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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!


worldgonecrazy Tue 29-Jan-13 14:24:42

My DD goes to Steiner and it is definitely not cult like (unless you are talking about the different cults/groups in the school gate parents who range from the hippy-chic-walk-every-where cult over there versus the designer-clothed 4 x 4 gang who park over there) grin

Why not go to the school and have a look around? The best advert for any school is the children who go there.

I'd advise reading up on the methodology of Steiner, but also be aware there is a lot of bullshit written on the net. My DDs school does not teach gnomes are real (but does do a lovely Gnome Garden for the Yule Fete), nor does it ban black paint and crayons, the dolls have faces and some of the pre-7 year olds even read (self/parental taught).

Having said that, all schools are different, and just as there are good and bad state and private schools, so there are good and bad Steiner schools.

If it's a free academy there is likely to be a lot of competition to get into the school too. The Hereford Steiner Academy is vastly oversubscribed.

sannaville Tue 29-Jan-13 14:37:56

Thanks so much for replying I will definatley go and have a look.

basildonbond Tue 29-Jan-13 17:31:53

I am appalled that the state is funding any form of Steiner education

Have a look through some of the old topics on here (if you can find any that haven't been pulled hmm)

Our experience of Steiner was frankly hideous and one I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy: being taught that gnomes were real? yes; no black crayons and wishy-washy colours everywhere? yes; no faces on dolls? yes; a blind eye turned to bullying as it was the victim's karma? yes and the real biggy for us and the thing which made us run wildly for our local primary as soon as it had a place ... apparently ds's soul had been imperfectly reincarnated into his body (he has special needs) - yes really!

go and have a look if you must but bear in mind that NONE of the above was so much as hinted at during the open day we went to

(we moved back to the UK three weeks before ds was due to start reception hence even considering Steiner as an option)

sannaville Tue 29-Jan-13 18:48:50

Thank you basil good to hear all opinions

nlondondad Wed 30-Jan-13 13:52:27

Steiner is an esoteric religion. If you would have no qualms about sending your child to a school run by a religious faith that you were not part of, then I suppose you would not have a problem. Except you would be wise to check what the religion teaches. As Steiner is esoteric, this is made difficult as the "true" or "full teaching" is only made available to an elite inner group "The First Class" with different levels of involvement for people outside the "first class" So you only get told about the gnomes (for example), when it is reckoned you are ready for the teaching.

So opinions tend to polarise between those whose children went to Steiner, particularly in early years, and liked it and ex steiner people who feel bitter, and conned. Both these opinions have already appeared here, in this thread.

Snusmumriken Wed 30-Jan-13 14:14:21

I was considering sending DS to a Steiner school until I read about their ideas on race. I am not suggesting that all Steiner schools are racist, but it is very worrying when their philosophy is informed by a racist ideology.

worldgonecrazy Wed 30-Jan-13 14:29:28

Not racist as explained here

Incidentally, one of the Waldorf Education system's most famous alumni, the President of American Express (Ken Chenault) is black and was his class president.

As for those gnomes, perhaps if Steiner had referred to them as "earth energies" (which is what he is actually referring to) people wouldn't get so wound up about them? The concept of both reincarnation and earth energies, whilst in the realms of woo, are hardly unpopular amongst the general population. And it's definitely not a religion, though the philosophy does draw on Christian mysticism.

I'm more worried that my DD's school seems to turn out a lot of accountants...

Snusmumriken Wed 30-Jan-13 18:14:03

Worldgonecrazy- I am not sure what your point is, considering that many successful black people have gone to schools that had a racist ideology.

sannaville Wed 30-Jan-13 19:32:49

I had already read up on the fact that yes Waldorf was racist - but the Steiner schools have long since moved on since those many moons ago times otherwise I wouldn't consider it as we are most def not racist.

Please someone explain the gnome thing to me?? Why does it get people's backs up so much? They're only gnomes!!!

I personally liked the fact they did more old school style teaching ie learning times tables by heart, learning traditional long division etc (neither of which happens at dds school!) also like the outdoorsy stuff.

I just do think traditional mainstream is for everyone.

I'm not religious, christened yes, religious no, not against religion, just don't practise it.

sannaville Wed 30-Jan-13 19:33:23

**just don't think**

basildonbond Wed 30-Jan-13 20:38:13

well would you really want your child to be taught science by someone who genuinely believed that gnomes were real? I'd assumed they were just a symbol, but no, ds's 'teacher' explained to us with a completely straight face (she had a complete sense of humour bypass anyway) that gnomes really did exist ...

more seriously do you feel comfortable with an ideology that believes in reincarnation and that people with any kind of special need must have done something wrong in a previous life meaning that their soul hadn't properly reincarnated into their current body

when ds joined the school we'd been completely frank about his neurological issues, given them letters from Great Ormond Street, tried to explain how it might affect his behaviour and had been surprised when they weren't interested at all ... however we were summoned to a meeting a few months after he started at which they told us that they didn't believe he had any neurological problems, instead they had 'diagnosed' faulty reincarnation. When I said I wasn't prepared to have a conversation about my son along those lines they said that was fine but I'd have to understand that all the staff at the school would be dealing with him in that light

sannaville Wed 30-Jan-13 21:02:42

I wonder if the various Steiner schools differ? Like you get good and bad mainstream do you think? Also as this one is going to be a free Academy is that likely to make it any different to any other Steiner?

I will add gnomes and special needs to my list of questions to take with me!! Im going with an open mind but I have a list going and of I don't get answers to my questions then I won't take it further

worldgonecrazy Thu 31-Jan-13 08:01:40

"and that people with any kind of special need must have done something wrong in a previous life "

I guess you don't want any Hindus teaching your children then?

worldgonecrazy Thu 31-Jan-13 08:07:19

I am not sure what your point is, if you'd read the link, the point is that Steiner Schools are not racist, and that Steiner himself was not racist but admitted to a poor choice of language. Steiner Pupils are not taught anthroposophy, it's not on the curriculum, and Steiner Pupils are not taught that certain races are superior to others. Of course there may be racist Steiner teachers, just as there are racist state school teachers and racist private school teachers, and racist butchers, bakers and candlestick makers.

duchesse Thu 31-Jan-13 08:07:40

I would imagine that a free school Steiner would have to toe the mainstream line rather more than a private one. I would hope that's the basis the free school status will be granted on. Not altogether sure about Steiner myself but I think the free school may be worth a look.

Older children went to a school that wasn't steiner but had some steiner inspirations in its outdoorsishness and we loved it. What's more the children do and did as well.

Snusmumriken Thu 31-Jan-13 09:43:48


My query was in reference to this statement: " Incidentally, one of the Waldorf Education system's most famous alumni, the President of American Express (Ken Chenault) is black and was his class president".

worldgonecrazy Thu 31-Jan-13 09:50:23

My query was in reference to this statement: " Incidentally, one of the Waldorf Education system's most famous alumni, the President of American Express (Ken Chenault) is black and was his class president".

That statement was included to show that Steiner schools are not racist and do not teach racism. If they were, they would hardly have a black person as a class president would they? It's just one of the stupid myths about Steiner Education.

Snusmumriken Thu 31-Jan-13 10:15:48

Thanks for responding Worldgonecrazy.

We might have to agree to disagree. As I do not think that having had a non-white person in a position of authority necessarily evidences a non-racist stance.

My point was that there are numerous examples of black people that have been in positions of authority in historically,traditionally and fundamentally racist organisations/groups and so on.

An example would be Barak Obama. He was elected president in a country that is widely accepted as being quite racist. His election does not in and of itself prove this to be false.

I accept that this argument depends very much on how you and I define racism and its effects, and we do not have to agree with one another.

worldgonecrazy Thu 31-Jan-13 10:32:42

No we don't have to agree to disagree because you are wrong, my family is a mixed bag of skin colour, with everything from Chinese through to Caribbean and I am deeply offended that anyone could suggest I would send my daughter to a school that had a racist ideology - Steiner Education and Schools are not racist. Here is a transcript of the official statement on discrimination by the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education.

• Waldorf schools pursue their pedagogical tasks out of the spirit of
human rights, thereby contributing to building a society founded
upon mutual respect, tolerance and cooperation between all human
• Waldorf schools do not select, stratify or discriminate amongst their
pupils, but consider all human beings to be free and equal in dignity
and rights, independent of ethnicity, national or social origin,
gender, language, religion, and political or other convictions.
• Anthroposophy, upon which Waldorf education is founded, stands
firmly against all forms of racism and nationalism*. Throughout
Steiner’s work there is a consistent anti-racist sentiment and he
frequently described racist views as being anachronistic and antithetical
to basic human values and dignity. The Waldorf schools
are aware, however, that occasional phrases in Rudolf Steiner's
complete works, when judged by today's standards, are not in concordance
with this fundamental direction and have a discriminatory
• Racist or discriminatory tendencies are not tolerated in Waldorf
schools or teacher training institutes. The Waldorf school movement
explicitly rejects any attempt to misappropriate Waldorf pedagogy
or Rudolf Steiner's work for racist or nationalistic purposes.

Snusmumriken Thu 31-Jan-13 10:39:37

Once again, my point was that this statement: " Incidentally, one of the Waldorf Education system's most famous alumni, the President of American Express (Ken Chenault) is black and was his class president." does not in and of itself prove that Steiner schools are not racist.

I am going to have to leave this discussion now. I think I have made my point quite clear if you read what I have written.

sannaville Thu 31-Jan-13 12:10:37

Thank you all! My this threads come on since this morning!!

Duchesse thanks for replying I know you anyway!! I've name changed! The school is for R so thought be worth a look since she doesn't like to follow the trend anyway!

sannaville Thu 31-Jan-13 12:11:37

Yes duchesse that's what I was sort of getting at if they would have to toe the line more as it was a free academy.

duchesse Thu 31-Jan-13 21:29:11

<waves at sannaville> Do they have an open day coming up do you know? My friend went to the central library event but we had something else on at the time. I've registered to be kept up to date with info etc...

Bluestocking Thu 31-Jan-13 21:47:03

"and that people with any kind of special need must have done something wrong in a previous life "

I guess you don't want any Hindus teaching your children then?

worldgonecrazy, a very close friend runs a school for children with special needs in India, and she assures me that the notion that special needs are a punishment for sins in a previous life is very prevalent among the (mainly Hindu) families she works with.

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