn't send their kids there. The council have to look at sustainability.....even if there's a cluster of Steiner parents locally now is this likely to still be the case in five years time after their kids have left? Are there as many local Steiner kids as local non Steiner kids? I doubt it.

AuntieStella Wed 10-Jul-13 06:40:12

Viva: look at the doc I linked. Unless Islington are saying that they can and will sustain the number of bulge classes they and neighbouring boroughs created this year to meet demand, then there aren't enough places.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 06:50:53

It would be nice to see more Steiner schools, I think they do cater for a certain sort of child who learns in a different way to most children. I would have loved a Steiner for one of my children - in hindsight it would have been marvellous. But we couldn't afford it and there was so much silliness around about Steiner schools - I wish I knew then what I know now.

AuntieStella Wed 10-Jul-13 07:01:34

There's been at least one Free Steiner school approved (Somerset) and the one that exists in Islington applied to convert. Perhaps to meet the demand for this type of education in London, pursuing the St Paul's conversion is the way ahead?

CarpeVinum Wed 10-Jul-13 07:07:39

Might be because recently there has been a big push for governement bodies involved to take a closer look at what a Gnome Loving School entails, their history, background and rather tight lipped approach to fully explaining to prospective parents what informs their educational bent.

The Catholic schools don't shove the Madonna in a cupboard and pretend she has bugger all to do with their ethos. The Steiners, somewhat less forthcoming.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 10-Jul-13 07:57:11

crumbled It is far from nice seeing money that could be spent on local schools that desperately need it (I live in a county with almost the absolute lowest government spend per head on education in the country) spent instead bailing out a fee paying school that nobody wanted (if people wanted it it wouldn't have gone under). People are now moving to an area with a housing shortage to go to this lunatic school, to be told that the aryan archetype is the pinnacle of humanity. Nice? Not the word I'd choose.

curlew Wed 10-Jul-13 09:29:10

Don't forget that you aren't fully incarnate til your incisor teeth come through.

It's not all lovely wooden toys and playing in the woods.

FannyMcNally Wed 10-Jul-13 17:37:16

That reminds me of an OU course where I had to compare and contrast my own educational setting with, among others, a Steiner setting. I had to listen to a Steiner teacher tell us that they didn't teach reading until the child's adult teeth started coming through and was tempted to write that luckily our setting didn't rely on the size of a child's mouth to indicate academic readiness.

There was an Mner who described their approach to education as 'bampottery'. A lovely word!

metranilvavin Wed 10-Jul-13 18:49:28

Russians - are you where we are? Here the feepaying Steiner in the next town reversed itself into a free school - the two bids weren't linked, and the next thing you know, the fee-paying one has closed down.

I can confirm that they are loons, from experience. I went, thinking like that BBC article and everyone else that this was just nice kindly schooling, to their toddler group, and after two terms, backed politely away nodding and smiling. It is like a cult, and having seen the playgroup leader spending all morning cutting corners off paper so that it didn't damage children's psyches, rather than interacting with the children, it's a particularly bonkers one.

WouldBeHarrietVane Wed 10-Jul-13 19:01:10

I used to live in N1 and met several parents who claimed they were rejected by the Steiner toddler group - they were told it was mysteriously full and felt it was a question of face didn't fit.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Wed 10-Jul-13 19:06:07

Wow Islington Council rejected a school proposition from an esoteric cult with strange ideas about race, ethnicity, hierarchy, past lives and healthcare. That must be the first sensible decision they've ever made.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Wed 10-Jul-13 19:07:11

IIRC Steiner schools don't interfere in bullying because it's just past life tensions reasserting themselves.

nlondondad Wed 10-Jul-13 19:10:00

@VivaLeBeaver when I say "no demand" for the profit making company's school I mean it in two senses:-

1. As of last week all children in the area applying for a local place starting in 2013 have one, and there are seven vacant places. (And there will be more vacant places by the time the Autumn term starts as some people will have moved away between January and September). So as measured by the actual figures, this year no demand.

2. When you make a Free School application you have to show "evidence of demand." The Steiner school was able to do this, as they could show demand from a very wide area, but the Bellevue Ltd school has produced no evidence that there was demand from the area it proposes to serve. Which based on the admissions figures is not a surprise.

nlondondad Wed 10-Jul-13 19:19:57


Oddly enough I am getting the impression from posts like yours that a high proportion of people opposed to Steiner School's either have short attention spans or cant be bothered to read. Embarrassing that as I have always objected to state funding of religious schools, including Steiner. Oh well.


They DID NOT reject the Steiner School, Mr Gove did despite approving a number of Steiner schools elsewhere in the country, instead he is giving the site, free, to a commercial company which he preferred to the Steiner school. Now why was that? I would like to know...

AuntieStella Wed 10-Jul-13 19:32:17

The only reason there are "spare" places is because 80 bulge class places were created.

Have all those schools increased their capacity permanently? The estimates for future years show a continuing shortfall for several years to come, but I think that counts only normal, not bulge, places.

nlondondad Wed 10-Jul-13 19:52:23


Good point, the capacity is, in fact, being created permanently.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Wed 10-Jul-13 20:31:27

I can't be bothered to read anything about Steiner schools. It is a joke that they are state-funded. So it was Michael Gove who rejected it. Good. That's possibly the only decision he'll ever make that I agree with.

WouldBeHarrietVane Wed 10-Jul-13 20:36:13

Why do you care op?

And how do you know Bellevue weren't out drumming up support?

curlew Wed 10-Jul-13 20:46:04

I have a sneaking suspicion that the OP might just be something to do with the Steiner bid. Have I guessed right? Have I? Have I?

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 10-Jul-13 20:57:52

I don't think so. I think the OP is concerned about the reasons the Bellvue bid was accepted when we know that Gove has no problem with Steiner schools qua Steiner. As I would be if I still lived in Islington. Despite being generally very opposed to Steiner schools.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 21:33:22

I've just been reading about Steiner schools and how they've influenced mainstream education in Europe. Sounds good. I know two people who've had very positive experiences of Steiner schools. The problem with fee-paying is it's such a huge risk on something that people are so awful about. You have to be very convinced it seems to go down that route. I think having state Steiner schools is a really good idea.

curlew Wed 10-Jul-13 21:53:37

Crumbledwalnuts- honestly, dig a bit deeper. On the surface, Steiner looks fantastic, but it isn't. Yes, you will meet people who have come through it well, but ask about bullying. Ask about special needs. Ask about G and T. On all of those Steiner schools fall down.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 22:15:42

No, I know two people who used Steiner for their children who "learned differently" - there was nothing wrong with them, they were just different kinds of learners. Doing brilliantly now but they had a very slow, relaxed start. It sounds like it would have been perfect in fact for one of my children who was very close to having a special needs diagnosis. He went to conventional schools and really struggled with the homework and the pressure.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 22:17:20

This was in Europe, but aren't the philosophies the same everywhere? Perhaps being more mainstream in Europe, they escape the intensiveness of schools in the UK which seem to be (quite frankly) vilified for dubious reasons indeed. The same people who moan about hothousing and pushy parenting and tutoring also vilify Steiner, it seems. That doesn't make any sense to me.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 10-Jul-13 22:30:56

How do you know that people who don't like Steiner schools 'moan' about hot housing?

nlondondad Wed 10-Jul-13 22:35:20

@WouldBeHarrietVane wrote

"how do you know Bellevue weren't out drumming up support?"

Because I live in the area, and I know they did not do anything. They have no connection to the area at all.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 22:36:05

I'm basing it on Mumsnet to be fair. Every thread on education bangs on about hothousing and whinging about fact-teaching, suddenly a thread about a school which opposes that is also a target for vilification. So not very scientific, I just lumped the whole of mumsnet together on a "general trend" basis. Also did the OP say this isn't the only thread about Steiner schools which is full of the same sort of thing? Or hint that he wasn't surprised. It seems to be a mass view that teaching facts is bad, and teaching the whole child is good, but where Steiner is concerned teaching the whole child is considered very bad and in fact a lunatic idea.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 10-Jul-13 22:37:52

I don't think you have looked very closely at the education threads then! Sme people bang on about hot housing. Many (most, probably) don't.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 22:38:08

People get nervous about something that's different and stands out from the mediocre. That seems to apply equally to schools like Steiner and schools that are considered pushy and hothousy.

girliefriend Wed 10-Jul-13 22:39:14

Sorry no nothing about the op but am interested to see how much disgust there is towards Steiner schools.

Growing up my parents were friends with a family whose parents taught at a Steiner school and whose 5 children went to it. To an outsider it looked idyllic, no school uniforms, no pushing kids to read and write before they were ready, lots of arts and crafts, lots of time outside.....

Do they really believe in gnomes?! shock

girliefriend Wed 10-Jul-13 22:41:06

know not no blush

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 22:41:27

I've read a few. General vilification of Michael Gove for forcing children to learn facts, the pesky man.

curlew Wed 10-Jul-13 22:50:11

I don't know where the "hot housing" thing comes from. My objection to Steiner is nothing to do with the lack of "hot housing" (although I would be concerned about any type of school that has such low academic expectations, to be honest). My points about their approach to bullying, and to children with special needs are, in my opinion, key. And that is before you look at the very questionable views on race held by the schools' founder, their ideas about children not being fully incarnate til their adult teeth come through..... I could go on. The internal and external environments are beautiful, the ideas about outside play, and a relaxed approach to learning are wonderful. There's just so much other stuff, sadly, that cancels out the good.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 22:59:48

I don't think the founder's views on race are relevant any more. Aren't the schools inspected? So there's no question that it wouldn't be allowed even if teachers wanted to introduce it, which I highly doubt they do. If it's not in the classroom or in any teaching materials, are the founder's beliefs relative.

With regard to the other points, I found this from 2006, Ofsted.

The Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley meets all of the regulatory requirements. Its organisation effectively applies the Steiner Waldorf philosophy, although the educational implications of this approach are not clearly stated in the school’s prospectus. Nevertheless it succeeds in meeting its curricular and spiritual aims. It successfully meets its aim of developing each child’s innate curiosity and love of learning in creative and practical activities, but is less effective in doing so in academic subjects for all ages of pupils. The curriculum is broad and covers a good
range of subjects. Information and communication technology (ICT) is introduced in class 9, but is not subsequently developed. The quality of teaching is satisfactory. At times teaching does not involve pupils sufficiently in their learning. The Learning Support Team works effectively to assess all pupils. It provides teachers with detailed information on the pupils, although this is not always used to good effect. Pupils make satisfactory progress. Those who stay until the oldest class achieve in line with or above national expectations in their public examinations.
What the school does well:
 its kindergarten classes provide pupils with clear routines which enable them to settle quickly and to develop their personal and social skills;
 it very effectively enables pupils to develop their self-knowledge and selfconfidence;
 it ensures that by the time pupils leave the school, they achieve at levels in line with or above national expectations at GCSE and A level.
What the school must do in order to comply with the regulations.
The school meets all the statutory requirements.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 23:00:10

Lots of state schools get funded which don't do half of that.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 23:05:29

here's the link

It's by no means a fulsome report - for example teaching ranges from outstanding to inadequate - but there are schools getting funding which do a lot less. It also talks about pupils feeling safe, bulling not being an issue and children acquiring a knowledge and understand of their own and other cultures. Bullying is an issue in lots of schools.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 23:11:33

When you read the Ofsted report it doesn't look like a school for odd, tinfoil hat wearing, gnome-loving lunatics. You'd think it might be mentioned.

curlew Wed 10-Jul-13 23:18:18


Steiner blindness has set in! Fascinating how people quote ofsted when it appears to support them, but dismiss them when it doesn't!

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 23:19:08

What me? Do you think all Ofsted reports are worthless?

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 23:22:03

Is there are reason why you're being rude by the way?

ReallyTired Wed 10-Jul-13 23:22:36

I have met people who have had major issues with the Kings Langley Steiner school. Ofsted only get a snap shot and the OFSTED inspection of a private school is nowhere near as vigorous as a state school.

" The quality of teaching is satisfactory. At times teaching does not involve pupils sufficiently in their learning. "

That is pretty damning. "Satisfactory" is OFSTEDese means poor and now means "requires improvement".

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 23:25:23

Now that's worth saying.

However the teaching was good enough to match or exceed national academic expectations. That's better than many, many schools.

curlew Wed 10-Jul-13 23:25:43

If that ofsted was of a normal state school, people would be saying avoid it like the plague. And it's an inspection of an independent school which are less rigorous than inspections of state schools.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 23:26:05

In addition, if we are going to withdraw state funding from every school that parents have issues with, we aren't going to have very many left.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 23:27:35

I don't think people would be saying avoid it like the plague. And don't forget that quite a few of those children might be like my son - ie not really suited to an academic education.

nlondondad Wed 10-Jul-13 23:28:15

Well the thread has moved on from being mainly people who dislike Steiner schools posting, to some people of the contrary opinion posting.

few alas seem to be interested in the question I am actually posing which is:-

1. Given there are a number of Steiner Free Schools

2. Given that there was a proposal to set up a Steiner free school in Islington

3. Given that the proposers were locally based parents (and free schools are supposed to be parent lead)

4. Given that they appear to have evidence of demand.

Why was a site worth three million pounds not given to them, but to an initiative by a (highly profitable), with profit company, supported by Swiss investors, which as there is a local surplus of school places could not have shown demand?

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 23:29:19

Curlew, do you mean me both dismissing Ofsted and supporting them? Do you think all Ofsted inspections of independent schools are worthless?

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 23:30:06

No it's only me nLondonDad. Don't get your hopes up. Everyone else is awfully meh if not worse.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 10-Jul-13 23:30:13

You seem very keen for someone else to make a possibly contentious statement. Why do you think that happened?

Snoot Wed 10-Jul-13 23:41:43

Steiner survivors' group sad


Crumbledwalnuts Wed 10-Jul-13 23:58:50

Very interesting Snoot. Why do you know about this. Were you at a Steiner schools?

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 11-Jul-13 00:01:03

on the other hand..

However your link is very interesting Snoots.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 11-Jul-13 00:03:39

Also the comments on the bottom of the article I linked to are interesting as well.

CarpeVinum Thu 11-Jul-13 00:32:40

Why was a site worth three million pounds not given to them, but to an initiative by a (highly profitable), with profit company, supported by Swiss investors, which as there is a local surplus of school places could not have shown demand?

Either, he has changed his mind about how much of a good idea it is to include Stiener schools in his free school idea. Possible, becuase there has been recent pressure applied for gov. to take a deeper look at what it entails and is based on.


Something else. Which presumably you believe you know something about. In which case could you drop the guessing game and share what you believe to be true .... and then people might start commenting on what you believe lies at the heart of the matter.

metranilvavin Thu 11-Jul-13 10:37:13

Depends what you think Gove's wider motivations are? Does he prefer the potential privatisation of education to Steiner? Possibly.

At least one of the Steiner schools in the SW is very much associated with the Rees-Mogg clan, so it may well be that they were able to apply more pressure than the Islington application could.

Justfornowitwilldo Thu 11-Jul-13 10:38:57

'"So what did Bellevue have they did not?"

Not being as mad as a box of frogs and believing in gnomes?'

grin grin grin

AuntieStella Thu 11-Jul-13 10:44:04

If the bulge classes are permanent, someone had better tell the schools that have them ASAP. For the school websites haven't updated to show the school expansion. By the time the summer holidays are over it will be the applications round, and inaccurate information about size of intake could be important in successful appeals.

BTW, I note that Islington has claimed a "surplus" of places for several years, but still required bulge classes in 4 schools this year. There is a serious disconnect somewhere in their planning.

ShadeofViolet Thu 11-Jul-13 10:54:39

Before I joined MN I went to visit a Steiner school when looking for a place for my own DS.

It was the oddest place ever. I was also told that they dont start teaching children to read until they have their first adult tooth. When I mentioned that my DS could already read a little the man showing us around got quite cross and mentioned the words 'irresponsible' and 'damaged'. He practically kicked me out when I asked if they had an IT suite.

curlew Thu 11-Jul-13 11:02:00

If you look at the OFSTED linked to earlier, you'll see that one of the points made was that the older children wanted more access to IT.

Pyrrah Thu 11-Jul-13 11:12:40

Aren't there special Ofsted inspectors for Steiner schools? I thought they would only accept ones who had some kind of 'understanding' of the system?

Some of my cousins went to a Steiner school in the 1980's. They had a fun time I believe (and my aunt was a v eccentric nutter) but really struggled when the outside world suddenly required qualifications and discipline.

Regarding the adult tooth thing... many children with growth hormone deficiencies don't loose their milk teeth until much later than other children. Does this fall under the being punished for misdeeds in a previous life and does that mean that they're not allowed to read until they're 10?

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 11-Jul-13 12:00:20

Yes I'm sure it does Pyrrah. Perhaps they are then expected to grow horns and a tail and sit in a barrel full of maggots until their inner child explodes or something. I should think that's it.

curlew Thu 11-Jul-13 14:14:25

No, Steiner schools are inspected by the same inspectors that do all independent schools. The inspections are different to those of state schools- independents have more leeway.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 11-Jul-13 15:05:32

Inspecting independent schools

There are around 2,400 independent schools in England, but the educational provision of only half of them is inspected by Ofsted. The schools Ofsted inspects are known as ‘non-association schools’. Inspections are carried out at the request of the Department for Education.

There are three other independent inspectorates which inspect the provision of the other independent schools in England also at the request of the Department for Education. These are known as ‘association’ schools:
the Independent Schools Inspectorate inspects schools whose headteachers belong to one of the associations that make up the Independent Schools Council
the School Inspection Service inspects schools that belong to the Focus Learning Trust
the Bridge Schools Inspectorate inspects schools linked to the Christian Schools’ Trust or the Association of Muslim Schools.

We monitor the work of these independent inspectorates on behalf of the Department for Education to ensure the quality and consistency of their inspections and reports. Our arrangements for communicating and working with the independent inspectorates is set out in the document Protocol between Ofsted and the approved independent inspectorates. This protocol has been agreed by Ofsted, the Department for Education, the Independent Schools Inspectorate, the Bridge Schools Inspectorate and the School Inspection Service.

nlondondad Thu 11-Jul-13 17:53:33

Since I was last on this thread a copy of people have posted messages suggesting that instead of just posing the question in the thread title. (And when the thread keeps wandering off to consideration as to whether Steiner schools are a good or bad thing in general trying to come back to the question again) I should be prepared to disclose what I think the answer is.

At the risk of fully establish a reputation as an annoying git my response to this is in two, unsatisfactory parts.

1. I asked the question because I really do not know the answer, I do not have sight of either of the two bids for a free school, and I do not know who has seen them, they are I understand not available through FOI. Can anyone confirm whether this is true, is there anyway I can get to see them? I was just wondering whether anyone on Mumsnet might know.

2. As you will see from this thread


I disapprove of the decision to transfer 3 million pounds from the use of Islington Community Schools to a private, profit making company. Absolutely upfront about that. Had the Steiner school got it I would still have been against (I told you I was an irritating git) but on the different ground that I disapprove of ALL tax funded religious schools, but I think I would have been less affronted as at least it would have been a parent driven initiative, and it would have had no real impact on local schools. An although I am against all state funded religious schools, I recognize they do exist, and if we are going to allow Catholic, C of E, Muslim, Hindu, and Jewish schools, I cant see how one could not allow a Steiner School. But I still would not see why it should be funded on the backs of Islington children in the other schools.

Vellimetry Thu 11-Jul-13 17:57:03

lol at 'free gnome school'
spray, arf etc

CarpeVinum Thu 11-Jul-13 20:54:54

I cant see how one could not allow a Steiner School

There may have been an issue with their proposal, the recent push to raise awareness in parlimentary circles as per the nature of Stiener schools may be relevant, it may be felt that overall Steiner is all too well represented in accepted proposals for free schools thus far and some kind of unmentioned, informal quota system is going on.

It may be to do with back scratching, money grubbing, dirty politico shinanigins, wouldn't put it past them, but then again there are other possibilities specific to Steiner schools applying for free school status and funding.

I think for FOI there is a site called What Do They Know ?...maybe try there to find out what you have a right of access to ?

nlondondad Fri 12-Jul-13 17:11:25

Actually, a number of Steiner Schools have been approved, and one was this time. It is possible I suppose that there is, in effect, a quota...

On the other hand there so far as I know no Steiner Free School in London, and although there are several fee paying primaries, there are no Steiner secondary places in London at all, that I know of.

on FOI very little stuff about Free Schools seems to be available through FOI.

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