Edinburgh Steiner(21 Posts)
As it seems that the vast majority of posters here have had fleeting and negative images of the schools, I will try and give as unbaised a view from someone how was there for a long time as I can.
Firstly I feel that I should say that I was at the Edinburgh Steiner School for 14 years, 2 years in Kindegarten, 12 lower/upper school.
Ofcourse there were bad parts to my time there, but i don't feel that at any point I was bullied excessivly.
Starting at the very beginning, the issues of reading, writing and basic maths, yes these are taught later, one particular one that I came across was the order in which fractions and decimal systems are taught being the opposite to the state schools.
However, I was one of the last people to be able to read in my class, and I have no issues whatsoever now, nor did I have any issues during my time at school. Maths wise, I was always highly proficient, so I cant give the school credit in the early stages, however, there was always enough of an extra challenge for me to feel like I was learning something.
While I can understand that the lack of structured teaching and bullet pointed progress until the upper school can be a concern, i feel that i should point out that by the time pupils enter the upper school, they generally have received far more rounded educations in subjects ranging from languages to science, not to mention art. As an example, some topics in mainlessons that I covered when I was 10-13 were still being discussed in my 2nd year of Engineering at University.
This brings me on to mainlessons, and the point that the class teacher cannot cover the topics, this is very true, and (s)he does not. There are many instancies where either a specific subject teacher was there to help, teach the whole mainlesson, or in some cases an external person brought in.
I think that it is very fair to say that there are very few people that gain the expreience of basic mechanics at school, or understand the work that is required to produce food, something that is taken for granted by so many people, I feel that a understanding in the production of food can only help to appreciate quality and to understand sustainable eating.
Moving into class 8 and the upper school, while the exam subjects are being taught in class 8 (english, maths, french german; emfg) they are taught to give an actual speaking knowledge of the language, rather than being able to pass the exam. Or in the class of maths, laying the foundations for applied maths, something that i felt the standard grade missed drastically.
This is highly exemplified with the exchange program in class 8, spending 6-8 weeks in a foreign country attending school there are trying to become familiar with the different society was a hugely beneficial thing. The knowledge of German I gained there was invaluable, as well as the experience gained from spending time with another family.
Also in class 8, the ~year long project you undertake is deeply rewarding, especially as the project is completely opened, such that projects ranged from a wind turbine to chocolate. The project management and planning skills required to gain a good mark and execute a project of that size are something that people struggle with in there honours year of university. I have found that learning experience immensly useful in keeping myself on track in projects I lead now.
Class 9 focuses more on exam preparation, with specific subject lessons in emfg from the exam teachers, however, the full range of exam teachers; sciencies, english, maths, drama, music...... are given mainlesson time to lay a foundation for the coming exams and to read around the exam course to give a more useful knowledge of the subject.
A similar model applies to class 10, however, the exam syllabus is taught in emfg here, giving 2 years to prepare for the 1st exams you sit, this also allows for 2 years preparation for the higher exams in emfg, again giving a far more indepth knowledge of the subjects.
Class 11 allows for specific subject choise, with the exam syllabus taught and exam sat at the end of the year. Again these syllabuses are complemented by the mainlessons, as an example, the genetics mainlessons gives a far more useful view of what genetics is actually about then the GCSE syllabus allows. On top of this benifit, it also gives people the experience of learning about a subject that they are not going to sit an exam in, some my find this pointless, and please excuse the line, but how many people know what they will need in later life, or what they want when they are learning in school.
A similar situation occurs in class 12.
I feel that I should point out that for the 4 main subjects that i was interested in, 3 had a class size of 3 or less, give exceptional contact time. For physics, as I was the only person studying it, the school arranged for this to be included in the timetable when the minimum pupil count should have been 3, I did have to have s lower lesson number, but the 1:1 tuturing counteracted this.
As an aside to this, I have noticed comparing the teaching received with fellow students at university, that the approaches used in the final years of the Steiner education are far closer to those of a university which I foound to be very helpful in reducing the transfer shock.
I hope that i have made the academic side of things clearer, as that was my main focus when I was at the school. This surprises a large number of people. especially as I am from an anthroposophical family of 2 generations. I never found the religious aspects or "cultists" a problem. as for the school needing to meet Mr. Dawkins, please watch the interview on the school website with the biology teacher - there is no more creationism taught at this school than any other. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UpMs6oET7I about 2 minutes in.
If there is anything that I have failed to cover, or is not clear, please ask and I will do my best, and apologies for the book.
Thanks, a former pupil 1994-2008.
Emma I can honestly say it was 95% of my DD's teacher bullying her that I removed her. The remaining 5% was Management's failure to act even although it was so very clear the teacher was lying.
The parents I met all seemed lovely and some of the other teachers seemed lovely also.
However after leaving the school, I soon realised my DD was not receiving a good education whilst she was there.
Apparently after removing my DD her teacher told the class she had left due to her maths levels being that of a Class 4 level. Anyone reading this from Steiners will know who I am but I really do not care because I will not be silenced over the treatment of my DD. As soon as she was settled in another school it became apparent that her level of maths was actually far above what was being taught in Steiners.
Also whilst she was there the teacher would talk to children in 'private' and I completely disagree with that. She also told me private things about other children in her class which I felt were completely inappropriate to be telling me. Goodness only knows what she was saying to other parents.
I hope this helps you.
Hi there, (I have name changed for obvious reasons.....) like zsazsa, I would say run for the hills too; we took our kids out after a few years of SW ed. I truly believe it's not what it says on the packet.
I would definitely read these articles too
Interesting zsazsa, thanks.
I and many others would be keen to know more about your experiences at the school, if you would like to share them. Was it solely the bullying issue that made you leave?
Emma, can I also add that if you were thinking of Steiners for Secondary School, that is equivalent to years 7 and 8 at Steiners where they remain with the same Main Teacher.
That teacher is supposed to teach them all the main subjects that cover the curriculum. I asked myself (after I left) how on earth can they be well versed in ALL the subjects. Thinking back now she most certainly was not as my DD is miles ahead now she is settled in a very good school and her friends who are still at Steiners are way behind
After our very short spell at Steiners, I would honestly say run for the hills to anyone thinking about this school.
VoiceintheWilerness my DD's main teacher attempted to blame my family and my DD and we had written proof she was lying but that did not matter one jot to 'Management'. I am so glad I took my DD out of that awful place and have heard several other children from her class have in fact left now also.
It was all one big trauma. You think when you visit the school that it is lovely and tranquil and a great place. Trust me, looks can be very deceiving!
certainly wouldn't hold your breath for any length of time...
worth checking school's anti-bullying policy against the national guidelines.....hmmmm....
all you have to do is google steiner bullying and you will see repeated incidents of 'it doesn't happen in our school' worldwide.
one can only hope that if karma is their frightening justification for bullying, that that same karma will pay them a visit
for all those survivors of bullying out there, it was not your fault - though the school may try to blame you and your family - you have the truth.
bumping, since I would really like to hear Steinerenthusiast's responses (not holding my breath though)
I am very attracted to many elements of Steiner education, and will possibly consider it as an option for my children when they reach high school, however, Steinerenthusiast, I have also heard of unconnected episodes of bullying which have not been dealt with, and was told this was due to the Steiner philosophy of 'you must have brought it on yourself in a past life', a key part of anthroposophy I believe. Can you confirm or deny that this position is held by the school? How much does this philosophy inform what you do?
The puported 'Christian ethos' also really puts me off. Please could you explain more about that? I do not want my children receiving a 'Christian education' taught as fact, as it appears to be.
It would also be interesting to know how many other pupils have left recently as I certainly know of one and others who are waiting for spaces at other schools.
Further to your response, always good to hear from the other side.
If you would like to go back and read my posts, my issues were not regarding bullying amongst fellow pupils but bullying by staff members to my DD.
It would be very interesting to hear why, although I was promised a response, my complaint was never addressed by Management given that they had enough proof to prove that my DD's teacher was in fact lacking in basic core skills both personal and academic. Management, in my opinion, chose to sweep everything under the rug as it is a very flat Management structure and no one would be willing to go against one of their own peer group as in the teaching staff.
I also believe that children should be leaving school as healthy, happy individuals who have a broad as well as a deep education and who have self-confidence. However that self-confidence will be seriously lacking if they do not have the basic skills in literacy and numeracy to be able to function past senior school level.
For the record, now that my DD is settled in another very good school, her academic attain has increased greatly in maths and English along with her confidence.
I am a teacher at the Edinburgh Steiner School. I would like to affirm that our school is very concerned with the well-being of the children-- it is something that all of the teachers take very seriously. We strive to give the children good social skills -- to help them to have empathy for others as well as self-confidence in themselves, which is the root of respect for others. We strive to address bullying in a deeper way than just punishment (although of course there are consequences for bullying or mean behaviour and we never turn a blind eye). What we strive for is to create empathy, to help them to learn to care for and support their classmates so that the good behaviour is not just on the surface, done out of fear of punishment, but takes roots in them and will stay with them into adulthood when there are no longer people looking over their shoulders. If you want to see for you yourselves, come and visit the school and see how happy the children look. I have on numerous occasions seen newly joined children who were bullied at their previous schools gradually blossom at our school and become self-confident, happy individuals who love to come to school.
As for the academic standards, it seems to be commonly believed that we do not have high standards and achievement, perhaps because we do not push them at an early age. However, if you look at our exam results, you will see that we do much better than most schools -- in fact, two or three years ago our results were the second highest in Scotland. But our focus is not only on exams but on turning out healthy, happy individuals who have a broad as well as a deep education and who have self-confidence in their ability to go out and meet the world, be self-reliant, be a healthy member of society, and pursue their own dreams in life. Isn't that what a real education should do?
MacPhoenix. I would never condemn a school due to the behaviour of one teacher. However, the "Management" did not deal with my formal complaint whatsoever and seemed at a loss in how to deal with the situation bearing in mind there is a flat management structure. No one was prepared to take the lead and in fact no one replied (despite numerous emails from myself) to the serious concerns I raised regarding my DD's main teacher and her levels of teaching. I have since learned that another girl from the same class has been withdrawn and moved to another school and that other parents are looking to remove their children also.
As anyone in Edinburgh knows, trying to get a place in a school even in your catchment in S1 is nigh on impossible. Thankfully my DD is now settled and happy.
I have heard good things about the kindergarten but I would certainly not recommend Steiners for parents who wish their children to attain a certain level of academics - maths and English specifically as all those in the equivalent of S1 were not attaining what was expected of them at this specific age.
I have a friend whose DD is still there and she is extremely concerned re her DD's maths.
My daughter is in the kindergarten there. I'm a bit unnerved by what you've just revealed, Zsa Zsa.
(achtung, hearsay) the previous owner of our flat had the same problem - had enrolled his girls in the Steiner school, one was bullied and the school was unwilling to do anything about it. They had been there under a year and he was already thinking of pulling her out... personally I have problems with the whole Steiner philosophy. Not sure whether the idea of karma (meaning if you are bullied, you are getting what is coming to you and why should someone interfere with that) has to do with the bullying stories... in any case Good Luck ZsaZsa!
Had to change my username for some reason????? I only asked because my DD was having probs and I have now withdrawn her. She was being bullied - not by kids - by her main teacher. I complained formally to Management and they did nothing.
Since I have withdrawn her I have discovered a lot of unhappy parents with very similar problems.
A friends ds went there for several years but was seriously bullied (or so mum tells it) including being kicked in the groin. When the school failed to act to her satisfaction she withdrew him and sent him to a stste school where he was much happier.
We attended the baby group a few times when DD was much younger. I think that the nursery is particularly well regarded and popular. I'm not sure about the middle school but I know that there are two ways it can go in senior school (from being friends with teachers, rather than pupils). If a child is creative, artistic etc., they will feel very at home and it will suit them. If a child is perhaps more academic then they might not be so happy - but they might! A friend who is an accountant hated it but her two sisters (an artist and musician!) both loved it. We didn't go for it as we weren't keen on the theosophy side of things, otherwise it seemed ok.
Does anyone have any experience of the above school? I would be interested in good and bad.
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