Looking for a school similar to steiner but without the bad bits

(29 Posts)
WellyTans Thu 26-Jul-18 20:56:24

Have been looking into schools for dd1 and came across Steiner schools via a thread on here.
When I looked more into them I really fell in love with a lot of things about them.

I love the focus on community, creativity and nature and also that they wait until the children are a little older before focusing on academic learning and there is very little standardised testing.

There seems to also be a focus on independence and letting the children learn in their own way and take responsibility for their learning and this really appealed to me too.

However, the controversies over racism and bullying and the kind of cult-ish thing they've got going on have put me off ever sending my kids to one.

Are there any schools with a similar approach to Steiner schools but without the bad bits?

We have all girls ,except possibly dc4 who is due to make an appearance in a month, so we are open to all girls schools at the moment as well as co-ed

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Thu 26-Jul-18 21:19:01

I would be very careful about expecting any other Private schools to be like them. Most parents who pay want a certain type of education. If they wanted Steiner type schools, there would be more of them. Also schools can be creative with the curriculum when the children are younger but will want to show bang for buck as the children get older. It is what the majority of parents want and schools would close if they didn’t provide it. Just try and look through the sales patter. There’s plenty of parents who believe paying will get your children light years ahead academically and they do not expect to do this by Steiner methods. They like homework, setting and scholarship groups!

FourOnTheHill Thu 26-Jul-18 21:20:48

I know St Christopher’s in letchworth is well thought of might be of interest. Don’t know where you are?

museumum Thu 26-Jul-18 21:25:37

Montessori? There’s a Montessori school in my city (though personally I’ve only experienced the Montessori philosophy at Nursery level)

GU24Mum Fri 27-Jul-18 10:20:36

I don't know where you are but have you had a look at Frensham Heights?

BubblesBuddy Fri 27-Jul-18 12:42:24

Be very careful with St Christohpers. Many brigher children move on and leave lots of SEN.

Angeleshill Fri 27-Jul-18 12:53:11

However, the controversies over racism and bullying

What do you mean? Is this a particular school or are you saying all Steiner schools are racist and allow bullying?


WellyTans Fri 27-Jul-18 17:03:03

At the moment we have a house on the south coast and one in the north east of Scotland but we'd be willing to move for the perfect school.

I'll have a look into the schools that have been mentioned.
I've not really heard of Montessori past nursery level but that sounds interesting.

Steiner schools have a reputation for allowing racism and bullying, Angeles. I'm aware that this is probably not the case at every Steiner school but I don't believe the reputation is unfounded so I'm not willing to send my children to any of their schools

OP’s posts: |
rebelrosie12 Fri 27-Jul-18 17:05:05

If money is no issue then sidcot in Somerset sounds fabulous.

FourOnTheHill Fri 27-Jul-18 17:56:34

Some of my friends and family went to/ taught at our local Steiner school. Some of them were mixed race and I can confidently say that none of Steiner’s racial stuff was present in the teaching and racism was never a problem. Multiculturalism was celebrated.

Bullying was a problem for one friend’s child, and lack of effective SEN provision caused two others I know to leave. Other children I know there are very happy and some have succesfully transitioned to mainstream secondary school.

Angeleshill Fri 27-Jul-18 17:58:47

Steiner schools have a reputation for allowing racism and bullying, Angeles. I'm aware that this is probably not the case at every Steiner school but I don't believe the reputation is unfounded so I'm not willing to send my children to any of their schools

I don't think that's true. Do you have any supporting evidence or links?

LadyPeacock Fri 27-Jul-18 20:59:45

I think a really laid back, rural prep school that treats the children like free-range chickens would do what you want.

Look for a completely non-selective one out in the countryside, with horses and a lake. grin

sleepingdragon Fri 27-Jul-18 21:05:16

Another option is democratic schools, such as Summerhill. I've just found this link with brief details of various alternative schools around the country thegreenparent.co.uk/articles/read/well-schooled

Mishappening Fri 27-Jul-18 21:25:55

Two of my DDs spent some time at a Steiner school - which is now the first state-funded Steiner school in Britain.

One went there at 9, because she was so unhappy at her primary that I did not care if she never learned another thing in her life as long her sadness would go away! She concentrated on her drama, art and musical skills and regained her confidence and self-respect. At 14 she went on to a rural comprehensive.

Another DD went for nursery, kindergarten and Class One; then chose to move to the local primary where her Brownie mates were.

There are my conclusions about Steiner education, from experience of only one school:
- the philosophy on which it is all based (anthroposophy) is seriously mad - I mean completely barking; however this is not taught to the pupils
- the educational ideas that arise from this are in many ways to be applauded - early childhood as a precious time and the little ones dance, bake, go for walks, celebrate festivals, sing, engage with nature etc., and do not begin formal learning till 6-7; there is no artificial distinction made between science and art and everything the children learn is presented colourfully and very beautifully.
- but there are downsides - the parents are wacky and cliquey in a somewhat patronising way that sticks in the throat; bullying is a known problem (very prevalent in the local Steiner school) as is lack of discipline; the curriculum (whilst being beautifully presented) is in fact very rigid indeed in terms of what is taught when; there is little flexibility to take account of a child's individuality - e.g. my DD learned to read very young from her older siblings and no account was taken of this in lessons - she was still asked to "learn" letters one by one - indeed I was told that I was "destroying her incarnating soul" by allowing her to pick up reading from her siblings!

My local small rural primary school where I am governor is as near as you will get in the state sector to that idyllic nature-based and child-centred education that Steiner prides itself on. Indeed the whole forest schools movement is now being rolled out throughout schools.

So a good rural primary school is not to be sneezed at!

Mossandclover Fri 27-Jul-18 21:28:09

Angeleshill Steiner was racists and there is also a belief in karma it depends how closely the schools follow Steiner’s principles.

Angeleshill Fri 27-Jul-18 22:03:41

It looks like Steiner was born in the 1800s. Literature and the views of his contemporaries would have been similarly racist and outmoded.

Mossandclover Fri 27-Jul-18 22:48:59

Fortunately non-Steiner schools don’t base their educational philosophies on pseudo-religious ideas from that era.

IsTheRainEverComingBack Fri 27-Jul-18 22:52:21

Definitely worth looking at Frensham Heights, it goes all the way through.

Norestformrz Sat 28-Jul-18 07:00:19


Norestformrz Sat 28-Jul-18 07:04:28


Mishappening Sat 28-Jul-18 09:03:47

And yes - the anti-vaccination pressure (to be fair, mainly from parents) is rife. I remember reading one Steiner tract that advocated that illness is good for a child, even if the child dies - hmmm - his soul will move on stronger to his next life.

I also went over to the school to hear a lecture once and he spoke of the "unexplained miracle" of how the stomach acid does not destroy the stomach - my OH, a doctor, was sitting there chuntering about how it is explainable.

It's wacky stuff for sure.

I like the Montessori idea of children working in a different class for different subjects - i.e. working at their own level. I understand that because it is general in the school it does not cause inferiority.

Somertime Sat 28-Jul-18 09:33:51

Forest schools can have a similar ethos to Steiner without the pseudo-religions wrappings. A nice rural village school could also do this.

parrotonmyshoulder Sat 28-Jul-18 09:36:41

Park School in Dartington and Sands in Ashburton. Would mean a move to Devon...

AspireAchieve Sat 28-Jul-18 11:20:25

North Yorkshire has some very small LA maintained schools - think 30 pupils ( Burnsall for instance ) and offers an idyllic school life with a strong family and community aspect.

catherinedevalois Sat 28-Jul-18 11:34:53

The right time for teaching children to read is based on when they lose their baby teeth. I was told this as a fact by a Steiner teacher. I had to check it wasn't April 1st

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