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Steiner Free Academy In Exeter

(69 Posts)
sannaville Tue 29-Jan-13 14:02:51

Hi all, dd2 is a late August birthday and had a bit of a rough start. She doesn't like preschool much and I'm not entirely sure she will adjust well to your average reception class. I've seen the new Steiner free Academy will be opening this year in exeter and am considering this as an option.

Does anyone know much about it and will it differ much from the traditional Steiner paying schools ? I've read they can be quite cult like. Unfortunately there's no Montessori in Exeter and we can't afford private school anyway. All views welcome!


MumTryingHerBest Tue 05-Sep-17 20:30:16

I don't need to visit a Steiner school to form my own opinion.

I don't think it would be a good idea for me to visit my nearest Steiner School as it is the one currently in the media (and the feedback from a close friend who withdrew their 2 DCs from there is a stark contrast from the picture Roseredirish is trying to paint).

QoFE Tue 05-Sep-17 20:09:34

I don't need to visit a Steiner school to form my own opinion. I spent nearly a decade as as pupil at one and then the best part of 20 years on the periphery of the school community. I'm replete with knowledge about what a shitstorm they are but thanks for the suggestion smile

Copperbeech33 Tue 05-Sep-17 18:32:46

That fact that you're even attempting to say that I've been sent to write on these old threads because I'm trying to in doctrine others and recruit people is proof of how low people such as you have fallen in trying to bad mouth the Steiner ethos.

Who said you had been sent to write on old threads???

People from Steiner ARE employed to write on old threads, and if "they" have told you they don't do that, that's another lie ,and another swallowing.

I don't think I said that anyway? maybe I did, because of course, we can't actually know if you are a steiner sock puppet, or a genuine victim.

If you are a steiner sock puppet, you need to have your message consistently and thoroughly negated every time.

If you are just another victim, you need information, and warnings, and suggestions of an exit strategy.

Either way, the brain washed platitudes, denials and minimisation in your posts is unlikely to be let lie on MN

Copperbeech33 Tue 05-Sep-17 18:27:42

It's been scientifically proven.

no it hasn't, so there you are, a demonstration of a Steiner lie, and you swallowing it.

Roseredirish Tue 05-Sep-17 17:11:51

I have done what I came on here to do which was point out that what some people are staying in these threads is either untrue or one persons opinion. I have provided another. If you're interested in Steiner, go and visit it and form your own opinion.

QoFE Tue 05-Sep-17 14:30:39

Definitely just coincidence that you popped up on a 4 year old zombie thread just as the safeguarding issues and chaotic mismanagement of a leading UK Steiner school hit the national press smile How lucky you happened to be searching Mumsnet for old threads on the subject!

MumTryingHerBest Tue 05-Sep-17 14:24:29

Roseredirish - I would rather there were less spaces at the school, as that means smaller class sizes!

For a state school, it also means less funding.

Our school is inspected by ofsted

Yes, perhaps you might like to actually read those reports. Early years doesn't seem to be an issue, later years, however...

vast amounts of parents who use the schools currently

Really, so how many Steiner schools are there in this Country? I really don't think anyone can claim that vast amounts of parents in this Country are choosing Steiner Schools.

proof of how low people such as you have fallen

Actually I think it is pretty low to try to suggest that anyone introducing their children to formal education at the age of 4 doesn't love them as per your comment I love my children, which is why I entered them into a school where formal learning isn't pushed upon them from age 4.

Roseredirish Tue 05-Sep-17 09:37:32

I'm sorry, I regularly find myself laughing at these posts. I love my children, which is why I entered them into a school where formal learning isn't pushed upon them from age 4. I repeat, Steiner had some very wacky beliefs, we are now in the 21st century and I assure you, a huge amount of steiner a beliefs did not make it to their current schools. I would rather there were less spaces at the school, as that means smaller class sizes! There are now several state funded Steiner schools, one of which my children attend, and these are going to be adhering to ofsted more than the private ones, which I have no experience with. Our school is inspected by ofsted, the headteacher is lovely and caring and very passionate about what he does. I posted on these threads as I was looking up something on the Steiner websites and stumbled upon these, not one, but several threads that have been taken over by people who have grudges against the Steiner system as a whole, purely down to their beliefs and/or one experience.
They have a rule against electronics because they. Are. Detrimental. To. Childrens. Health. It's been scientifically proven.
Everyone is different, Steiner is not for everyone as I said, but according to the vast amounts of parents who use the schools currently, I'd say you've got it massively wrong. That fact that you're even attempting to say that I've been sent to write on these old threads because I'm trying to in doctrine others and recruit people is proof of how low people such as you have fallen in trying to bad mouth the Steiner ethos.

Copperbeech33 Tue 05-Sep-17 05:39:31

My children have been there a year and none of us have heard anything about astral bodies, corporeal beings or gnomes

you don't understand anything yet about the way children are subtly drawn into this voodoo wacky fascism.

Consider this your early warning.

if you care about what is best for your children, remove them now.

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Sep-17 23:14:53

You're right, something did happen to me. I put DD's name down in a Steiner school without realizing what they stand for and believe in. And that is because none of the school management & teachers I spoke to breathed a word about reincarnation, spirit world, etc.

With their creepy singsong voices, they told me half-truths and blatant lies such as "We start every day with poems". What they don't tell you is that it's always the same "poem" that talks about "spirit of God" and "the spirit who lives in me", which is in fact a prayer that's recited by all Steiner children around the world angry

They tell you "Oh we don't like children to spend time on electronic devices" which sounds good until you learn that this aversion is because Steiner said a devil called Ahriman speaks through the screen hmm

They hide these and other beliefs that are the foundation of their pedagogy and system of education, because you as the parent don't matter - the child isn't yours, he is s reincarnated spirit! Why would they care what you think?

It's a shockingly inadequate system based on nonsense woo, "taught" by cultists with weird singsong voices (yes, all the same) determined not to teach children anything at all except stories about nature, seasons, and of course... gnomes.

Yes, cult. Imagine my shock when I realized that Steiner schools are on French government's list of cults, right next to Scientology.

MumTryingHerBest Mon 04-Sep-17 22:59:36

Roseredirish I assume you read their Ofsted reports?

I do wonder if the real reason you are reviving zombie threads is because: "the school is still in the process of recruiting pupils to fill the different year groups." (taken from the latest Ofsted report).

Now why on earth would such a wonderful school (as per your description) have empty places?

QoFE Mon 04-Sep-17 22:48:53

Eurythmy grin it cures everything doncha know?? I was made to do something called 'curative eurythmy' to improve my eyesight (glasses wearer since an early age). Who know that endless hours spent holding copper rods whilst staring without glasses on at a blue cloth then a pink cloth could do what modern ophthalmology can't??

(Spoiler - it did fuck all for my eyesight shock and not much for my karma either)

Rufus27 Mon 04-Sep-17 22:42:35

Don't know a lot about Steiner per se, but I do know that the children who've been to Exeter Steiner who then have moved to the school where I teach have struggled to settle into mainstream state ed.

Roseredirish Mon 04-Sep-17 22:35:24

Something must have happened to make you both so venomous towards Steiner education and quite personal insults towards the teachers (IQ level, really?!). My children have been there a year and none of us have heard anything about astral bodies, corporeal beings or gnomes being of any importance other than in fairy tales like trolls and princesses. Steiner had some wacky beliefs, I agree with that. Some people who have nothing to do with Steiner have wacky beliefs! I am here saying that am my children's school in particular, these things do not apply. Not once have I heard any of the parents mention things like that, or the teachers or in any writing present in the school. My children have never done euruthmy, although I know it to be a type of dance that is offered to older children in the school. Maybe it occurred in the schools/experiences that are unique to you, please do not tar everyone with the same brush. Your hateful comments about things you think Steiner schools are teaching are out of date as well as untrue.

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Sep-17 21:47:57

I totally agree Copper.

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Sep-17 21:47:34

"Gnomes are great! Who cares if they are 'real' or not? - many people believe in all sorts of stuff that we can't see (God, aliens, the big bang, atoms - well- I've never seen one so I just believe in them....blah, blah, blah)."

Are you fucking for real? shock

You sound perfect for Steiner. Only people like you who can tell the difference between belief in gnomes (fantasy) and knowledge of atoms (reality) would knowingly send their children to a Steiner school.

Copperbeech33 Mon 04-Sep-17 21:47:09

I don't care what nonsense strangers believe in

I agree, adults are entitles to believe in and follow any deluded hallucination that they like.

However, it is of concern to the whole of society when children re exposed to this nasty, vicious, ignorant, spurious lunacy

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Sep-17 21:42:30

"My children are not learning how to read or write yet (they encourage that at age 6 around the time their second set of teeth come through- for good reason)"

Oh yes. That "good reason" is Steiner's belief that reincarnation of the old spirit into the child's body isn't complete until adult teeth start coming through. They wait for that to start teaching stuff. Until then, it's all wishy washy watercolor paintings and a silly swaying dance called eurythmy to facilitate the child's communication with the spirit world hmm

I don't care what nonsense strangers believe in. To each their own and all that. But hell will freeze over before I leave my DC in the care of hippies with single-digit IQs who actually believe this crap.

Copperbeech33 Mon 04-Sep-17 21:28:56

glad your childen are having good time in kindergarten. I hope you are aware that the anthoposophists are just keeping them in happy kindergarten until their next astral body becomes corporeal, and they are considered mature enough to be dawn deeper into this occultic, nazi cult

Roseredirish Mon 04-Sep-17 21:13:15

As a mum of two young children who attend the Steiner Academy in Exeter, I want to dispel any rubbish that's been written about the school and Steiner schools in general.
It's not for everyone, let's get that straight. If you're a parent who's hot on their child learning everything by the book and exactly when the development books say they should be learning then it's not for you. If you have your 4 year old booked into extra curricular classes to boost their learning 6 days a week it's probably not for you.
Both my children are in the kindergarten (for children in the preschool age 3 - to those age 6) and they adore it. The grounds are gorgeous, inspiring and full of green spaces, the kindi garden is huge and isn't just a concrete space. They have real trees to climb, mud to dig in and hills to explore. The classes provide lots and lots of natural toys and craft materials which are interesting yet calming at the same time, as there's not an over stimulating amount of colour and stickers all over the walls. They play dress up, paint, hide, climb, get filthy, look at books, tell stories, help to cook and clean, help each other when it comes to dressing and act out plays. The teachers are gentle and calm themselves, always ready to listen to parents despite being majorly child centred. If the teachers seem to busy with children to talk, I just email. They reply quickly. My children are not learning how to read or write yet (they encourage that at age 6 around the time their second set of teeth come through- for good reason) but they know how to prepare meals and cook, they help the teachers clean and tidy, they are extremely sociable and not just with children their exact age, they tell very in depth stories that they've learnt from the teachers, they've learn long poems and songs, come home with beautiful chalk and painted pictures and are currently learning how to finger knit and sew by hand. To me, these skills are invaluable and I would prefer them to have life skills such as cooking and tending to themselves, others and the environment than reading and writing before they are ready to join the majority of the workforce behind a desk.
Steiner schools don't encourage reading and writing before 6/7 but they don't ban it. Same goes for black paints and crayons. They encourage clothes without logos as it influences their play. I've seen it,
It happens constantly. This is one rule I've taken on with relief. There is one gnome that I've seen, and that's a cuddly gnome that comes out at story time to help tell the stories, which the children love. Nothing more.
I can't say much about the older classes but what I've seen of the older children is that they're happy, content to express themselves in terms of clothing which a great deal can't do in mainstream uniform, and socialise with the younger classes a lot more than normal. The teachers seem happy and they seem to have close relationships with the students, helped by the fact they're called by their first names, which helps to take some of the power struggle away.
There are always going to be different types of parents. I think I'm one of the youngest there at 26. Some are majorly crunchy and they're lovely. Some are the opposite of crunchy and are what we call Steiner flexible, and they're lovely too. Parents commute from places all around Devon to bring their kids to the school, that should tell you enough.
Steiner has come a long way in the last 20 years, they are still very traditional in terms of teaching and lack of electronics (which I love!) but understand that children are growing up in a modern world. My impression is that they try and preserve childhood rather than push them through to adulthood faster.
Any questions, please feel free to message me.

gillapr Fri 30-Aug-13 22:06:06

Don't even consider a Steiner school - until you have researched thoroughly 'anthroposophy' on sites like Waldorf Critics/Quackometer and Waldorf Watch. If you agree with Steiner's (what many consider to be bizarre and worrying beliefs and approaches to education) that's great. But if you don't - you will be making huge mistake which will be expensive and stressful to put right.

I only wish the information had been on-line before deciding to send my daughter to a Steiner Waldorf (SW) establishment.

At first I sent my child to nearby private school, she thrived at its nursery and I assumed it would be a natural transition into the pre-prep. It was not. She had a dreadful start to school life, slapped and punched by the one other child in the class as well as horrendous pressure put on her to learn etc.

After looking at other local schools, I stumbled across SW education. I am now deeply embarrassed to admit that as well education (MBA), worldly and mature parent (had my daughter in my late 40's) I fell for the creative, tree-hugging hype. Seduced by the calmness of the environment, pretty baskets of shells, ribbons and cones to play with, the smell of bread baking and the gentle pastel colours painted on the walls etc. At the time, there was no other place I wanted her to be educated in.

I had absolutely no idea of the bizarre nature of anthroposophy, I couldn't even say the word. For the first few months it seemed a good choice but as time progressed I became more and more concerned over some of the teaching styles and practices. It was only after I got a letter saying my child would be required to jump over a fire (yes true!) at one of their odd festivals they celebrate, that I started to research the true nature of SW schools. I then came across the websites mentioned above. By this time, she was entering SW Year 1.

Already a fluid reader with good writing skills, she was not allowed to use this skills at all. She was not allowed books to read or permitted to use normal pencils. Instead she was made to go back to the most basic of lessons and use huge crayons to write with. When I complained about this, I was told that she would only be allowed to use pencils, as and when the rest of the class was ready. There was only three other children in the Y1 at the time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She could only use three colours of paint in her art and when a few other children were less than kind to her, I was told it was just 'childish' pranks and she should learn to deal with it. She was reduced to tears by the teacher because she refused to write the letter 'm' in the prescribed four stroke Steiner way and was devastated when made to sit alone at the back of a class of 12 pupils. Why? When challenged the teacher said it was his class and he could do what he wanted!

Once you understand ' anthroposophy' and Steiner's beliefs - these somewhat bizarre teaching practices will become very clear.

I decided to take her out of the school, but because she was so far behind academically I needed to employ a private tutor to bring her up to the most basic of standards- costing me over £1500. Also, she was so far behind that she was placed a year below her peers when she re-entered mainstream school.

I was so angry with the school because I felt conned by the 'so-called' innovative, creative and child orientated promises made to me by the school, I refused to pay the outstanding fees. In addition, I had serious concerns over her general health and safety, for instance, the classroom was infested with wild mice, which ran over the desks that children ate their lunch on. The school threatened me with debt-collectors, but when I said I wanted the matter to go before a small claims court, so it could be put on public record the disgraceful nature of the school and the appalling standard of teaching, the Trustee's backed down.

I can tell you from first-hand experience that SW schools are not what they claim. Only being allowed to use a limited number of colours in art and copying everything off a blackboard is the exact opposite of 'creative'. The bizarre religion that Steiner invented underpins everything that is said and done at these schools. It may, as you will no doubt be told, not taught to the children directly but it is done by stealth.

It was a truly dreadful experience. My dd has now been at mainstream state school for one year and is thriving and doing incredibly well. She tells me she hated the SW school and I looking back on it I can see why she would often beg me not to take her to school in the morning and come home bored and frustrated, desperate just to play with normal toys and paint pictures full of colour.

mysterio Mon 01-Jul-13 07:37:40

Wanted to add that I know someone who has a son with special needs (autism) and she wanted him to go to a certain Steiner school because of their gentle approach, supposed "accept everybody" approach, good values, etc. When she approached the school to ask if he could join, the teacher told her she would ask the class their opinion first (as it's child led). She came back to her saying that the class didn't want the boy to start there. Unbelievable. So just goes to show, they don't always practice what they preach.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 30-Jun-13 13:32:29

josie I'll tell you why people are getting fussed about it. Because that school is receiving funding that should be going to the state schools in Exeter. Because that school isn't needed here. Because people - like you - are moving from another area to take advantage of state funding that should be going to the existing schools, and to save yourself fees which you would otherwise be paying. There is no demand for Steiner in Exeter. And no need for any free schools.

mysterio Sun 30-Jun-13 09:21:20

Our experience of Steiner kindergarten was also hideous. Daughter was terrified to go into Kindergarten. Seemed very dark, sinister and secretive and teacher was cold. Could never talk to the teacher as we were told the school was "child focused". Just had to leave a note in a book if you had any concerns. Daughter was left to her own devices at "playtime" where she would wander around the "playground" alone for ages with no interraction from staff as they wanted her to use her own imagination. She felt lonely, she was bullied (again, no supervision at playtime) and there was no structure at play time. A very bad first experience of school. Daughter would never talk about it, only cry hysterically if Steiner was mentioned.

As for the Steiner school, don't get me started! When our older child started, the school already knew they were in dire straits financially but still took our child on knowing that it would only be a temporary thing. Child has special needs and had already left one school because they couldn't cope with her. We believe it was hugely unfair of Steiner to take our child on especially with her difficulties, allowing her to settle in and get used to everything and then close down so suddenly. She was left very distraught and confused. They happily took our money for 10 months and then landed us with this bombshell. In the meantime, the staff were concentrating on getting the free academy ready and making sure that their children had places there. Our child does not even have a place at the new academy. We feel very angry and used.

Oh! and the teacher couldn't even spell! Daughter was always correcting him! How good is that.

Don't touch it with a barge pole. Weird, airy fairy, hippy dippy people who make you feel inferior if you're not one of the great unwashed. They looked down their noses at me because I wore makeup.

josieflower Tue 25-Jun-13 16:24:01


Just wanted to add that my two girls are going to the Exeter Steiner Academy in September, we are moving from another area to go there. My kids have been in the Steiner school here for several years.

Honestly, I don't know why people are getting so fussed about it all - go look if you like - rather than believing all the weird stuff written on the internet, make decisions based on your experiences. Speak to parents/pupils who have been there. The schools are not perfect and certainly don't suit everyone, nevertheless this is true of all schools and education systems.

My personal experience has been one of seeing my children happy, nurtured and loved. Academically they are excelling and I really enjoy all the magic of the early years (for instance the little necklaces made by the teachers form the 'fairies' on midsummers day)...This is a delightful part of childhood and I am glad it is celebrated for them. Gnomes are great! Who cares if they are 'real' or not? - many people believe in all sorts of stuff that we can't see (God, aliens, the big bang, atoms - well- I've never seen one so I just believe in them....blah, blah, blah). Some of these beliefs are helpful, some not so. So long as they aren't harmful and we have enough guidance to wisely discriminate these then for most of us, most of the time, we can escape certifiable insanity. Children believe in all kinds of wonderful stuff... the tooth fairy, father Christmas, making wishes, fairies, that they will be an astronaut one day - why not let them enjoy it while it lasts?

We can ignite the imagination or crush and belittle it, regardless of our religious or spiritual beliefs. I am a Buddhist personally and find the education very welcoming and compatible. My daughter's class is of many races and religions, speaking many languages and coming from many counties of origin, I have never witnessed or experienced racism within the school except from one other parent of a much older pupil on one occasion (sad, but not unique to the Steiner schools to meet ignorance).

In terms of the influence of the media - again try for yourself. If you like take a look at stuff written by Aric Sigman (not a Steiner person). My kids don't watch TV at all, we just don't need it, but this is a personal conscious choice, not one pushed on me by the school.

Of course there are some odd beliefs in Steiner's work, but the guy was writing around the turn of the 20th century, ever read any of his contemporaries stuff??? Try reading Freud for some add stuff too. Both I think classify as radical and genius in their way, but they were also a product of their era, culture and own education. These, just like their own ideologies, are not static things, are nor are the Steiner schools, they are evolving and alive.

Hopping off my soap box now and wishing you well in your own educations....

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