Universities and Steiner Education

(44 Posts)
onadifferentplanet Sat 19-Mar-16 11:25:28

I know there are several people who work in Universities on these threads and wonder if you can give me any information on your views of students with the International Steiner Certificates. I know this is relatively new qualification in the UK but Ds will be amongst the first students from his school to apply to Uni next year whilst working through Level 3. We are beginning to look into where he might go and indeed where might be willing to consider him . Do any of you have any experience of this.

OP’s posts: |
MeMySonAndl Sat 19-Mar-16 11:37:42

As in the case of GCSEs and A/AS levels, whether the qualification is enough will depend very much on the university he would be applying to (the better the university the higher the competition, and therefore the higher the requirements to join).

I would say that if the qualification is at least equivalent to a GCSE and he has good grades in it, it will be ok. But again, it will depend on what the uni thinks, for example, some universities are happy to accept Functional Skills Level 2 certificates as equivalent to GCSEs but many others don't.

titchy Sat 19-Mar-16 16:08:59

His A levels will be more important, though as I doubt any university admissions officer has ever heard of this qualification they may well want him to take English and Maths GCSE as well to make sure he's of the right ability.

caroldecker Sat 19-Mar-16 16:47:05

Can't find any reference to acceptance by UK universities. Some New Zealand universities accept level 3.

onadifferentplanet Sat 19-Mar-16 19:38:55

As it is an acceptable qualification from an International student ( Several websites he has looked at ask for a level 3 with excellence) I would imagine Universities have heard of it just not so much that students in UK Steiner Schools are now working towards it. I do realise that MN does tend to think Steiner children don't actual do any work and just climb trees all day. Ds is working at the same standard in 6th form that his siblings were at this stage . He has emailed the admissions offices at the Unis he is interested in.

OP’s posts: |
caroldecker Sat 19-Mar-16 22:21:47

New Zealand requires an NCEA at level 3, which it deems equivalent to a completed Steiner School Certificate Level 3, including 9 points in each of 3 approved subject areas, 7 points in literacy (4 writing/3 reading), and 9 points in numeracy.

This is minimum requirement for NZ.

University of Bristol, for example, accepts NCEA with special reference to the subject scores.

rightsaidfrederickII Sun 20-Mar-16 12:02:00

I work in a university... and I've never heard of them.

To be honest, the strategy is going to have to be that if the relevant university doesn't mention them on their website, you'll need to email the admissions department with
a) details of what the qualification is (preferably including a link to some information)
b) subjects and predicted grades for your DS
c) if you can, mention any competitor universities that accept the qualification (i.e. universities with similar sorts of A Level grade requirements)

Then ask if they would be willing to consider your DS for whichever degree course he wants to do (NB acceptability of certain qualifications can vary from course to course, even within the same university - this is particularly noticeable with, for instance, BTECs at Russell Group universities).

Note that you are unlikely to get a response that is unequivocal - 'we would be unlikely to accept' invariably means 'not a cat in hell's chance', whereas 'we would be happy to consider your DC's application' means it's worth applying.

However, when it comes to it, make sure he has a decent range of universities on his UCAS form - he may get some unexpected rejections.


whatwouldrondo Sun 20-Mar-16 14:03:29

Island School in Hong Kong, an English Schools Foundation school, has adopted an innovative curriculum and assessment method for Years 9 to 11 island.edu.hk/curriculum/about-island-futures/ but they first approached the UK (and US universities) students most commonly apply to (and they would include all the most highly ranked) to consult and gain their agreement that they would view it positively on a student's application. Has the body overseeing this qualification done that? Or any of the schools offering it? Can you get feedback on which unversities were consulted so you have some indication of where it would be viewed positively. If they did not then it is pretty irresponsible of the U.K. Schools offering it /they should start a Steiner university.......

rightsaidfrederickII Sun 20-Mar-16 16:08:06

ron - I'd argue it depends on the starting point. The Norwich Steiner School didn't offer any formal qualifications before they introduced this Steiner School Certificate norwichsteinerschool.co.uk/upper-school/preparing-pupils-for-the-future/ I can't see any mention of universities attended / jobs gained / other outcomes, which is rarely a positive sign.

There are a handful of schools that don't offer any formal qualifications - the Acorn School in Gloucestershire springs to mind, though they do a sort of internally assessed coursework which isn't graded, but can be shown to unis and employers. Nevertheless, they seem to be doing a perfectly reasonable job of getting the kids into universities www.theacornschool.com/education/life-after-the-acorn-school/

whatwouldrondo Sun 20-Mar-16 17:02:05

Then presumably right said the school can advise the OP on how her son can best go about achieving his ambitions?

SofiaAmes Sun 20-Mar-16 17:09:07

There are lots of universities in the USA that would take him. The education system is much more flexible here. What does he want to study?

rightsaidfrederickII Sun 20-Mar-16 22:27:45

ron - Indeed, though it seems that the school has limited experience with this qualification and getting kids into uni, and it's often wise to get a second opinion on these things - I've heard schools spouting utter nonsense about progression to universities - ranging from widely held myths (e.g. earlier applications make you more likely to get in), to matters of self interest (e.g. yes, that BTEC you're thinking of studying will be accepted by all unis!)

MeMySonAndl Mon 21-Mar-16 08:07:17

Another possibility is to send the certificates (final grades included) to NARIC (you can google the details, it will cost about £150) so they can establish what is the British equivalent of that certificate.

Having said that, most offers are made on the basis of predicted grades, so by the time NARIC is in a position to check, it would be almost too late.

(the universities will check with NARIC anyway, but admissions staff work against the clock, so might not be able to spend the whole morning researching the value of a certificate they have never heard of, so it is a good idea to provide the NARIC report yourself (or at least get it before you get your child hopes high)

mathanxiety Sun 27-Mar-16 06:13:18

According to the Norwich Steiner School website, there are only three Steiner schools in Britain offering the Level 3 Steiner School Certificate, which is actually a NZ qualification. Looking through their links on SSC to try to pin them down as to content and acceptability in universities is an exercise in futility. The most they say is that it is acceptable in NZ so it should be acceptable anywhere NZ qualifications are acceptable in the UK.

So a bit of a leap in the dark, in other words.

I agree with Rightsaidfred, there are no positive signs on that site when it comes to university application.

G1raffe Sun 27-Mar-16 06:23:34

What's the basis for the acorn school. It looks great!

I was dubious about the steiner schools claims for acceptance.

Coconutty Sun 27-Mar-16 07:16:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

onadifferentplanet Tue 29-Mar-16 10:31:12

he may get some unexpected rejections
Could you give explain your reasoning for this comment please.
On the matter of no evidence of Uni destinations etc on websites as the schools have yet to have a year group applying to Uni of course there is no data.
I am rather hoping that Uni admissions will be more willing to consider him and not just write him off as a hopeless case at the very mention of the word Steiner. Out of interest he has been looking at A Level papers in his chosen subjects and does not seem to find them daunting. The responses he has received so far have asked him for further information so I see that as a positive sign.

OP’s posts: |
titchy Tue 29-Mar-16 13:28:36

Do you understand how massively busy admissions folk are? A home student with unknown qualifications requires a lot of work going in to assess their application, which a student with IB or A levels or BTEC doesn't. At least get NARIC to assess the award and make their lives easier. Be prepared for straight rejections or further tests to be requested in addition. Or apply to an NZ university!

lljkk Tue 29-Mar-16 18:07:13

Has your school tried to explain what the Level3 Steiner cert. means compared to 3 x English A-levels? I would be insisting my school come up with some info like that that I can provide to the Uni admissions team. Is it equivalent to something like BBB, maybe?

G1raffe Tue 29-Mar-16 21:08:18

IF A level papers don't look daunting maybe he could do an extra year and sit them at a 6th form college or similar? Sometimes the essy questions look deceptively easy but require depth but if its maths he should be aware if he could answer them or not.

CrowyMcCrowFace Tue 29-Mar-16 21:16:40

I would maybe look into sitting a levels independently, then?

Or at least attempt a couple of past papers & get feedback from an a level teacher. As G1raffe says, he may not quite grasp the level of response required.

If anyone's emailing universities to ask if they accept an unconventional qualification, I think it should be the candidate himself. Not his mum!

Good idea to test the waters by asking, though. If response is negative he can then start thinking about a levels.

G1raffe Tue 29-Mar-16 21:17:54

A levels will also be useful currency if doing a graduate scheme etc.

OddBoots Tue 29-Mar-16 21:25:13

I seem to remember a lot of problems with the Cambridge Pre U being accepted by Universities for the first year or two of it. If there are problems it may not be specifically because of the connotations of Steiner as much as it being largely unfamiliar.

mathanxiety Wed 30-Mar-16 00:46:12

'Further information' means they have not encountered the Level 3 before. It also means they probably haven't encountered many Steiner students before. I would not see this as positive.

He will need feedback from a teacher in a mainstream sixth form on his answers to essay-type papers, and tbh I would also seek out science and maths teacher feedback too.

whattheseithakasmean Wed 30-Mar-16 07:09:31

Steiner Schools are private schools, right? If I was paying for private education, I would expect the school to get the qualification equivalence sorted as part of their service (disclaimer, my kids went to the local comp, but I thought the whole point about private ed was being treated like a 'customer' & getting the service you wanted).

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