Steiner Schools: An Alternative to Education.

I have received the following letter from an parent who has recently withdrawn her child from a Steiner School. I thought it was worth sharing, and with permission, I do so.

I was very interested to read your article re Steiner schools and would like to thank you for highlighting these dreadful places.  I too will be writing to Michael Gove saying it is a disgrace that public money is being made available to fund these schools.

I have recently become a so-called  Steiner survivor.

Embarrassed to admit that as a well educated and worldly individual  I also fell for the ‘creative’ / tree hugging hype, desperate for some kind of alternative to the ‘processed peas’  ‘test’ culture of mainstream schools –  only to find out the true meaning of  Anthroposophy after my daughter had been at the school for a few terms.

Like most people, I had never heard of  Anthroposophy and certainly had no idea of the ‘wackery’ that supports it.  I only started to research into this when I got a letter saying my child would be required to ‘jump-over-the-fire’ at one of their festivals* that  I then found sites like yours and Waldorf Watch.

Deciding that I did not want my child at this type of school – It cost me over £1,500 to employ a private tutor to bring her up to a reasonable academic standard, and even after intensive ‘one-to-one’ tutoring she has been placed a year below her peers at mainstream school because she is so far behind.

Parents are being  fooled into believing these schools offer a real alternative to education and they are doing the right thing for their children by sending them there.

This weird and bizarre religion may (as they claim)  not be taught directly to the children, but it is certainly done by stealth –   it underpins absolutely everything that is said and done in these schools and parents are not told this.

I took my daughter out of the school a term before I was contractually obliged to, as I had  grave concerns over her emotional well-being (being reduced to tears by the teacher because she would not write the letter ‘M’ in the prescribed four-stroke Steiner way and also she was made to sit alone at the back of a class of 12 – the reason given was that it was the teacher’s class and he could do what he wanted) as well as worries over  her general health and safety.

I refused to pay the outstanding fees.  The school threatened me with Debt Collectors but after saying I wanted the matter to go before a Small Claims court so I could put on ‘public record’ the disgraceful nature of the school, they backed down.

It was a very, very bad experience and I hope other parents find your website before making the decision to send their child to one of these schools – I only wish I had.

Warm regards

 

I would like to thank the writer for sharing this with us. She tells me she feels fortunate because she did have the means to pay for some additional tutoring, and that had she been made aware of the real reasons behind  ‘wet-on-wet’ paintings, children not being allowed to use more than three colours of crayons, and not taught to  read until 9/10 years, she would never have considered Steiner education.

This parent managed to withdraw her child before it became too difficult. Her experience is not unique. I am also hearing from parents whose silence has been bought by waiving demands from the contractual notice fees that come with private education.

However, with Steiner Schools now entering the state-funded education system, stories like these may become more impossible to control. When they do, it is likely to create severe political difficulties. As I have said, Steiner Schools are a time bomb ticking under this, and future governments.

I am told, that the child written about above is now settled down in a mainstream state school. She tells her mum,  ‘I’m really happy to be learning stuff at last”.


* Fire jumping is a midsummer ‘St John’s day’ ritual practiced at many Steiner schools. Unkind thoughts are written on paper and thrown in the fire and then the children jump over the fire. You can see it written about in mystical terms on the North London Steiner School web site.

It does not always end well, with this child ending up hospitalised.

 

319 comments for “Steiner Schools: An Alternative to Education.

  1. Marilyn
    November 14, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    What a wasted opportunity! I have two grand-daughters (12 and 14) at a Steiner school and would find it difficult to recommend anywhere better. Education is NOT all about reading and writing and I believe their system of having a “Main Lesson” to which other subjects are linked is highly effective. The standards of art, music and drama are exceptionally high because much time is invested in these areas and the pupils’ awareness of social and cultural issues and their ability to think for themselves is impressive. Yes, there are certain celebrations which you would not find in a Sate school but these only serve to increase awareness of the fact that not everyone sees the world in the same way. They are not subversive or demonic and are based on Christianity. At NO time has there been any indoctrination.
    Relationships between parents and teachers are generally excellent as these schools attract parents who do not want their children to go through resricted curriculum of the State system, who are interested in the progress of their offspring and willing to interact with the staff on their account.
    Not all schools suit all pupils and I am sad that the writer felt he had to withdraw his child from a Steiner school; but let me stress that these schools work well for many children and ex-students are always welcomed by universities because of their ability to express themselves well and engage in debate.

    • MrFred
      November 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      Do you have any evidence to support the claim that ‘ex-students are always welcomed by universities’?

      • November 16, 2012 at 11:20 am

        To be fair, I think the original article is lacking in evidence. It is an extrapolation from one disgruntled parent. You could do the same hatchet job on any school or the whole of state education by picking out one bad example or quoting one disaffected parent.

        Andy Lewis also does not address the admittedly tricky question of whether value-free education is ever possible. Just because a set of values is minority does not make it wrong (truth is not decided by a vote).

        The point is not whether a minority view is taught but whether it is taught in a context of free enquiry.

        • Andy Lewis
          November 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm

          Agrippa – this post is one in a series where I go into much more detail about Steiner education. This letter is merely presented as consistent with the totality of my argument. Of course value free education is not possible. There are values that I believe should be very important in education children – such a commitment to the truth. Steiner education is a commitment to a fantasy world over and above education. It is anti-educational in its approach. Free enquiry is fine – but Steiner education is most definitely not free enquiry as it is based on esotericism and gnosticism. Beliefs are deliberately withheld. Beliefs remain unchallenged by evidence. And that is why such an educational approach should be utterly condemned.

          • November 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm

            I don’t know whether Steinerists are gnostics or not. You would also need to establish that gnosticism is opposed to free enquiry if the above argument is to hold water.

          • zoe
            March 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm

            hello,
            my name is Zoe, and I’m currently in a steiner school. From what I understand, you grudge with steiner schools began when your child was refused entery into such a school… perhaps you felt let down that your own child couldn’t be accepted into an open minded school? I believe your sunning on pride… and you don’t know how to stop as it would look stupid.
            I have been in steiner education since I was 3, I learnt to read at 9, as mentioned in the letter posted, and I think this was good for me. I still relied on my parents to tell me stories, thus developing my imagination… In mainlesson I learnt about all the ancient tales and myths, and as I grew older these stories came together, framing a whole different world of knowledge that is seldom tought in so much depth…
            When I was in middle school, two new students joined my class both from state schools, both traumatised from the bullying they had eperienced. One of the had Aspergers Syndome, and found it very hard to make friend. But, in steiner schools, the ‘tree huggers’ (you know what, when I heard e were labelled tree huggers, something I’d never done, I tried it out, and you know what you should try it out, it might sought out a few of your issues.)that we are were kind and supportive and after some time he learnt how to make friends. He is now a completely different person, he even has a long term girlfriend, when 3 years ago you couldn’t even hug him without him running away and hidding.
            I’m just sad that you are so stuck in yourself, it shows you clearly didn’t go to a steiner school
            I’m sorry if I appear rude but I am steiner and i love it. I also think there is so much more bullying, crime and accidents in state schools… so why focus so much of our time and energy on something that doesnt have anything to do with you

          • March 15, 2013 at 12:11 am

            Zoe. I am not sure where you go the idea from that my child was refused admission.

            Do you think it is possible, that being on the inside, you are being misled about the nature of your education and the realities of the external world?

          • zoe
            March 23, 2013 at 8:41 pm

            I don’t think I am being misled about my education, or about the ‘external’ world, I have a computer and a tv so i can see the news, i friends outside school who would probably tell me if i was living in another surreal world and update me. Steiner schools aren’t like boarding schools, one does have contact with the ‘outside’ world… And i cant even pronounce the word Anthroposophy let alone tell you what is about, we are not preached a philosophy… My steiner school has been wonderful, I just have a more varied education with creativity and individualness.

          • March 23, 2013 at 9:01 pm

            Zoe wrote:

            ‘And i cant even pronounce the word Anthroposophy let alone tell you what is about…’

            This is a bit sad. Not only are you in a school which is guided by anthroposophy — you have no idea what it is, and wouldn’t be able to identify its influence on the school. Because it is there. I think it would be much better if at least older kids were told a little bit about anthroposophy, and that they would be told enough to avoid going out in the world thinking (and even saying!) that it’s not so relevant.

            I was a waldorf (Steiner) school student too. And it’s true that back then — when I was a child and still in that school — I wouldn’t have been able to tell anyone anything much about anthroposophy. But that doesn’t mean anthroposophy didn’t influence the school. All it means is that I didn’t know much about how, when and why.

            Perhaps one day, some years on, you’ll decide to find out what anthroposophy is about and why it matters in Steiner schools!

          • Harry
            March 25, 2013 at 7:43 pm

            Hi my name is Harry, and from the little that I do know of anthroposophy, which yes is a bit new agey and tree huggerish (sorry making up adjectives as I go). I wont deny that, but you seem to think that we don’t use technology don’t watch TV, and live in a cult society, praying to pagan gods. Trust me definitely not the case.
            Personally I went to a steiner school in class 6/year7.
            Before this I lived in France where I was constantly bullied everyday. In my time in France I went to both a Public and Private school, the private being a catholic school. I was bullied at both!
            When I moved to England I was scared about what school I was going to go to, as I’d heard about state school bullies. When I had my interview at my school, I was a little apprehensive, being told to look down a telescope and say what I saw and only seeing patterns didn’t help. Then there’s Eurythmy, which I still think is odd, but to be perfectly honest, once you get used to the fact that there are movements that fit the zodiac signs you just go with the flow and just do it, to pass the time and get to the end of the lesson. In other words there are extremists that believe every word from the handbook , but as I’ve said those are the extremists. No one I know are so steiner that they believe whole heartedly that elementals exist. I see no harm in telling kids fairytales,that comprise of elemental beings and morals! From my experience those within the steiner education are extremely open. Where else can you stand infront of a class and say the reason why you did a project on gay rights for a politics Mainlesson, was because, you are gay, and not have to deal with homophobia, afterwards. My school has been so supportive. When I needed to take a few days off to be a part of a film project on gay youth, they told me to take the days off on authorised absence. To even suggest that Steiner schools are racist, homophobic or any kind of phobic is disggusting and a lie! Whether you have or not is not the point.
            Overall I am so happy with my education and yes it’s filled with metaphors and all the lesson themes interconnect according to the time of year, for example astronomy at Christmas.But I highly doubt I would be able to be proud of who I have become, with the schools help. It is the personal nature of the education that has allowed me to go from failing every maths test I ever did, to getting a C in foundation maths at GCSE oh and did I forget to mention that my school passed every english exam they took that year at GCSE, aka last year. Wish is unheard of in most state schools.

        • MrFred
          November 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm

          Agrippa – What you write is not relevant to my question. Marilyn made a claim. I would like to know the evidence on which this claim is based.

        • s-el
          April 4, 2013 at 2:57 am

          I went to a Steiner school and although I had to move to an area where there was no Steiner school. I was not kept back in fact the schools in the new area wanted to put me up a year but my mother wanted me to stay with children of my own age.
          When I went to University to successfully gain 2 degrees, in one of my courses there where a number of students from Steiner and Montessori schools that graduate with high honours. The above letter is a load of crap.
          Not all schools suit all students and that goes for Steiner schools as well. Some students need the confinement of a state school system

      • John Name
        November 25, 2012 at 1:39 pm

        @MrFred

        Very good point. I have taught a rigorous hardcore academic subject for several years in an established Russell Group university. Ex-Steiner students are not “always welcomed by universities”. On the contrary, the anti-scientific bias inherent in the Steiner model serves as a serious impediment to the progress of Steiner students into tertiary education.

        • Rudolf
          January 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm

          @John Name

          You have to disclose you evidence mr. science academic. Or do we just take your word for it?

          • John Name
            February 14, 2013 at 7:16 pm

            I’m just going on what undergrad admissions tutors told me; as well as the fact that, in all the years I have spent at the University in question, I have never met a University student with a Steiner background.

          • Rudolf
            February 15, 2013 at 9:07 am

            @John Name

            That you’ve “never met a steiner student in the academy”. Are you walking around asking people where they went to primary school? Not exactly an academic basis for an argument dear john. How many undergrad admissions tutors have you been speaking to about this engaging topic?

            Kind of laughable.

            Are you guys really interested in pedagogy or is this just some kind of circle jerk?

        • March 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm

          Hi John. I’ll warn my Steiner School graduate son about that. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blogsite, he’s currently in the third year of his aerospace engineering degree and doing extremely well. Shockingly, he didn’t learn to read or write until he was seven; bizarrely, he won a State-wide short story contest just a few years later.
          Presumably he can expect some delayed-reaction conditioning to set in at any moment. Should we also assume that he’ll suddenly abandon his disdain for religion and total ignorance of anthroposophy to begin howling at the moon at any moment? Thanks so much for the warning, Andy.
          Meanwhile I’m thankful for the fact that my son received a truly holistic education that allowed him to excel in music, science and the humanities. I will always remember his playing classical violin pieces in the class orchestra and singing in three-part harmonies with his Steiner friends, while his mates at the local state schools were shuffling about on the stage at the school concerts to the acccompaniment of cheap pop music CDs, many of them leaving school unable to construct a sentence, let alone identify one . Presumably they were getting the real education, eh Andy?

          • January 5, 2014 at 7:35 pm

            Indeed, Dave Richards. As a scientist myself and a parent of three children currently in Steiner school I chose this form of education because it kindles the same spark of imagination and creativity which are for me at the core of my own discipline.

            My ten year old has an inquisitive and uncontrolled mind and if he has doubts about scientific laws or political certainties or whatever received truths he encounters in life he will be more likely to engage with the world innovatively.

            I do not want my children to undergo an industrial education in order to fit into conventional institutions, I want them to be free people given their own inner authority, but if they choose to go to MIT i don’t see much in their current education that will prevent them – in fact I believe it would enhance their chances.

            I did not get anywhere in life by ingesting received wisdoms and passing exams, it was my relationships with other people, my open-mindedness and ability to show an interviewer that I can think around matters tirelessly, that helped me make my way in life. This is what the school is providing my children, their self-confidence is tangible.

            However, if my children ever show the need for the constraints of conventional schooling institutions then I will not hesitate to help them move there, but first I want them to have an opportunity to be open and empowered individuals.

      • Frida
        March 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm

        An ex-steiner pupil (graduated from a Steiner School) was admitted to Cambridge to study history, one look at her A-Level results and an amazing interview later. One term later Cambridge University wrote to my (steiner) school asking if we had any more such brilliant students as the one they had recieved. Other pupils that have graduated from a steiner school hvae also been admitted to RADA, Oxford and the Russel Group.

    • November 14, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      Marilyn: If I understand you correctly, you are defending the policy of not teaching children to read until they are 9/10 but it’s not clear on what grounds you are defending it. Nobody has said education is all about reading and writing. These are basic skills that many children can pick up before they even enter primary school. Why would any school deprive children of the opportunity to read for themselves?

      • Alan Henness
        November 14, 2012 at 11:12 pm

        Skepticat said:

        Why would any school deprive children of the opportunity to read for themselves?

        So they can’t find out the truth about the gnomes, obviously.

      • Marilyn
        November 15, 2012 at 6:50 pm

        Hi skepticat. No way am I suggesting deferring the “teaching” of reading till 9-10. Steiner starts primary education at age 7 which is quite early enough. It means that learning processes which a child may struggle to assimilate at 5 become a whole lot more acessible to them. (Check out results for primary schools in Finland, where all children start at 7) It is worth bearing in mind that parents who have adequately researched the schools they wish their offspring to attend(as opposed to those who are simply looking at a cheaper alternative in private education) are likely to have read regularly to their children and provided ample access to books from an early age. Many can read when they enter formal education and that’s wonderful.

        • Susan
          November 21, 2012 at 11:03 am

          As evidence of the benefits of waiting until children are aged seven to start direct and systematic teaching of reading, the anti-phonics lobbyists can be relied on to flag up Finland, where all children achieve literacy within weeks of starting formal school – aged seven. What they don’t say is that Finland has a completely transparent alphabet code, and most parents teach their children to read pre-school as it’s so easy to do. They also omit to mention Denmark where, as in Finland, the school starting age is seven, but it has an opaque alphabet code. Danish children ”experience difficulties in acquiring the logographic and alphabetic foundation processes which are comparable to those observed in English, although less extreme” (Seymour/Aro/Erskine) Additionally, they neglect to cite evidence from the Netherlands. Children in the Netherlands start formal school at the same age as British children (5yrs.old). Despite this ‘early’ start, they, along with the majority of European children, learn to read and write accurately within the first school year. ”Foundation literacy acquisition by non-English European groups is not affected by gender and is largely independent of variations in the ages at which children start formal schooling” (Seymour/Aro/Erskine p150)

          http://www.danielwillingham.com/1/post/2012/05/reading-instruction-across-countries.html
          Map of Europe showing % of errors in word reading at the end of first year of school, by country. 2003.

    • Deme
      May 1, 2013 at 11:36 pm

      I agree with you, my husband went to a Waldorf school and is now a postdoc at University of Washington. One of my dearest cousins who is like a sister to me, as well as a medical doctor at UCSF, went to a Waldorf school in San Francisco, CA and never experienced anything like this. We have never heard of the crazy and weird things that were in this letter- jumping over fire?! My husband says that at the Waldorf school he went to in San Diego, CA, they did not have any religious content since he was raised an atheist and that would not have been acceptable to his parents.
      Maybe in England the Waldorf schools are different or maybe they have changed in the past two decades, but as for our family, Waldorf schools have been a very positive experience without all the hokey hoopla of which has been mentioned.

      • May 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm

        “My husband says that at the Waldorf school he went to in San Diego, CA, they did not have any religious content since he was raised an atheist and that would not have been acceptable to his parents.”

        There are two Waldorf schools in San Diego… which one did he attend? I visited one of them and your comment doesn’t match that one.

        • Deme
          May 2, 2013 at 10:03 pm

          Hi Pete,

          He went to the one between the 15 and 94, off of El Cajon Blvd. He does not believe the North County school had opened yet, but that was in the late 80s/early 90s that he attended.

          Did you visit the school recently or was it around the time that he attended? As far as he knows, there were celebrations, just like at any other school, but nothing about jumping over fire or anything of that sort. These horror stories are new to both of us and my cousin. They did not experience these horrific things and I do not think that our families would have allowed their children to attend such freakish places. We are all shocked by these stories. It sounds like these schools have really changed since we were kids.

          Deme

          • May 3, 2013 at 2:12 pm

            I’m not sure which one that is – I don’t know San Diego that well. The one I attended was in a residential neighborhood – a long, skinny lot with a lot of dirt and play structures in the back. I visited in the 90′s.

            It’s obviously not the one your husband went to because there were a lot of religious trappings in the classrooms – I’m sure he would have noticed. Jumping over fire is not something common to Waldorf schools, in my experience… but there certainly was an advent spiral at your husband’s school… where all the children light candles (set in apples) and walk the spiral. It seemed to me like every year, some child’s long dress would come dangerously close to the candle flames… but I digress.

            Was your husband fond of Eurythmy? Just curious. I’m sure they didn’t explain that it was a spiritual exercise – but no harm, no foul. He didn’t find that Eurythmy stuff strange?

            “It sounds like these schools have really changed since we were kids.”

            Naw… they’re the same… but YOU have changed. ;)

  2. Matt
    November 14, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I think these schools thrive on confusion in the popular imagination between their ideas and those of the Romantic philosopher Rousseau:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emile:_or,_On_Education.

    If you studied at a UK University and studied politics, literature or philosophy you would have encountered Rousseau’s ideas. If you studied anything at all, but still managed to engage in deep and earnest discussions in independent coffee shops you would have picked up at least a garbled version ( which is all I have ).

    Keeping the occult ideas secret maintains the confusion and is part of the reason why people like the parent bravely sharing their experience via your blog can be drawn in. Personally I’d be happy for these schools to be in the state sector if they could attract parents whilst being honest about their esoteric world view from the start.

    Could I suggest a couple of slogans:

    Other schools prepare your child for this life, we prepare your child for future incarnations!

    Say no to bullying, say yes to karmic retribution!

    You better believe it’s not Rousseau

    And my favourite, inspired by a tile outlet shop:

    Gnomes!
    Gnomes!
    Gnomes!
    Gnomes!
    Gnomes!

  3. November 15, 2012 at 2:00 am

    “Relationships between parents and teachers are generally excellent”

    No they aren’t… sorry. MOST of the complaints about these schools describe horrible relationships between parents and teachers/staff. Here, read a few of the reviews:

    http://thewaldorfreview.blogspot.com/search?q=administrative
    http://thewaldorfreview.blogspot.com/search?q=teacher
    http://thewaldorfreview.blogspot.com/search?q=communication

    “but let me stress that these schools work well for many children and ex-students are always welcomed by universities because of their ability to express themselves well and engage in debate.”

    I, too, would like some evidence of this. What percentage of Waldorf grads attend university?

    • A Giraffe
      March 26, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Well I know for a fact that every current A-level student at my school (a steiner school) is considering university and most have applied and had interviews. Of these most get in to their first or second choice of uni, it’s mainly money issues that stop them attending if it comes to that. My point is that you seem to believe most waldorf students don’t go to uni, which I can tell you here and now is bollocks.

  4. JimR.
    November 15, 2012 at 3:11 am

    QUERY: Do the UK private school students have to take standardized tests? If so what is the Steiner school pass rate for admission to college level?

    Separately, the drill of public schools helps absorb lots of information (data). This can be structured into a view of the society/science problem/etc. I cannot see how anyone can reason w/o facts. It is unpleasant to be forced to learn massive data downloads, but that is college.

    I have personal knowledge of home schooled children failing first year college in the US. They are not prepared for so much material being due by a deadline AND subsequent recall on tests.

    In a period of so much brain cell development there should be extensive encouragement of reading and language development. Does Anthroposophy encourage learning foreign languages?

    As romantic as Rousseau was he poisoned the future with his impractical dreams. One might as well embrace UFOs, Social Darwinism, alt-med (quack-quack), or any other dream desire for self or society.

    My last supposition is that the Waldorf schools may provide superior training for clerks at stores with food to take away. The US version of that joke is, “Do you want fries with that?”

    • Marilyn
      November 15, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      The exam results from my grand-daughters’ school for 2012 are as follows:-

      at GCSE level 50% of students got A*-A, 94% got 5 passes at A*-C

      A2 level: 57.5% got A* or A grades (National average 26.6%)

      AS level: 47% got A grades, 84% got A-C grades

      Not bad for a non-selective school. Bet the gnomes are proud!

      • November 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm

        Marilyn: without wishing to appear pedantic, what were the number of pupils taking those exams? Unfortunately, the percentages aren’t that meaningful without this figure. The smaller the population, the less meaningful the percentage.

        The only UK Steiner school with a sizeable 6th form, for example, is Kings Langley with 101 post-16 pupils in 2011, according to the SIS report. Yet http://www.hemeltoday.co.uk/news/local/rudolf-steiner-school-celebrates-above-national-average-a-level-results-1-4170233 say that only 20 of those sat A-levels?

        • zoe
          March 26, 2013 at 7:02 pm

          THis is Michael Hall Upper School results for A levels 2012:
          54% of our students achieved A*-A grades in their examinations with a 100% pass rate overall.
          Many of the Class 12 students have achieved the level required either for university entrance, foundation art courses, college and work/ training. Students are taking up places in a variety of universities (including Cambridge, York and Bath) and are studying a variety of subjects including architecture, history, psychology and performing writing and directing. Others are taking gap years to improve their language skills and general cultural appreciation before taking up deferred places at University. We wish them well in their further endeavours and look forward to seeing them at future events at Michael Hall
          one boy got 4 passes at A grade with one A*; another is off to Cambridge with her three A grades including two at A*. The art results were outstanding with 100% of the students achieving A grades with 4 of those being A*. German also deserves a special mention as out of 8 pupils 4 achieved A* grades and 2 grade A’s.

          • zoe
            March 26, 2013 at 7:09 pm

            This is the GCSE results 2012: With 41 students sitting a total of 247 exams, 93.5% of exams were graded at C or above (where the national average this year is 69.4%). 82.9% of students gained 5 GCSEs including Maths and English. The Ebacc statistics for Michael Hall of 69.3%, which includes Maths, English, Science (in our case IGCSE), a language and humanity, were incredible – this is an improvement of 12% points from 2011. An impressive 47.8% of the results were A or A* grades against a national average of 22.4%.
            Maths and IGCSE Double Science results, where the percentage of students gaining a grade C or above was 97.5% and 97% respectively. The double science award taken at Michael Hall is an IGCSE which is a considerably more demanding course. This did not deter students of whom 34 out of 35 achieved A*-C.
            A strength of the school has always been arts and humanities and with 19 A and A* grades (out of 30 students) for Art , 28 A*-B grades in English (out of 41) and 11 A*-B students in history (out of 16).

          • A Giraffe
            March 26, 2013 at 7:18 pm

            Thank you for posting this Zoe, to me this seems like a fair proof that not only are steiner schools level with other schools, but in some cases even superior in terms of marks. Not only that, but they stand a better chance of being accepted at their university of choice because they have an impressively wide range of skills and experiences to back up their impressive grades.

          • March 26, 2013 at 9:37 pm

            Zoe, I’m grateful for the information on exam results at Michael Hall. It’s not my intention and I don’t think anybody here would want to belittle the achievements of individual students nor the skill of individual teachers.

            It’s worth understanding the overall results in a little more detail though.

            As with Marilyn’s figures, the A level results don’t include the number of students taking exams, which is crucial to understanding what the percentages represent. The 2012 School Inspection Service report for Michael Hall says that there were 44 post-16 students. As with Kings Langley, I’m not sure we can assume that all 44 took the exams.

            The GCSE results for A*-C are on a par with other independent schools, where the average was 94% in 2012. The national average for A or A* among independent schools was 60%, against which 47.8% for Michael Hall is not so impressive. See my comment on GCSE results in the Bristol thread for the reference with these figures. It is misleading to compare the results of a private fee paying school with the national average for schools of all types. Parental involvement and support is a significant factor in a students success and this is generally higher in private schools.

          • Andy Lewis
            March 27, 2013 at 8:44 am

            Given that one issue with Steiner Schools is the high turnover, the sort of analysis I would be interested in is not the results of those in the Sixth Form but of an ‘intention to teach’ analysis – those that complete a Steiner education and what results they get. Drop outs would be taken into account here.

          • A Giraffe
            March 26, 2013 at 9:41 pm

            I can confirm all 44 took exams, people aren’t pulled out because they are doing badly or anything like that.

  5. November 15, 2012 at 7:53 am

    JimR: roughly half the Steiner schools in the UK educate to age 16 when the standardized tests known as GCSEs are taken. A further two years of study – for A levels – are required for university entrance. Only a small number of the older, more established UK Steiner schools offer a range of GCSEs and A levels comparable to any other private school.

    I don’t know of any statistics on entrance of UK Steiner pupils to university, however you might be interested to read this analysis of a similar study in Australia that was referenced by the Bristol Steiner school: http://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/bill-woods-research-and-bristol-steiner-free-school/

  6. Matt
    November 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I made my point very badly.

    Steiner education is an occult ceremony in itself, and has metaphysical goals beyond the interests of the pupil or the adult they will become. The manner of some of the practises bear a passing resemblance to romantic ideas, and that enables them to recruit the children of romantically inclined parents to become unwitting acolytes in their modern sorcery. The general rejection of romantic notions by the modern establishment primes this parent to defend Steiner without really looking clearly at what’s really going on; that the romantic forest glade is populated by fascist gnomes.

    The purpose of the education does matter; parents that want a romantic education might still baulk at an education that forms a façade for some grand occult purpose, however good the outcomes might be. It also explains why protestations of Steiner tolerance should not be compelling; the priest does not care what the sacrificial goat believes, and that doesn’t mean things will end well for the goat. I think it also explains a pattern in parents’ falling out with the schools, none cares what you do, until you threaten to disrupt the magic, only then do you become a threat, and have to be forced out.

  7. November 15, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    It is really very hard to have much sympathy for the misguided parents who do their children the disservice of sending them to crackpot institutions like the Steiner Schools. On the other hand, the poor children are deserving of the utmost sympathy.

    Surely it behoves a responsible parent to do a little basic research about a school before sending a child and forking over good money to do so.

    The world is full of scheming crackpots who dream up bizarre philosophies and then induce suckers to buy in and support them and fatten their purses.

    Parents, who have a duty to their children, should be especially cautious.

    David Amies

    • Andy Lewis
      November 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      David, I think that your harshness would be fair if it was straightforward to make an assessment. When schools appear to be keen to misdirect and mislead, then blame must shift closer to the schools.

      • Marilyn
        November 16, 2012 at 5:06 pm

        “When schools appear to be keen to misdirect and mislead, then blame must shift closer to the schools.”

        But are they? If your children attend a Catholic School, it does not automatically follow that they will be good Catholics. Similarly, children who attend Steiner schools will not automatically, through some bizarre notion of osmosis, become anthroposophists.

        • S
          November 16, 2012 at 5:38 pm

          “Similarly, children who attend Steiner schools will not automatically, through some bizarre notion of osmosis, become anthroposophists.”

          I disagree, osmosis is exactly how the movement turn some children (and parents) towards Anthroposophy.

          • S
            November 16, 2012 at 7:08 pm

            Steiner schools teach Anthroposophy directly to the children, they do so by not disclosing that the main body of the Steiner curriculum is anthroposophical doctrine.

            Parents also have to sign an agreement with the school, for example Hereford Steiner Academy’s Home-School Agreement stipulates parents must sign the following –

            As a parent(s) or guardian(s), I/we undertake to support the Academy and my child in her/his education through

            ● Taking an active interest in what my/our child is doing in the Academy

            ● Ensuring that he/she attends regularly, on time, following the dress code, and is properly prepared for the day

            ● Making the Academy aware, through the kindergarten/class teacher/guardian, of circumstances that might affect work and behaviour, and also of the reason for any absence

            ● Upholding the education, teachers and Academy (please ask if you have any concerns)

            ● Attending parents’ evenings and discussions about his/her progress

            ● Reading the Parents’ Handbook, school newsletters, pupil reports and other information sent out by the Academy

            ● Supporting the Academy in its aims and helping in fund-raising activities, cleaning, workdays and so on

            ● Enabling my child to see the School Doctor at the Academy’s request and taking my child to any therapy sessions or special needs assessment required by the Academy. I understand this is necessary to support my child accessing the education and the teachers’ ability to meet his/her needs.

            ● Protecting my/our child from unsuitable and unwarranted access to some of the concerns and worries of the adult world and from unmonitored exposure and un-mediated access to media such as television and DVD, computer games, internet chat-rooms and so on. Medical research shows that screen-based activity such as TV, videos, films and computer games can have a negative effect on children (brain activity, concentration, heart-beat, emotional balance and well-being). The younger the child, the greater the effect. For the well-being of your child and their ability to access the education and programme of teaching and learning, please allow no regular screen-based activity/watching for under 8s, no more than 3 hours a week for 9 to 14s and moderate and selective use for young people aged 15 and over. Please try to make sure TVs and computers are not kept in your child’s room so that his/her bedroom is free to be a place of rest and comfort. (Further reading ‘Remote Controlled’ by Dr Aric Sigman & ‘Toxic Childhood’ by Sue Palmer, amongst others)

            ● Communicating effectively and reasonably with members of staff as appropriate (Reminder: please do not take the teacher’s time before the school day starts as preparing for the day and receiving the pupils must be the teacher’s focus at this time.)

            I/we have read and agree to abide by and support the Academy’s policies on behaviour and discipline.

            I am/we are also aware of the Academy’s views on child development and will endeavour to support this through suitable rhythms and nourishment at home.

            Signature ……………………………… Name ……………..……………….

            What new parent signing the above agreement could fully comprehend what “upholding the education” actually means? In addition, to be “aware of the Academy’s views on child development” is a far cry from the parent being fully informed about the Academy’s views on child development. If the school was to offer genuine informed consent before enrolment, not after, parents would run a mile.

          • Marilyn
            November 16, 2012 at 10:09 pm

            A document the likes of which could be found in any school in the country.

        • Matt
          November 16, 2012 at 7:33 pm

          What S said is important.

          Also, the complaint isn’t so much that the schools are trying to produce card carrying Anthroposophists, but to condition the souls of the pupils in line with Anthroposophical principles. It isn’t the same thing as indoctrination, but I think it’s much more creepy.

          Perhaps they’re happy if a few join the cult later, but that doesn’t seem to be the main point.

          • Melanie Byng
            November 16, 2012 at 11:16 pm

            Marilyn – I hardly think so.

            ‘Enabling my child to see the School Doctor at the Academy’s request and taking my child to any therapy sessions or special needs assessment required by the Academy. I understand this is necessary to support my child accessing the education and the teachers’ ability to meet his/her needs.’

            What kind of school asks your child to see a doctor at its request, especially an anthroposophical doctor? Think about what this means.

      • November 17, 2012 at 11:21 am

        “Trusting your children to dishonest people is never a good idea. ”

        The problem for me, and I imagine for many other parents, is that Steiner dishonesty is so pervasive that one can easily be duped into thinking one isn’t being duped at all. It all looks so quaint and well-meaning, that it takes a certain spirit of enquiry and sense of parental responsibility to see through this morass of deceit.

        And let’s face it, a large number of parents just happily hand their children over to whatever educational hell-hole they can without a second thought. The problem of deceit and lack of parental responsibility isn’t restricted to Steiner schools. I don’t doubt that most states schools lie hugely one way or another, whether it be with fixing GCSE results or sending disruptive pupils home on the day of inspection. Our local secondary is a case in point. It has an outstanding rating with Ofsted, yet every time I’ve been there, or heard any stories about it, it seems like the seventh circle of hell, with children running round with blood all over their faces.

        Not the best place in the world to learn to manage oneself in a profitable way. It isn’t just Steiner that needs overhauling…in my view, it’s the whole way we school the next generation.

    • John Name
      January 12, 2013 at 9:47 am

      Quite right David. Well said.

    • Johanna
      March 25, 2013 at 10:42 pm

      Mislead? Do some real research, i.e. ACTUALLY come and see for yourself,talk to students currently at the schools, you might learn something. Yes perhaps some people have had bad experiences with Steiner schools,and yes, no school is perfect, but then everyone is different and Steiner education is not neccesarely for everyone. But, having said that,it is also an option to look at some of the positives of these schools Like the range of creativity offered.(basketwork, pottery, silverwork are just a few) There are many positive aspects this reflects in the well-rounded and positive outlooks that many Steiner students have. Make your own first hand conclusions and don’t simply believe what is fed to you by people who see threats in everything Steiner. Nothing is one dimensional. Don’t be a sheep.

      • zoe
        March 26, 2013 at 6:22 pm

        well said!

      • A Giraffe
        March 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm

        Indeed! and not only do steiner students learn all these interesting crafts and artistic skills that most people would never have a chance to try in their lives, they also pass exams at a very competitive standard above many other schools. If the students are coming out of waldorf education as well qualified, open minded individuals with very broad skill sets, how is that possibly a bad thing!

        • Elizabeth
          March 26, 2013 at 6:56 pm

          exactly

      • Andy Lewis
        March 26, 2013 at 7:02 pm

        Johanna

        I have spoken to many people who are teachers, students, parents both current and past thank you. My concerns are not from ignorance but from experience.

        And much of that experience is not so uncritical as your own. Indeed, much of it is insightful into the nature of a Steiner education and concerned about its narrowness, lack of awareness, and dishonesty.

        • A Giraffe
          March 26, 2013 at 7:13 pm

          Ridiculous, if you had any legitimate experience of steiner schools you would never associate them with a word like “narrowness”, what other school teaches mythology and philosophy of so many different cultures without imposing a single one of them on it’s students? If anything, steiner students and teachers are among the most open minded demographic since they have such a wide variety of knowledge about different areas and are brought up with the attitude of accepting and understanding other people’s point of view before coming to unbalanced conclusions, as you are so proficient at doing.

        • zoe
          March 26, 2013 at 7:15 pm

          I’m, please explain how steiner schools are dishonest,and how is it narrow minded, if you know so much?

        • Harry
          March 26, 2013 at 8:13 pm

          We are taught what the schools basis is in the final year of our education at the school, admitedly I agree that it would be better to teach the student’s earlier about it’s basis. However yet again you assume we don’t have our own minds and our own resources. I know full well of it’s ideas of a childs development and reincarnation. More often than not me and my classmates simply role their eyes at this, the truth is we don’t care by the time we’re in higher education. We’ve formed our own opinions on reincarnationm spirituality and religion as a whole. for the second time I tell you that there is no DISHONESTY!Oh and Eurythmy is all about spacial awareness, coordination and balance, not just hippies swaying there arms around, whilst high.

          • Harry
            March 26, 2013 at 8:15 pm

            Sorry for any grammatical errors

          • Andy Lewis
            March 26, 2013 at 8:36 pm

            Oh Harry. Are you saying the schools do teach you anthroposophy? That would be in direct contradiction to what schools say they do.

          • Frida
            March 26, 2013 at 9:18 pm

            No, the school does NOT teach us anthroposophy! Harry means that in class 12 we find out why we learned to play the recorders so young (yes, we learn how to play a musical intsrument at the age of seven), and why we garden (in class 8 the pupils design their own one) and yes, even why we do eurythmy! It is an interesting main lesson, but by then, most of us know why we do all this already. The latter, as Harry mentions, for spatial awareness and balance, like any other dance form teaches you how to do!

          • Harry
            March 26, 2013 at 9:19 pm

            Certain elemments PLEASE NOTE CERTAIN!elements of anthroposophy are in the background yes. No teacher at my school would deny that. HOWEVER, they use it on a more practical basis, like for instance the literacy thing that your so hung up on. Yes in the background there is the steiner belief of a child coming in to it’s body etc..etc, there is also the logical reasoning of it being better for the child to develop at a slower rate, to quote some other commentors, “than being shoved in front of a desk and being tested at the age of four.” May I also remind you yet again FIFTH time that in higher education we are have our own views on this, which (again) are positively encouraged. The racist attitude to Reincarnation that you have outlined in your previous articles is none existent in Steiner Schools. Equally may I remind you that as a gay student I have received no quotes, thrown in my direction, from Leviticus, the bible or any other religious text saying that I will burn in hell.

          • Andy Lewis
            March 27, 2013 at 8:58 am

            Harry – Anthroposophy is everywhere in your school. That you do not see it, is because it is not revealed to you.

          • Harry
            March 26, 2013 at 9:24 pm

            And by background I mean so barely noticeable that it has no affect on the student’s whatsoever!

          • March 26, 2013 at 9:35 pm

            Harry, I was interested to read in the latest Michael Hall Upper School newsletter about the main lesson at the end of class 12 where you get to hear “what Steiner education is and how and why it’s taught”. I agree with you that it’s a shame they don’t do this sooner. You know what’s worse? In my experience, they don’t tell the parents *anything* about this. It comes as a bit of shock to those of us of a more rational, materialist disposition when we do find out. :-)

            People here might be interested in this thesis where students talk about their experience of Steiner education: http://gradworks.umi.com/3474344.pdf
            See especially from page 182 where they talk about their awareness of Anthroposophy. In the words of one student it is something they live with, “shaping their experience without them…being told this is why”.

            Also: “One consequence of the practice of not bringing the philosophy directly to
            students was that they experienced a slight air of secrecy or of information being
            deliberately withheld.”

            It doesn’t have to be like that.

          • Harry
            March 26, 2013 at 9:46 pm

            For once I whole heartedly agree!:)

          • Harry
            March 26, 2013 at 10:58 pm

            Mark H as have recently told Andy Lewis there’s a downloadable page, from the website, which is available if you click on Why Michael Hall then click on Ethos, there’s a whole load of text on the spirituality of a seiner curriculum and it’s background, I hope you find this useful. Andy if your still reading my comments, it also gives the logical points aswell, interesting read.

          • Andy Lewis
            March 27, 2013 at 8:40 am

            Ooh – we have some contradictions. A pupil says yes – someone else very keen to deny this.

        • Johanna
          March 26, 2013 at 9:45 pm

          Andy, excuse me but your concerns are from ignorance. in your examples of ‘Seiner survivors’ you have not once included a positive account from one of these ‘survivors’. If you have actually had any experience than you would see that far less Steiner school students and parents past and current hold such negative views as you perceive. which is why you might consider visting a Steiner school and stop behaving in such a condescending way.

          • A Giraffe
            March 26, 2013 at 9:57 pm

            Exactly, your sources the comparatively small group who didn’t find steiner education worked for them or didn’t agree with it. It would be very easy for me to find people willing to explain why main stream education is awful, but again that wouldn’t be a fair or representative view because many others think main stream education is excellent. Basically your sources are very unbalanced.

          • Frida
            March 26, 2013 at 11:11 pm

            Andy Lewis, why don’t you visit a school? Talk to the pupils, hear what they have to say, maybe even enter into a debate with them? Then, if you can still say that steiner education is an “Alternative to Education” you will be seriously doubted, even by your supporters! You have not ONCE given us steiner students a reason to think that you can listen to a person who has different views to you. We have listened to you, now come visit a school with a sizeable upper-school and talk to us! Come on, we dare you :)

          • Andy Lewis
            March 27, 2013 at 8:37 am

            I have done many times over the last few months thankyou. It has been confirmed to me through these conversations that Anthroposophy is still alive and well in the schools, and as such, the children are part of an anti-educational occult movement – which is largely hidden from them and their parents.

          • Andy Lewis
            March 27, 2013 at 8:42 am

            I am quite happy that many parents are content with their choice of Steiner School. I believe they are misguided, that is all. What I am concerned about are the parents who feel deceived. That is, they find out that the school is not what was sold to them. It is not ‘holistic’ and ‘child centric’ but practising the very bizarre educational ideas of a clairvoyant who set up an esoteric crypto-religion.

          • Frida
            March 27, 2013 at 11:10 pm

            Those parents then should have done more research, and not believed, whole-heartedly, what biased material is written on your blog. I am happy to let you carry on believing what you believe. But preaching it to other people is not exactly right, is it…? You are doing what you ACCUSE Steiner teachers of doing, preaching to the students, and yet you preach to the masses that Steiner is bad…

          • Andy Lewis
            March 27, 2013 at 11:37 pm

            Frida, your levels of misunderstanding are manifold.

            I am biased. I am biased towards reality, truth and openness. That is why I write what I write.

            I do not ‘preach’. I merely point out what Steiner himself said. Others can then come to their own conclusions about that.

            I do not focus on saying Steiner was bad, but that modern Steiner Schools are bad for not being transparent in what they believe and do.

          • A Giraffe
            March 28, 2013 at 12:08 am

            Actually you have very explicitly stated several times that Steiner was “bad”, unless you don’t count racism and all the other things he seems to be associated with on here as bad of course. We on the other hand are saying more or less the opposite; whatever Steiner’s beliefs (evil, occult, racist, karmic or otherwise) are irrelevant, modern Steiner education is a very good system, and this is the point we are currently trying to debate if I’m not very much mistaken. That said, before challenging our view perhaps you could review the numerous other comments we have made on this topic (Frida, Elizabeth, Zoe, Johannah, Stephen dorgan and myself especially) so as to avoid having to repeat ourselves.

          • Andy Lewis
            March 28, 2013 at 8:43 am

            What is a ‘Modern Steiner education’?

            Where can I see what that now comprises and how it differs from ‘Original Steiner education’?

            This question has now been asked several times now in several ways. What does it mean to a Steiner School when Steiner is removed (as is implied here that he has.)

          • Frida
            March 28, 2013 at 2:38 pm

            So are yours… You do not see that though Steiner may have some, now, old fashioned views, MODERN steiner schools teach students things they need for later life, like other schools do to.
            Parents I don’t think are being misled by all Steiner schools, and if they are, it is not the fault of the Steiner School system as a whole.
            And you do say Steiner is “bad” as A Giraffe pointed out.
            Steiner has had some radicle views on theings, and has written about these views, but they do not affect our education at all.
            The modern Steiner School teaches us pupils things we need, and we do exams like main-stream schools, besides that we are involved in many artistic elements such as music and crafts. Why do you continue to penalise us for being who we are? A different schooling system! We may learn to read later, but why is that bad? We learn a lot about different cultures, why is that “bad?” And we turn into mature adults that are comfortable in society. We learn like everyone else, just differently.
            Our schooling system carries the name of a man who formed the first “Waldorf/Steiner” School, yet, since then it has evolved into what it is today, a school that is beneficial to it’s students in forming an environment where they can learn.

          • Harry
            March 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm

            Don’t expect any further information from me as this covers all the bases, well done Frida!

          • March 29, 2013 at 12:22 am

            Can you explain what the difference is between a MODERN Steienr School and an original Steiner School?

          • Frida
            March 29, 2013 at 12:57 am

            As I was not even born when there were “original” Steiner schools around, as you say, i cannot provide first hand experience, like you cannot provide first-hand experience of what it is like learning at a steiner school. For one thing, modern steiner schools do exams that are recognised internationally. Also we are able and allowed to use computers in the middle school (about age 13 and upwards), though this is only in school, computers at home are at the parents providence. Otherwise we learn normally. Of course the system has evolved over the years to accomadate the changes in history and technology, as well as science.

          • A Giraffe
            March 29, 2013 at 1:00 am

            *Steiner

            No, I didn’t attend an “original” Steiner school, but judging by your description of Steiner’s beliefs, “modern” schools are far removed from those ideas (presuming they are true of course) since there is no trace of, for instance, racism at school.

          • March 29, 2013 at 10:17 am

            The sort of racism I describe is unlikely to be readily detectable – especially by pupils.

    • Johanna
      March 25, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      apologies for the double posting.

  8. November 16, 2012 at 2:56 am

    It struck me that the degree of dishonest dealing is at least one thing about Steiner schools that is indefensible. There is the profound irrationality too of course.

    We investigated Steiner schooling for my son when it transpired (for some as then yet unknown reason) that a normal class-room situation would not suit him. We weren’t told anything about the underlying philosophy, and instead were (briefly as we left pdq) expected to conform to a series of seemingly bizarre, inexplicable rules, such as being required not to listen to music in the car on the journey home…though listening to music actually turned out to be great therapy for my son’s original problem of auditory processing delay.

    We also soon realised that if we questioned anything, or did anything outside these very strange, apparently inviolable constraints, that we would not be welcome in the establishment.

    Thankfully, given all you say above and elsewhere, they asked us to leave, which we did without regret.

    We home educated from that point on. Actually both my children did master reading at about the age of 10, when they went from virtual non-readers to adult level readers within the space of a couple of months. Unlike Steiner, however, they weren’t prevented from acquiring literacy skills prior to a certain age. We simply did it when they seemed ready.

    The subsequent success they have with reading and writing suggests to me that there are as many ways to literacy as there are children, and it is just a shame that acting on this fact has so far proved quite impossible, given the class room situation in all schools everywhere.

  9. November 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    “It struck me that the degree of dishonest dealing is at least one thing about Steiner schools that is indefensible.”

    Trusting your children to dishonest people is never a good idea. The dishonesty of Waldorf people should be the bottom line for EVERY parent. Literally nothing else matters.

  10. November 17, 2012 at 1:53 am

    “A document the likes of which could be found in any school in the country.”

    Sounds like someone’s been indoctrinated… Who told you this?

    • Marilyn
      November 18, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      I’m an ex-teacher. Non-Steiner

      • November 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm

        #Marilyn – you may have been non-Steiner, but your defence makes it sound like you would love to have been. And having been a teacher doesn’t actually give you a debate winning edge.

        I recollect some daft (but sweet) hippy I used to know boasting about her children going to some Steiner school in Totnes (I think). She went on an on about how they hadn’t even started reading yet, but were spending all their time expressing themselves in drama and painting – although they were ages 10 and 7. Even back then, when I was a scrapman with just a few O’levels to my name, the alarm bells rang pretty loudly. The kinds of things Steiner teach may make for happy kids, but I dout it makes for well-adjusted and happy adults. Just more hippies.

        No offence to hippies.

        • A Giraffe
          March 26, 2013 at 6:52 pm

          “but I dout it makes for well-adjusted and happy adults. Just more hippies.”

          Sounds like lots of offence to hippies actually implying they are not happy or welL adjusted. the truth is the vast majority of steiner students are very happy indeed, especially the ones who have come from other schools who say that they far prefer the steiner curriculum. I say this as a steiner student, so please don’t question my sources; it is first hand observation.

          • Frida
            March 26, 2013 at 11:13 pm

            By the way, what is wrong with “hippies?” In my opinion they were a lot more modern than some people were in realising the benefits of the steiner education.

  11. JimR
    November 19, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I wonder who starts a Waldorf school. I was looking at US stats and there are over 125 Waldorf or similar schools scattered around the states. There is also a Steiner college in San Francisco.

    I presume the Steiner college graduates are paired somehow with someone of means and another school is started. It lacks the trappings of a cult religion. I haven’t seen the church or national organization structure typical of cults. It does have the exclusion mentality, conform or leave. It makes me believe we have missed seeing national or international organizations that have significant assets and that promote Steiner.

  12. November 19, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    “I wonder who starts a Waldorf school.”

    I helped start one many years ago. It’s usually parents who want Waldorf for their kids – and they usually start as a play group or toddler group and work up from there. As they grow, they need a teacher, and so they hire a Waldorf teacher and before you can say “no accountability” a new “Waldorf school” is born.

    • Matt
      November 19, 2012 at 8:20 pm

      I find that really interesting.

      What are the reasons given by the “parents who want Waldorf” for wanting it in the first place?

      • November 20, 2012 at 3:22 am

        “What are the reasons given by the “parents who want Waldorf” for wanting it in the first place?”

        Well, the truth is, most of the time they only *think* they want Waldorf. They want what Waldorf presents itself as… not what it *really* is… you know… then natural materials and toys, the soft, motherly kindergarten teacher, children sitting around making stone soup… that kind of stuff… kind of “new age-like”. Unless there’s an Anthroposophist involved from the school’s inception, nobody starting the school will have a clue what they’re in for. In my case, we had three Anthroposophists starting the school (I was married to one of them). We hired a *seasoned* Waldorf teacher who ended up being abusive to the children. We fired her immediately and hired a relatively *new* teacher and had better results. We had a total of about 8 kids and all the parents were on the board, so we had a lot of control over the situation… but that’s pretty rare.

        • A Giraffe
          March 26, 2013 at 6:47 pm

          So if the people who start the school know exactly what they want and create exactly that, when does the evil “real waldorf” leak in? it seems like a fairly ridiculous notion that just because something uses the name “Steiner” it will inevitably turn out as some kind of evil entity.

          • April 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm

            “So if the people who start the school know exactly what they want and create exactly that, when does the evil “real waldorf” leak in?”

            Well, you have to get teachers somewhere. Those are “Waldorf trained” – and therefore indoctrinated into Waldorf nonsense. Our initial abusive seasoned Waldorf teacher should have been a big clue.

  13. November 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    The last link in the article says a LOT about how Steiner schools treat “problem” parents (parents who don’t put the school’s best interests above their own children’s). From the linked article about the child who was burned badly at negligence of his teacher:

    The teacher from Rudolf-Steiner school in Vienna, Austria, reportedly encouraged Jakob to leap over a fire leaving him so badly burnt that he had to have both his feet operated on. Heute have reported that the boy was eventually taken to hospital not by the teacher but by a farmer.


    The teacher from Rudolf-Steiner school in Vienna, Austria, reportedly encouraged Jakob to leap over a fire leaving him so badly burnt that he had to have both his feet operated on. Heute have reported that the boy was eventually taken to hospital not by the teacher but by a farmer.

    “After the mother made an official complaint the boy was supposedly asked to leave the school. “I received an email saying that Jakob should not appear in class due to his problematic behaviour,” said the boy’s mother.”

    Do these people belong around children? Really?

  14. November 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    The Beeb has just done a critical piece on Steiner schools…broadcast on 19.11.12

    • Hollywood Tomfortas
      November 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      Hi Carlotta,

      The video is private, which means it can be watched on YouTube, but only if you supply the password.

      Please supply it soon because I’m already in love with Daisy over her bi-chromatic hair. She and I might have karma together, you know, and there’s nothing more painful than unrequited karma, especially on YouTube.

      Tom (Pining Away)

      • November 22, 2012 at 6:36 pm

        Hi Tom,

        Bother – I think it’s been taken down. I can’t access it either now.

        It featured a level-headed someone from the British Humanist Association and a journalist who wouldn’t let the Steiner headmaster off the hook in what seemed like an unusually intolerant approach from the Beeb.

        But you can rest easy – Daisy came off lightly, since she said that even though she was teaching Steiner stuff, she couldn’t buy into all of his views. As some of these that were featured included dancing fire gnomes, reincarnation and appalling racism, one can only breathe a huge sigh of relief for Daisy.

    • Hollywood Tomfortas
      November 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm

      My bi-chromatic crush notwithstanding, I believe this is the same Daisy from the U. of Plymouth who clashed with Alicia early this year at the Ethereal Kiosk.

      Well worth slogging through the article and 84 comments, many by Daisy herself.

      http://zooey.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/steiner-waldorf-teacher-training-and-the-university-of-plymouth/

  15. Ted Wrinch
    November 22, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Hey, how come my comments get ‘moderated’ and Tom’s don’t? Oh, I see – the ‘rational’ approach to censorship :). Perhaps it a ‘great boon to weak minds’?

    • Andy Lewis
      November 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      Ted – I have moderation rules intended to catch spam and other issues early. There will be plenty of false positives – the filters have to deal with hundreds and thousands of spam attacks per week.

  16. Ted Wrinch
    November 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I see. I suspected as much: my mini-conspiracy theory had already been overthrown when my short post ‘randomly’ leapfrogged my longer post, that was being held in moderation. Nevertheless, that longer post appears to still be in moderation – perhaps the rules could do with some tuning?

  17. Maija
    November 27, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Full disclosure: I attended a Waldorf school in the US from nursery thru grade 12. I was accepted into several colleges and universities, ultimately completing a BA at Boston University. I have worked in retail, insurance, and (am currently in) the visual arts. I am a well-read, science-literate atheist.

    I have been gritting my teeth at this comment thread. I take offense at the generalization that all parents who enroll their kids in a Waldorf school, regardless of the quality of any specific school, as quality of education varies amongst all types of schools, are mindless idiots and their children will be turned into such. The school I attended followed state guidelines for curriculum standards (as do Finnish Waldorf schools, btw) and supplied an enriched and supportive learning environment without needless testing.

    Yes, eurythmy is mostly pointless and freakin’ boring, but like other forms of dance and movement it helps develop coordination and balance. Yes, gnomes did crop up a lot, but little kids like to hear about magical creatures, or why else did Lord of the Rings do so well? I learned to read in first grade, like any normal school child. We had mandatory foreign language classes (French & German, I heard recently that they added Spanish), we had fantastic science lessons, learned world mythologies & literature (we were taught the world religions through their stories and traditions, not the dogma). From grades 4 to 8 every student learned to play a musical instrument and perform in an orchestra/band. Organised sports, play performances, art museums & science-based field trips, there was a lot to encourage curiosity about the world.

    Waldorf schools, as they are parent-teacher run, are highly susceptible to mini-dictatorships/cliques controlled by strong personalities. The school I attended had its internal fights and political upheavals, and unfortunately the less-mature behaving adults involved the students (at the high school level). My only regret is that the upper/high school was, at the time, less of an interest to the (ruling) parents of the lower school, so our science curriculum wasn’t provided with the best technology (only one computer and lab equipment almost as old as the physics teacher). On the plus side, the small class size allowed for self-directed study and inspiring discussions with teachers.

    I have no interest in defending all Waldorf schools, or Rudolf Steiner’s crack-pot anthroposophy. I have never read about Steiner, nor was I taught his beliefs. I agree, from what I’ve read on this website, that his philosophy/beliefs are disturbing, and that any belief system like this is not something on which pedagogy should be based. That said, what is taken into practice on a school-by-school basis does not always reflect the twisted theory on which it is based, and alternative, holistic approaches to education benefit some children.

    • November 28, 2012 at 3:30 am

      I’m surprised you don’t want to publicize the name of the school that’s doing such a great job…

      • Maija
        November 28, 2012 at 8:47 am

        I’ve no interest in getting into a pissing match with you. There’s no one more vehement than a disillusioned devotee.

        I’m not mentioning the specific school because it was small and I want to keep my privacy. Again, I did not stick my toe in this comment thread to defend Waldorf schools; my aim was to humanize the discussion by pointing out that not every single person involved in Waldorf is a monster/zealot/idiot. I find offensive any abusive behavior, be it mental, physical or emotional, acted through religious zealotry or plain ignorance, but I’m not going to go on a blanket crusade to close down every religion-based school (or religion-infested public school) because of specific cases. Perpetrators should be brought to trial and those who enabled them also held accountable; information and education for the community, not generalized demonizing.

        In my experience I have encountered wonderfully kind and caring people as well as the self-serving, misguided purists (both parents and teachers). My education experience was positive, but I will take it in mind to speak with my past classmates to suss out what I missed (as I was a child at the time and couldn’t have picked up on everything that went on). So far as I know, in my class group, violent behavior was not allowed, nor was there bullying, discrimination or odd-ball science. I never had to cringe at being told some man died for my sins, or that I would go to hell, or some Creationist crap; I received a better education than what can be expected from the US public school system (which is, I guess, not saying much).

        I appreciate the information provided by this blog and others about Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy. I will not enroll my children in a Waldorf School based on this information (and thankfully I live in a country with an excellent public education system, obviously not the US). But I would appreciate you not shitting on my positive childhood memories. Please allow for a few of us to have had a benign exposure.

  18. November 29, 2012 at 4:27 am

    Holy cow… I’m not trying to “get into a pissing match” with you – nor am I trying to “shit on your childhood memories” – I just asked you why you don’t want to divulge the name of the school you enjoyed so much… jeez… overreact much?

    • November 29, 2012 at 6:43 am

      I do not see that the name of Maija’s school has any relevance to the debate.

      • November 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm

        In my experience, whenever I hear stories like Maija’s, the school in question turns out to be not as wonderful as the storyteller makes it out to be. Often, the school is actually one of the more problematic schools and the storyteller is either unaware of the problems at their own school or a staff member promoting the school. I’ve collected reviews from parents of Waldorf schools from around the world here: http://thewaldorfreview.blogspot.com/ A few Waldorf schools haven’t made my list yet… so naturally, I’m curious when I hear stories about one that’s so fantastic.

      • Hollywood Tomfortas
        November 30, 2012 at 12:02 am

        Agrippa,

        Over time you will come to appreciate the virtuosity of Mr. Pete K’s multi-tasking. Just like our legendary US President, Lyndon Baines Johnson, whose intestinal sensitivities required him to conduct Presidential business while seated for hours on the “porcelain throne,” as it were, so too is Mr. Pete K able to hold forth in debate and shit on Waldorf at the same time.

        Not surprisingly, he also expresses himself in the finest excretory metaphors this side of Rudolf Steiner himself. No shit, Sherlock!

        • November 30, 2012 at 3:09 am

          Tom, that comment is relevant to this topic how exactly?

          • Ted Wrinch
            November 30, 2012 at 6:20 pm

            Pete, when we consider your frequent references to things like ‘BS’ and ‘faeces throwing’, it seems that Tom has made an accurate meta-comment on your style of debate. And how relevant was  your list management comment to the Frome Steiner school thread ( can we say hypocrisy?)?

  19. Rudolf
    January 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I am considering sending my kids to St Pauls steiner in London. Actually this forum has been useful. I think the Anti-Steiner clique has been quite unconvincing and @marilyn quite convincing as well as Maijja. The claims made against Steiner ring true for me when made against the state or private systems in the UK. I find the hysteria over schools in London to be incredible. Yet it seems that the most important “outcomes” would be test scores and entrance rates into good secondaries or 6th forms. Do any of you haters have any of that “statistical” stuff to offer? THAT..would be at least a bit more convincing.

    • Andy Lewis
      January 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      I smell an anthro.

      • Rudolf
        January 7, 2013 at 11:55 pm

        lol

        what’s an anthro and what is it that is really so bad about these Steiner schools. Far from being an anthro i’m just an education skeptic and i hate ALL schools so tell me why sending my kids to a good state comprehensive is different from St Pauls Steiner in terms of the outcome.. getting them into a decent secondary.

        to be quite clear i am politically and philosophically against independent schools but we are moving to london with kids that don’t have english as a first language and a. steiner school might be a good cushion for a couple of years and b. it might be simpler than dealing with catchment area bullshit. so come on Andy.. gimmee the loot mr. witch hunter.

        • Andy Lewis
          January 8, 2013 at 12:16 am

          Rudolf – I have written extensively about what I believe is wrong with Steiner Schools.

          http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/11/what-every-parent-should-know-about-steiner-waldorf-schools.html

          Come back and let me know if you are happy with what I describe.

          • Rudolf
            January 8, 2013 at 10:45 am

            I found your text helpful. It would have been more useful if you included your references but that’s a small thing.

            Darwinism “is rooted in reductionist thinking and Victorian ethics and young people need to emerge from school with a clear sense of its limits” :)

            Allot of what you claim about Steiner (and you set him up as a stinker) could be said about many of the quacks who were historically instrumental in the development of the contemporary education system which is an extension of 19th century reactions to social processes of that time (ie teaching the new bourgeoisie how to be managers)… But anyway that’s neither interesting nor surprising. Suffice it to say that I’m not overly concerned about what you say because I find loads of quackery in the “normal” system hidden behind rhetoric of meritocracy and neo-liberalism which i find more appalling than even steiners quackery.

            And your tone is too dogmatic to be believable. If you are going to go after Steiner schools then why not go after the insane world of OFTA reports and SATS for kids? There is quackery to be found and The Steiners are an easy target because they are challenging the convention. Why not go after church schools or is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ somehow more acceptable? Your texts are playing a populist card to demonise these ideas and gain you page views for your business.

            Personally I trust that my children will not become indoctrinated into some cult in the same way that I don’t object to their grandparents taking them to church. I believe that I am sufficiently involved in their lives that they will not grow up to become priests or cult members.

            So to sum up. Is this site a source of legitimate information that could help parents make informed choices or are you a quack who demonises an easy scapegoat searching for a buck? It would be nice if you could add some real value to this effort and not sidetrack us with this unreferenced crap.

            Statistics of Steiner results?
            Secondary School entries from Steiner schools?

            Yours in Rudolfness

          • Andy Lewis
            January 8, 2013 at 11:29 am

            I still smell an anthro.

          • A Giraffe
            March 26, 2013 at 6:44 pm

            Andy, is “I smell an anthro” really a mature argument in your book? if so I really don’t want to know what kind of school YOU went to to be taught that, seems very immature and to be completely honest, pathetic. I get it you’re a very angry person, but dismissing other people’s opinions doesn’t make you right.

          • Frida
            March 26, 2013 at 11:17 pm

            Probably not a steiner school…

  20. Badly Shaved Monkey
    January 8, 2013 at 7:56 am

    i hate ALL schools so tell me why sending my kids to a good state comprehensive is different from St Pauls Steiner in terms of the outcome.. getting them into a decent secondary.

    It might help you to know that “state comprehensive” is a term that refers to a secondary school, not primary schools. State primary schools are comprehensive in the sense that they provide education for all, but the term comprehensive was introduced to describe the system that almost replaced the previous selective secondary school system about 40 years ago.

    Hating all schools is an interesting basis for helping your children get an education.

    • Rudolf
      January 8, 2013 at 10:46 am

      yeah yeah. i know now. thanks.

    • January 8, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      “Hating all schools is an interesting basis for helping your children get an education.”

      Yes, but not an entirely irrational one, given that schools, in the Information Age, usually or even always, offer regressive ways of learning.

      Recognizing a problem is sometimes the first step in solving it, (though chancing upon an accidental solution is usually the way I seem to go about it, I have to say!)

      Offering an education that actually causes knowledge to grow shouldn’t be as difficult as most schools make it. Classrooms are very inefficient way of offering the pertinent information to a particular mind. The provision of personalised information that a mind craves isn’t impossible in this day and age but we have to disengage this process from classrooms.

      We managed this, as have many others, through educating at home(which we fell into more or less by accident).

      Autonomously home educated children have gone on to the best universities in the UK or into successful careers and all this without ever setting foot in a classroom before the age of 16.

  21. Rudolf
    January 8, 2013 at 11:33 am

    That really irks me. You’re like this guy http://tinyurl.com/curytr

  22. March 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    “Yes, but not an entirely irrational one, given that schools, in the Information Age, usually or even always, offer regressive ways of learning.”

    Really?

    http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_shows_how_kids_teach_themselves.html

    (Andy, I don’t think this is one of the TedX ones) ;)

  23. Frida
    March 23, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    I would also like to say I am at a Steiner School now, Yes we do get a lot a schtick about some of the more “exotic” lessons we have, lik eurythmy. But my curriculum is made up of AS-levels right now, with breaks for things like gym and crafts. Yes, crafts, where we make things like silver rings, and books. How many of you non-steiner’s have bound their own book, or made their own silver ring, or even their own bowl by the age of 16? Can I just also clarify that binding books is not only Steiner, it is an art form, making rings is not either, it is called jewellery making, and making bowls? That’s just pottery. Not only are we very artistic but it gives us a break from our usual accedemic filled days. We learn things outside our chosen exam subects, and this broadens our horizons. Ok, i have let off some steam now, now I can say what I wanted to say.
    I can see why many people form misconceptions about Steiner Schools, they make up a very small percentage of the schools in any country, and will naturally be picked on by some people who have biased views. These people should really know better, and maybe go actually LOOK at a Steiner School and see what they have to offer, then if their views are still the same, ok, that’s fine. No one can agree on everything.
    Many of my friends now go to “normal” sixth-form collages just because they wanted to go to a school that offeres A-levels such as photography and psychology. Yes, sure we don’t offer some such A-levels or GCSE’s, but we do the core subjects in both, the ones that are needed. Alongside this we all conduct other subjects, and many are touched on in Main Lessons which forms a large part of our education, seperate from exams! We learn so much about different religions, and NONE are preached to us. From the ages of 6 to 18 we have learnt about all the religions, the myths, the legends etc. And again, NONE are preached to us. Most of us are not christian, I have two buddhists in my class (their families are buddhists) and the rest of us are either agnostics or atheists. We are all normal teenagers, stresses with exams and very socially comfortable.
    I am also one of those people who has lived in many places, like the US and Europe. The seven times I have had to move because of my father’s demanding job, i have been placed into a steiner school. I have always been accepted for who i am, and the steiner education has formed a positive thread through my childhood and my very strained life of having moved from place to place, all over the world.
    I am not asking anyone to be inspired by my words, not even to form a positive opinion of the Steiner education, I would just like to say that everyone should keep an open mind. Some of my friends are happy in sixth-form collages, others are very glad they stayed at a Steiner School. This education is beneficial to some, and just not fitting for others. This has nothing to do with being “less able” than others, or more intelligent. It has to do with the fact that everyone is different, unique, and that is EXACTLY why there are so many different educations availabe. Steiner is just one of them.

    • A Giraffe
      March 26, 2013 at 6:41 pm

      well said indeed!

  24. Rudolf
    March 26, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Johanna don’t take these guys seriously obviously they are a bit psychopathic to be so against something like Steiner which is clearly far from an evil entity. The cult behind education in general stems from the disciplinary societies of the 18th – 19th century and i think Steiner is actually better suited to contemporary needs of sociability, relationality, creativity etc. that are clearly valorised today in management and in the networked post industrial world. After reading this site and visiting I have decided to send my kids to a Steiner school and while i think the cult aspects of it regarding the messianic figure of rudy are a bit over the top and laughable I do think the teachers are serious and the system as a whole is certainly great for the kids up to the age of 11 Past that I don’t know because we do have to live in the silly real world and learn to cope with all that. That said, I found the state schools (mainstream) in my area to be quite good as well and would be happy for the kids to go to one of the good ones. However Steiner seems to be an ideal situation for children under 11 and if their parents have the means to give them this luxury they are lucky.

  25. Rudolf
    March 26, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Oh and by the way.. you Steiner people should really check your grammar and spelling before posting here, it makes you look um… uneducated :)

    • Elizabeth
      March 26, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Rudolf, like Frida said she is doing her a levels like any other college/sixth form student, her days are no different apart from a relevant/educational morning of main lesson on subjects like politics or history,renaissance art and refreshing breaks for craft. How can you say this is not a good education for a child over 11?

      • Rudolf
        March 26, 2013 at 2:11 pm

        Actually i didn’t say it wasn’t i’m just not sure about it so please excuse my ignorance.

        • Andy Lewis
          March 26, 2013 at 7:14 pm

          My contention is that people are being misled by the external appearance of the schools. How would visiting a school convince me that I am wrong about the spiritual and occult aims of the school?

          • A Giraffe
            March 26, 2013 at 7:25 pm

            The external appearance is by no means misleading. On the listing for our school it specifies it a a waldorf school, while the Scientology school near us makes no mention of Scientology anywhere on their website or the school listings for the area, that is misleading. When people come to look at the school on open days they are shown ALL the lessons, they are told about steiner education and what the school offers. The reason they might not be told a lot about anthroposophy is that it is not taught at the school, and is therefore irrelevant for their child. If it is present in their teaching methods, but not imposed on the students as an ideology then i have no objection because the students come out of school open minded and well qualified regardless.

          • Andy Lewis
            March 26, 2013 at 7:29 pm

            Anthroposophy underpins everything within the school. Why withhold this fact or pretend it is not important?

          • A Giraffe
            March 26, 2013 at 7:40 pm

            It is not withheld. And for me personally it isn’t important, the child develops well and if this is due to anthroposophy then so be it. Just because the school has the word “steiner” attached to it doesn’t make it evil.

          • March 29, 2013 at 4:29 am

            “Just because the school has the word “steiner” attached to it doesn’t make it evil.”

            Why don’t you think so? If it just had the word “Hitler” attached to it, would you say the same thing?

            Steiner and Hitler weren’t that different my friend. They had the same ideas… it’s just that Steiner wanted to promote his through schools, while Hitler took a different route.

            The more you know…

          • March 29, 2013 at 4:26 am

            “On the listing for our school it specifies it a a waldorf school, while the Scientology school near us makes no mention of Scientology anywhere on their website or the school listings for the area, that is misleading.”

            Um… you’ve got that confused. Waldorf doesn’t equal Scientology, Anthroposophy equals Scientology. Steiner/Waldorf school websites (and the schools themselves) hide information about Anthroposophy from prospective parents as well as the importance of Anthroposophy in the spiritual development of the children those parents entrust their children to.

          • Johanna
            March 26, 2013 at 8:18 pm

            ‘How would visiting a school convince me that I am wrong about the spiritual and occult aims of the school?’-Andy Lewis, it’s pretty obvious isn’t it? Visting a school would mean that you can actually meet and talk to the student’s and find out first hand what effects the education really has upon them.

          • Andy Lewis
            March 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm

            That is very, very naive.

          • A Giraffe
            March 26, 2013 at 8:45 pm

            That is a terrible, terrible argument.

          • Harry
            March 26, 2013 at 8:28 pm

            For the THIRD!time there is no racism or misleading we form our own opinions and are encouraged to do so!!! If yo want more details of what I mean read my previous comments!Here’s the longest one to save you time.
            Hi my name is Harry, and from the little that I do know of anthroposophy, which yes is a bit new agey and tree huggerish (sorry making up adjectives as I go). I wont deny that, but you seem to think that we don’t use technology don’t watch TV, and live in a cult society, praying to pagan gods. Trust me definitely not the case.
            Personally I went to a steiner school in class 6/year7.
            Before this I lived in France where I was constantly bullied everyday. In my time in France I went to both a Public and Private school, the private being a catholic school. I was bullied at both!
            When I moved to England I was scared about what school I was going to go to, as I’d heard about state school bullies. When I had my interview at my school, I was a little apprehensive, being told to look down a telescope and say what I saw and only seeing patterns didn’t help. Then there’s Eurythmy, which I still think is odd, but to be perfectly honest, once you get used to the fact that there are movements that fit the zodiac signs you just go with the flow and just do it, to pass the time and get to the end of the lesson. In other words there are extremists that believe every word from the handbook , but as I’ve said those are the extremists. No one I know are so steiner that they believe whole heartedly that elementals exist. I see no harm in telling kids fairytales,that comprise of elemental beings and morals! From my experience those within the steiner education are extremely open. Where else can you stand infront of a class and say the reason why you did a project on gay rights for a politics Mainlesson, was because, you are gay, and not have to deal with homophobia, afterwards. My school has been so supportive. When I needed to take a few days off to be a part of a film project on gay youth, they told me to take the days off on authorised absence. To even suggest that Steiner schools are racist, homophobic or any kind of phobic is disggusting and a lie! Whether you have or not is not the point.
            Overall I am so happy with my education and yes it’s filled with metaphors and all the lesson themes interconnect according to the time of year, for example astronomy at Christmas.But I highly doubt I would be able to be proud of who I have become, with the schools help. It is the personal nature of the education that has allowed me to go from failing every maths test I ever did, to getting a C in foundation maths at GCSE oh and did I forget to mention that my school passed every english exam they took that year at GCSE, aka last year. Wish is unheard of in most state schools.

          • Johanna
            March 27, 2013 at 1:15 pm

            ‘How would visiting a school convince me that I am wrong about the spiritual and occult aims of the school?’ Ady Lewis this implies very strongly that you have not in fact vistied any Steiner schools. You are concerned that Students are being ‘mislead’ and infomation regardng the ‘true nature’ of the school is concealed, but is it not true that preaching to students is not a very helpful form of eductional approach? The reason students at Steiner schools are only thoroughly taught about Anthroposphy at the age of 17/18 is because at that age they are mature enough to keep an open mind and arrive at thier own individual conclusions and to accept -or not- Steiners approach to education and his views(some of which are radical- but is that neccessarily bad, wrong and evil?)

            ‘Rudolf Steiner was a mystic barmpot. His ‘insights’ were through clairvoyance and his methods were for spiritial reasons.’ Andy Lewis what exactly is so wrong with spiritualism anyway?

            Oh, and by the way you have not responded to frida: We have listened to you, now come visit a school with a sizeable upper-school and talk to us! Come on, we dare you’ The fact that you have ignored her challenge says alot about you.

          • March 27, 2013 at 1:51 pm

            Johanna: ‘The reason students at Steiner schools are only thoroughly taught about Anthroposphy at the age of 17/18 …’

            It pleases me to hear that at least in some schools, children are taught something about it (I do hope it is thorough — although I quite doubt it!). I doubt it has anything to do with children being open minded enough to be able to accept or reject it though. It has more to do with the fact that Steiner didn’t want anthroposophy to be directly taught — or preached — to younger children; they were instead to be immersed in it through the pedagogy, traditions, methods and so forth. Which is probably more efficient than direct teaching in some ways. At least if we count long-term influences. An anthroposophical education is not just for the benefit of this lifetime.

            Whether Andy chooses to go or not to go to a Steiner school is his decision, of course. But what he will find are lots of students who insist anthroposophy is not relevant, oh, they have barely even heard the name Steiner! The only conclusion that can come from such a visit is that Steiner school students in general know little about the foundation of Steiner education and that some people like Steiner education. (Those who don’t, like me, have usually left by upper-school.)

          • Andy Lewis
            March 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm

            “Andy Lewis what exactly is so wrong with spiritualism anyway?”

            It depends on what you think an education is for. My preference is for a reality-based education rather than a superstition-based education.

            But again, my main issue is that Steiner Schools are not open with parents about the spiritual basis of the education and so parents cannot make an informed choice as to whether they want to educate their child or allow them to be the spiritual playthings of the deeply reality-disconnected.

          • Johanna
            March 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm

            And my main aim right now Andy lewis, is that you answer Frida’s question. Also, Anthroposophy is not superstition.

          • March 27, 2013 at 10:43 pm

            What is it then?

          • Johanna
            March 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm

            if you had been following it might have been more clear- ‘We have listened to you, now come visit a school with a sizeable upper-school and talk to us! Come on, we dare you’

          • Andy Lewis
            March 27, 2013 at 11:33 pm

            I have answered that question.

            But you have misunderstood Alan. If Anthroposophy is not superstition, what is it?

          • March 28, 2013 at 12:11 am

            Thanks for clarifying what I meant, Andy. I should have been clearer.

          • A Giraffe
            March 28, 2013 at 12:16 am

            I don’t see why you would ask us that, you’re supposed to be the expert after all. I have never claimed to have in depth knowledge of anthroposophy, but since I am arguing for Steiner education, not for Steiner’s beliefs, I find it somewhat of an irrelevant point for this discussion.

          • March 28, 2013 at 12:22 am

            I’m asking, not Andy.

          • A Giraffe
            March 28, 2013 at 12:37 am

            See my post above, sorry for wrong section

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            March 28, 2013 at 8:04 am

            Mike/Giraffe

            I am arguing for Steiner education, not for Steiner’s beliefs,

            And I keep asking one of you to explain what Steiner education comprises once it is shorn (if that were true) of Steiner’s beliefs. Wall of silence so far. Well, not silence exactly, more a deafening and distracting babble of answers to unasked questions.

          • Andy Lewis
            March 28, 2013 at 8:46 am

            If you do not have a knowledge of anthroposophy, how can you defend anthroposophical schools?

          • zoe
            March 28, 2013 at 12:07 pm

            because if you attend a school, and like it, because of the way you have been taught and learnt about many different things, then why not defend you education, letting others like you who has never actually attended a steiner school only read or talked to ‘steiner survivers’ as you put it, is very very different and subjective.

          • Andy Lewis
            March 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm

            Keep it coming, zoe.

          • March 28, 2013 at 2:58 pm

            Andy, I hope you are not picking on Zoe’s idiosyncratic spelling. That would be an uncontrolled trial of n=1 and moreover ad hominem.

          • A Giraffe
            March 28, 2013 at 9:50 pm

            I don’t think she needs your approval to keep going actually, but if it makes you feel more in control to approve what she says in the future, go right ahead; each to their own.

          • A Giraffe
            March 29, 2013 at 12:03 pm

            What did you think she was going to do, stop arguing? No one needs your permission to keep going on here, so giving it is a fairly futile exercise in trying to maintain control.

          • March 29, 2013 at 2:27 pm

            “No one needs your permission to keep going on here, so giving it is a fairly futile exercise in trying to maintain control.”

            You realize you’re Andy’s guest here, right?

          • A Giraffe
            March 29, 2013 at 2:47 pm

            False. This is an open forum hosted by http://devwww.positive-internet.com/ we are nobody’s “guest”.

          • March 29, 2013 at 2:50 pm

            False. This is certainly hosted on one of Positive Internet’s server, but Andy pays for that server space and bandwidth. This is his website and we are all his guests.

          • A Giraffe
            March 29, 2013 at 2:53 pm

            Well then, he can chuck me out can’t he? Oh wait, no he can’t!

          • March 29, 2013 at 2:55 pm

            Yes he can – do you really have so little idea how the Internet and websites work.

          • A Giraffe
            March 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm

            What a coincidence you should say that, I am currently building a website actually, from scratch not using WordPress obviously, that’s cheating. You don’t need an account to access this site, so he can’t do it that way, and even if he could block my IP address (which I doubt) I could just re-route it with a proxy. You were saying…?

          • March 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm

            You’re still not showing much knowledge of how websites work.

          • A Giraffe
            March 29, 2013 at 6:54 pm

            Why would I have to prove that to you exactly? And my point stands, I van’t be blocked from this site. End of story.

          • A Giraffe
            March 29, 2013 at 6:57 pm

            *can’t

            Anyway I hardly think this is what this forum is about, so if you want to know more try this http://bit.ly/10nuvhC

          • March 29, 2013 at 7:02 pm

            A Giraffe said:

            Why would I have to prove that to you exactly?

            You don’t. But I didn’t ask you to. However, you’re demonstrating it quite well.

            Of course, if you were to try to post using a different name and a different email address and from a different IP address, then that might be, well, different, but let’s assume you are honest. Do you think Andy could stop you posting comments or does he have no control over it whatsoever?

          • A Giraffe
            March 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm

            He has no control over ME posting comments. He could stop people posting all together, or stop people posting on this thread, or even block, say, my username perhaps. However he has no way of blocking me, or anyone else, specifically.

          • March 29, 2013 at 7:15 pm

            Yes, Andy can block your name, your email address and your IP address. He can even block your IP address from loading any page of his website page, never mind commenting. Whether he does or not is, of course, entirely up to him.

          • March 30, 2013 at 1:10 am

            You may have noticed “Your comment is awaiting moderation” from time to time… He’s letting them through… but doesn’t have to.

            I love that you have a lot of confidence about things you know nothing about, however.

          • March 30, 2013 at 8:34 am

            Apologies for the double post, but this got lost somewhere in the middle and I don’t think the points I have raised have been addressed.

            Andy, on this one I think you’ve misjudged the matter.

            From the arguments so far:

            (1) Many people find Steiner Schools to provide a good education (no argument so far has provided any uncontested figures about Steiner Schools in general vs mainstream schools in terms of outcomes);
            (2) Andy argues against them because of lack of ‘openness;’ but
            (3) that puts Steiner Schools in a cleft stick because either they do indoctrinate children in their ideology (which is assumed bad) or else they don’t (which opens them to a charge of lack of openness);
            (4) It has been claimed in this discussion that what they actually do is explain the Steiner principles and beliefs when the children are considered old enough to make an informed judgement of their own.

            As regards openness to parents, it is fairly obvious to me when I meet Steinerists that they have attitudes that are different from the mainstream (I have not visited a Steiner School but I have visited an NHS medical practice run by Steinerists and it was both impressive and also obviously different – even just looking at the purply pink walls and wishy-washy pictures). The works of Steiner and information about Anthroposophy are readily available. If parents do not wish to know about these things that is up to them, but I see no evidence of concealment, and you would have to be daft as a brush not to realise that they have some sort of non-mainstream philosophy.

            Also re the document linked to earlier (Steiner 101) – I can see nothing wrong with promoting harmony and human spiritual development, and I don’t mind much whether that is underpinned by a belief in nine orders of angels or praying to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as long as children are encouraged to think for themselves.

            While I am on a roll here I’d like to add that my primary school teacher believed that her dog was the reincarnation of her previous dog, however she told us this with the caveat that that was just her view and we should make up our own minds about such things. I can’t say that this incident has scarred me for life.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            March 30, 2013 at 9:00 am

            She didn’t tell you that white aryan blood is more highly evolved than African blood. We have been presented with evidence of Steiner teachers doing exactly that.

          • Frida
            March 30, 2013 at 11:57 am

            Really? No teacher in my entire life has EVER told me that! And also just to say, I have had a few African friends who went to the same steiner school as me and they have never reported any acts of racism.

          • Andy Lewis
            March 30, 2013 at 12:41 pm

            Frida – I think this just shows you have not grasped the nature of the concerns about covert racism in Steiner Schools. I would not expect you to have been able to detect it or recognise it.

          • Frida
            March 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm

            What is this evidence that you, Badly Shaved Monkey, are talking about? And Andy, what could help me detect it? Moreover, I would appreciate it if you did not treat me like a child, I have eyes, ears, and a mind of my own, I can see what is in front of me, I can make up my own mind about my education, I believe that there is no racism taking place, but i will be open to concrete evidence proving otherwise.

          • March 31, 2013 at 4:15 pm

            The evidence is there. If you want PROOF, call Highland Hall Waldorf School in Northridge California and ask them about the incident. I won’t put their phone number up here, but I’m sure you can Google it. The link I gave above indicates the teacher’s name, when the incident occurred and so forth. Again, they claimed there was nothing wrong with the lesson (and made this claim in front of witnesses).

          • Frida
            March 31, 2013 at 4:21 pm

            But is that Steiner’s fault or the teachers? Occurances of racism happens in all schools, yes, probably even steiner schools. And Andy, they would be dreadful today, we saw what happened in the holocaust. But such beliefs are not held up in my school! I have never heard any teacher teaching me that blond haired and blue eyed children are the pinnacle of our society, we are not taught such anrthroposophical beliefs.

          • March 31, 2013 at 4:26 pm

            “But is that Steiner’s fault or the teachers?”

            I’m not blaming Steiner, if that’s what you’re asking?

            “Occurances of racism happens in all schools, yes, probably even steiner schools. ”

            “All schools” don’t have a racist founder.

            ” But such beliefs are not held up in my school!”

            If you have Waldorf teachers working there, then you are mistaken.

            “I have never heard any teacher teaching me that blond haired and blue eyed children are the pinnacle of our society, we are not taught such anrthroposophical beliefs.”

            If you think that’s what it takes to teach racism, you are equally mistaken.

          • Johanna
            March 30, 2013 at 8:46 pm

            Its like this Andy: I am christian, I believe in Christ but I don’t read the bible and I don’t pray. I don’t even agree or believe in everything that is written in the bible. But I am still Christian. It’s the same with Steiner education, some of Steiner’s views are radical and taken out of the context (and by this I mean if you haven’t read all of Steiner’s lectures as a whole) and can sound disturbing, but Steiner schools do not follow every aspect of Steiner’s teachings and views. Where is your first had evidence of racism in Steiner schools? Just because some of Steiner’s views where no-conventional and radical, doesn’t mean Steiner schools adopt every teaching that Steiner developed. You think that because you read Steiner’s teachings that those views are automatically incorporated into Steiner schools. Doubtless you will be able to provide evidence of racism in a Steiner school, but then plenty of evidence can be provided for racism in state-funded, mainstream schools. It’s just that you aren’t looking for racism in mainstream schools, you are looking for it in Steiner schools, and I’m sure yo have found it. My point here is: broaden your perspective, racism is everywhere. Just because you might have found instances of it in Steiner schools and because you have evidence of racism in Steiner’s teachings really doesn’t make Steiner schools racist. Say Steiner was racist if you want, but saying Steiner education must therefore be racist is ignorant and also deeply insulting.

            You are isolating

          • Andy Lewis
            March 30, 2013 at 10:30 pm

            Johanna, it is rather absurd to think that if you keep ploughing through Steiner’s works then suddenly it stops being absurd, nonsensical, irrational fantasy with abhorrent views about race and humanity.

            What amazes me is at supporters of Steiner appear to be completely unable to address the racism in his works. Without being able to do that, it is like discussing mathematics with someone unable to count.

          • Frida
            March 31, 2013 at 1:58 am

            We do not support Steiner as a person, we support our education, an education we are proud of. Did Johanna ever say that through continueous reading of Steiner’s works it all “stops being absurd…” as you say? She only said that if someone takes bits of his works, it is out of context. It is like saying that E=MC² describes the whole of mathematics. Of course there may be racism in his works, but wasn’t that the time where racism was considered the norm? I am glad you are concerened about racism, it is a serious issue in our society, but it is not an issue in our education specifically.

            Now please answer my question I asked before. How would I be able to detect racism, I mean, providing that it is even there?

          • Andy Lewis
            March 31, 2013 at 10:29 am

            What possible context would put Steiner’s racism in a different light?

            Given the insidious nature of Steiner’s race beliefs, the onus is on schools to demonstrate that they do not influence the school – not on me to prove otherwise.

          • March 31, 2013 at 11:59 am

            (Sorry again for the double post, but for some reason my posts seem to disappear to some earlier part of the thread. Please feel free to delete duplications!)

            One question is whether the beliefs that Steiner held which we now consider racist are still held by Steinerists.

            It is a mistake to judge a previous age by modern standards, particularly when knowledge of genetics has moved on so dramatically.

            Mme Blavatsky had some theory about different races carrying the role of human spiritual advancement in different epochs. Such theories were not unusual at that time. Now we know that human beings are genetically much more similar to each other than we previously realised, and that the whole concept of race is scientifically doubtful at best. That was not known then, and the globalisation of culture was also at a much earlier stage. I therefore think that, although Steiner’s racial theories (as presented in this comment thread) are simply wrong, it is anachronistic to label those theories racist in the context in which they were first expressed.

            The question, then, is whether Steinerists still hold these beliefs? How much is still ipse dixit (Steiner hat gesagt…) and how much has moved on?

          • Frida
            March 31, 2013 at 3:43 pm

            The historical influence on the work of Steiner of course! Beliefs of Steiner that you consider to be racist are not held by “Steinerists” as we do KNOW what racism is, though of course we take into account that when Steiner wrote about his beliefs it was totally okay to say the word “nigger,” without someone calling you a racist, in our moderns society this is unacceptable, but how could Steiner have seen that in the future his term for an African was socially unacceptable? How can you possibly say that we are being taught racist beliefs? I was taught that everyone is worth something, and to look past a skin colour or a religion, or a way of life, or yes, and education, because that is all it is, a colour, a religion, a way of life and an education, what matters is the person.

          • Andy Lewis
            March 31, 2013 at 4:02 pm

            Frida – Steiner was not a racist because he used the word ‘nigger’. He was a racist because he formed the anthroposphical beliefs of a racial spiritual hierarchy with the blond haired and blue eyed at the pinnacle. He saw black people as spiritually lazy and whites as the intelligent race. He foretold of future racial wars. He saw karma as driving people up or down in his racial hierarchy depending on evil or good acts.

            How do you think such beliefs might be harmful if held today?

          • Johanna
            March 31, 2013 at 6:49 pm

            ‘How do you think such beliefs might be harmful if held today?’ where’s your prof that they ARE held today?

          • March 31, 2013 at 4:18 pm

            “Where is your first had evidence of racism in Steiner schools?”

            HIGHLAND HALL WALDORF SCHOOL which happens to be the WALDORF TEACHER TRAINING CENTER in Southern California. The evidence is FIRST HAND!

          • Johanna
            April 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm

            yes there is evidence but the evidence is not everywhere, just because one Steiner school is like that does NOT mean they are all like that.

          • April 1, 2013 at 2:18 pm

            “just because one Steiner school is like that does NOT mean they are all like that.”

            That would make sense if it was one small school nobody cared about. Highland Hall is the oldest Waldorf school on the west coast of the United States – over 50 years old… it’s a well-established school that is the TRAINING CENTER for teachers. It’s not a one-off school, it’s the MODEL for other Waldorf schools. If there is any Waldorf school that isn’t like this, IT would be the exception – NOT the rule… and try as I might, I have yet to find one. I’m sure you think you have… every Waldorf proponent claims their school isn’t like this… that’s why I compiled a list of complaints about the most problematic Waldorf schools in the USA… http://thewaldorfreview.blogspot.com/

          • Johanna
            April 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm

            You are talking about Steiner schools in the USA, Steiner schools do not exist only in the USA, I attend one in the UK.

          • April 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm

            “You are talking about Steiner schools in the USA, Steiner schools do not exist only in the USA, I attend one in the UK.”

            So, you believe Steiner schools in the UK are different than the Steiner schools in the USA? What would lead you to believe this?

            Teachers from the UK come to the USA and vice-versa – ALL the time. In fact, problematic teachers from the USA very often go to the UK for Waldorf teaching positions. I have documented this more than once. I’d be happy to provide examples if you don’t believe this.

            Furthermore, Waldorf/Steiner schools everywhere teach exactly the same things (e.g. there is practically no USA-centered curriculum here – nor UK-centered curriculum there). Waldorf curriculum doesn’t change based on location or national circumstances or environment. There have not been any substantial (or minor) changes to the Waldorf curriculum since the days of Nazi Germany – when Steiner schools were acceptable to the Nazis. Kids in the UK, Germany, USA, China – all get the same curriculum. There is NO distinction between UK Steiner schools and USA Waldorf schools.

          • March 31, 2013 at 4:22 pm

            “My point here is: broaden your perspective, racism is everywhere. Just because you might have found instances of it in Steiner schools and because you have evidence of racism in Steiner’s teachings really doesn’t make Steiner schools racist. ”

            Except that they ACTUALLY TEACH RACIST IDEAS! Nobody has apologized for teaching racism at Highland Hall… not ONE PERSON! This is PROOF that Steiner’s racist teachings DO appear in Waldorf schools and for the very reason that Waldorf teachers believe what Steiner said about the races.

          • Frida
            March 31, 2013 at 4:34 pm

            One school. ONE school. Not any of my SIX steiner schools have taught us racist ideas. There will always be one person who will believe everything appearing in a book, to the letter. Creationists believe everything written in the bible. Are they being penalised for practising sexism, homophobia and denouncing scientific proof?

            I seriously doubt that all Waldorf teachers believe that white people are better than every other race. Why would there than be Steiner schools in almost every country in the owrld? Including Asia and Africa?

          • Andy Lewis
            March 31, 2013 at 4:38 pm

            Frida, I refer you to this post where people from the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship discussed the racism problem with Tories and decided they could not simply renounce Steiner’s words as many Anthroposophists actually believe them.

            It was felt that there may be some difficulty in making a blanket rebuttal of all Anthroposophy because many people throughout the Steiner schools system, especially teachers, strongly support many aspects of that belief system. If teachers were asked to make a blanket rebuttal of Anthroposophy, many of them may not do this.

            http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2013/01/tory-free-schools-plot-to-spin-away-the-racism-of-steiner-schools.html

          • Frida
            March 31, 2013 at 5:54 pm

            I am done argueing with you, I am not giving up, I belive I am in a good education, and it is not that I have been misled, but I as a student just want to learn, and be able to do crafts without being critisised for my education, an yes someimes I will be because people just don’t see.
            Anthroposophy is supported by many, teachers and parents alike. But we are not taught it, like we are (or should not be, in accordance to Highland Halls) taught racism. That is my only point I want to get across.
            Steiner is a form of education, and I am sorry to whoever has seemingly been misled by it, the education incorporates so much learning outside of the exam system that I feel like a more well rounded person as a whole. I am sorry that you are so against it, and there are aspects of it that I too feel need to be addressed as there is no perfect education in the whole entire world. People choose Steiner for different reasons, some good, some bad. Steiner’s philosophy will be torn apart, well actually has been, but I sincerely hope that people will continue to choose steiner just for the fact that it is a good education. And yes, I say it is good, because, all modesty aside, I am a good student, everyone in my class is, and I have been educated in steiner schools.
            I hope you can continue your own investigations, and talk to people who have had a good experience at a Steiner school, you and I both know people have had them, you’re arguement still needs to incorporate some of the positive aspects, you need to see both sides, if you’re arguements still hold up, you will be better prepared in the future to go up against enraged pupils. Next time also maybe do not just treat them like children, I bet your own child(ren) do(es) not like that, and not just say that they have been misguided, provide proof of it.
            You may be thinking that I am just giving up, I am not, but I will not continue to fight you on you’re blog, i guess I just believe that we will continue to go around a circle and not actually get anywhere productive and interesting. I think you know what I mean.
            Be careful with your words, maybe the next time you say something that someone does not agree with they will do more than shout at you.
            I know you believe everything you say is to be true, and you may well have done substantial research on everything you say, but do not take things to literally, do not take what Steiner says as facts, many a mistake has been done in doing that.
            I hope someday you can see someone elses arguement, and be in someone elses shoes, it is a hard thing to be done, but it can be achieved, maybe try it some time.
            I am actually quite happy that not everyone agrees with everything, no one would be able to be mature and see someone elses point of view.
            Can I also just say that many a good person has come out of a steiner school, google it, and they are not racist, or whole-hearted believers in anthroposophy, some may be, but many many many have come out not regretting theire choice in education, and have gone on to do great things.
            I hope you see what I am saying some day.

          • March 31, 2013 at 7:55 pm

            “Be careful with your words, maybe the next time you say something that someone does not agree with they will do more than shout at you.”

            That seriously sounds like a threat. What do you suspect Steiner’s followers are capable of doing to critics?

          • Ted Wrinch
            March 31, 2013 at 8:18 pm

            “What do you suspect Steiner’s followers are capable of doing to critics?”

            Most likely nothing and certainly not ‘gutting them like a sack of fish’, as you threatened the Highland Hall staff last year. Talk about hypocrisy!

            T.

            Ted Wrinch

          • March 31, 2013 at 9:06 pm

            “Most likely nothing and certainly not ‘gutting them like a sack of fish’, as you threatened the Highland Hall staff last year. Talk about hypocrisy!”

            Well, they shouldn’t have harmed my kids then. What did I (or any critics) ever do to THEIR kids? Oh yeah… NOTHING!

            They claim to provide a safe, healthy environment for children… while harming them at every opportunity. Talk about hypocrisy!

          • March 31, 2013 at 9:33 pm

            Apparently you’ve never had to fight your child’s mother AND an entire community of sick psychopaths, not only in the courts but on the streets, in order to save your child’s life. That’s exactly what I had to do, Let me tell you, Ted, it changes a person.

            On this page is a picture of me putting up “Missing Child” posters near Highland Hall, and Highland Hall’s alumni director tearing them down (over my protests). What type of sick monsters would tear down missing child posters – of a former student at their school? There were several Highland Hall people doing this (as was confirmed in an email by one of the teachers at Highland Hall).

            These people are monsters Ted. The only thing you have to defend them with is that they’r also Anthroposophists. So, Ted, are you a monster too?

          • March 31, 2013 at 9:34 pm
          • Ted Wrinch
            March 31, 2013 at 10:23 pm

            “These people are monsters Ted. ”

            They are people, Pete, and you threatened them with murder. Threats of murder, hypocrisy…I think you ought to take a look at yourself and where you’re going…

          • March 31, 2013 at 11:38 pm

            “They are people, Pete, and you threatened them with murder. ”

            They don’t think they’re people. They think they’re spirits inhabiting some meat that we call a human body. They’re indestructable… I wouldn’t be killing them, just their meat-body… everybody Anthroposophist knows this. They made the rules… I’m just following them.

            “Threats of murder”

            I didn’t threaten anyone with murder… go look at the original post you’re referring to. Your reading comprehension problems are showing up again.

            “I think you ought to take a look at yourself and where you’re going…”

            Well, if I’m the crazy person you claim I am, I suppose I’m not the one who has to worry about where I’m going…

          • Harry
            April 1, 2013 at 12:03 am

            The meat shell idea is not Anthroposophist its Buddhist, it’s been around for thousands of years in the Buddhist religion, please do proper research before commenting.

          • April 1, 2013 at 12:16 am

            “The meat shell idea is not Anthroposophist its Buddhist, it’s been around for thousands of years in the Buddhist religion, please do proper research before commenting.”

            Where did I say it originated with Anthroposophy?

            Please don’t misrepresent what I said and then show it to be wrong… that’s a strawman argument.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            March 31, 2013 at 8:29 pm

            Frida

            If that incoherent and poorly spelled drivel stands as an example of the quality of Steiner education then I think it suffices to confirm the criticisms of the quality of that education.

            You have a right to hold an opinion. You do not have a right for that opinion to be matched by facts. When the facts contradict your opinion then you should have the honesty to change your opinion. It is a fact that Steiner’s personal views were racist by any reasonable definition of the word. You have been shown it. He held a variety of other bonkers opinions, but the racism is being highlighted in these discussions. It is a fact that no defender of Steiner has presented here any evidence whatsoever of the Steiner school system confronting those beliefs and creating a version of steinerism shorn of his mad ideas. None of this seems to have given you any pause for thought.

            Various of your Steiner colleagues have been keen to tell us how the system encourages you to be free-thinkers and but none of you seem able to think sufficiently freely to examine anthroposophy critically. Funny, that.

          • March 31, 2013 at 7:50 pm

            “One school. ONE school.”
            That particular “one school” happens to be THE WALDORF TEACHER TRAINING CENTER for Southern California… it’s over 50 years old. Remember, the school DEFENDED the lesson. This isn’t one odd teacher at one odd school – it’s what Waldorf teachers are taught!

            “I seriously doubt that all Waldorf teachers believe that white people are better than every other race.”

            If they believe Steiner’s writings (which they are required to read AND accept), then they certainly DO believe this.

            “Why would there than be Steiner schools in almost every country in the owrld?”

            So that those unfortunate children might progress in this lifetime – and eventually incarnate as white children. It’s exactly what Waldorf teachers are taught!

          • Harry
            March 31, 2013 at 10:55 pm

            Dear Pete
            I am so sorry about your situation and what happened of course I would never dream of supporting an institution where that kind of thing was ok. This is an obvious example of where people have gone too far and taken every word from Steiner literally. The problem I think, which is fundamental in this debate is that each Steiner school has its own individual ethos, yours is an example of the extreme. Personally I live in England, where unlike what Andy will tell you we do have to have legal inspections that every school goes through. All members of Staff are CRB checked. The only why my pears and I have been commenting on here is because we found it laughable that situations like yours happened. I do now see that not everyone has the same interpretation of Steiner. The only reason I have been defending Steiner schools is that for me personally it has provided a safe environment. I have always been someone who thrives under more personalised tuition, my school feels more like a family. Every student knows the first name of the teacher, but of course out of respect no one uses them and Miss and Mr flow freely. This does however allow more personalised teaching in the later years. This is where I think my particular school is different from the state schools as the state systems seems to care more about grades than about the actual learning. Whether the state schools do or not, is not the point, it is a fact that the vast majority do, in the UK and France anyway. I am happy to hear about state schools that don’t, however may I remind everyone that a lot has changed in the education sector over the past 30 years, therefore if your over 25 then your likely to have been educted in a very different system than the one I’m experiencing now, which I think is a shame. I hope we can all unanimously agree that Gov is also mucking us about(to put it politely) which has also affected Steiner schools as we have jump through the same hoops as everyone else passed the age of 14. From what I’ve experienced I can say that my school believes in treating everyone as individuals and as a group at the same time, highlighting personal development and making us aware as a group at the same time. The belief that the school holds is that this makes us aware later in life of what is going on around us. For example when the media says, all Muslims are bad, we question it and ask whether it’s the entire community or whether it’s just the extremists. I know that everyone has the potential to do this and certain books, such as The Kite Runner asks the reader to see that not everyone in the Muslim community is evil. In a sense I am asking the same thing of everyone reading this blog.
            There are those who will defend Steiner’s beliefs to the ends of the earth. I and my pears however see, especially in your case how it can go to the extreme. An example of the opposite extreme is when a Steiner school in Glasgow was burnt down and a Bio-dynamic farm in the north of Europe. By defending my education on here I am merely trying to appeal to you to step into my shoes. I was bullied at my two previous schools, I went to my current Steiner school and I felt safe, for the first time in so long, I felt safe, and I felt like someone actually cared about whether I was happy at school.
            From what I’ve heard of state schools I doubt that I would have felt as safe. My school and the people in it have allowed me to break out of my shell and allowed me to become the self confident person that I am today.
            That is what I am using to defend my school, a plea to people to see things from the point of view from someone. Who was badly bullied at his previous 2 schools, to the point where I had to have four stitches in my head, and needed somewhere to go where people would accept me for who I was. That is what my school has given me.

          • March 31, 2013 at 11:32 pm

            “The problem I think, which is fundamental in this debate is that each Steiner school has its own individual ethos, yours is an example of the extreme.”

            What part of WALDORF TEACHER TRAINING CENTER didn’t you comprehend?

            “Personally I live in England, where unlike what Andy will tell you we do have to have legal inspections that every school goes through.”

            The racist teacher was TRAINED IN ENGLAND. YOU sent her here to train our teachers! Why don’t you take her back?

            “The only reason I have been defending Steiner schools is that for me personally it has provided a safe environment.”

            I’m sure Nazi Germany provided a safe environment for a lot of people “personally”. Your personal safety is hardly the point is it?

          • Harry
            April 1, 2013 at 12:10 am

            Nazi Germany would have gassed and burnt me for being a homosexual. No matter what some lunatic from the GOP will tell you, about the brown coats being gay.

          • April 1, 2013 at 12:23 am

            “Nazi Germany would have gassed and burnt me for being a homosexual. No matter what some lunatic from the GOP will tell you, about the brown coats being gay.”

            I didn’t say you personally would be safe in Nazi Germany. Are you having trouble understanding me? Is English your second language?

            “The Glasgow just happens to be in the UK.”

            How does that explain arson?

          • Harry
            April 1, 2013 at 1:27 am

            I am done appealing to your better natures and trying to make you understand that people in Steiner education aren’t all, mad hippies. Pete I understand your case has caused you distress, but your method of arguing your points shows your emotional attachment and willful hatred of anything Steiner. Your not providing objective opinions just claiming we’re all mad monsters, which some people may take personal offence to. I am tired of willful hatred. I have told you my experience of the Steiner education providing me a safe place to be myself if that isn’t good enough for you that’s your problem. The state system has so far to go before they wipe out homophobic bullying or any other form of bullying. But the my Steiner school at least has achieved this. I am proud of that and have tried to show you this, but no attack after attack on how i’m blind, I’m being misled. I have a brain, I am socially aware and can tell when someone is disgusted by someone else. I am not a child. I hope someday you’ll see that not everyone in the Steiner system takes his word as gospel. That you are able to open your minds to different ideas and that you can read and entire comment before passing judgement. Most importantly that you can forgive those you’ve done wrong to in the future, I hope they will be as willing to forgive you. That last comment was directed at Andy.
            Goodbye.

          • Harry
            April 1, 2013 at 12:18 am

            My school does not teach this, that is all I’m trying to tell you that as a Steiner student, in England. I am disgusted by racism like anyone else. We’re not all like that. That’s all I’m saying. Jees I know your situation is horrible and I am also disgusted by their behavior as a compassionate human being. I’m not defending the people who have caused you so much distress!

          • April 1, 2013 at 2:04 am

            “Jees I know your situation is horrible”

            It was a lot worse. My kids are recovering now. My daughter is safe and clean and visits me every week. My sons are with me but struggle. None of them have much to do with their mother. Who can blame them?
            “I am disgusted by racism like anyone else. We’re not all like that. That’s all I’m saying.”

            The people at Highland Hall don’t think they’re like that either… go figure…

            “I’m not defending the people who have caused you so much distress!”

            If you’re calling them separate from ALL Anthroposophists, you’re definitely doing exactly that. Everything they did and taught is justified in Steiner’s sick philosophy.

          • March 31, 2013 at 11:42 pm

            “An example of the opposite extreme is when a Steiner school in Glasgow was burnt down and a Bio-dynamic farm in the north of Europe.”

            You’re the second person who has claimed this was arson. So far, I haven’t read this in the papers. Can you confirm where you read this?

          • Harry
            April 1, 2013 at 12:06 am

            The Glasgow just happens to be in the UK.

          • March 31, 2013 at 9:02 am

            Come on Andy – that’s a bit catch-22. The fact that you don’t know about it just shows how insidious it is?

            It’s like that old playground joke:

            Why do elephants paint their toenails red?

            - So that they can hide in cherry trees. Have you ever seen an elephant hiding in a cherry tree?

            No.

            - Shows how good it is!

          • March 31, 2013 at 4:12 pm

            Frida,

            They taught exactly that lesson to my child. AND, when confronted, they DEFENDED the lesson. The teacher is still teaching in Waldorf… presumably the same lesson. http://thewaldorfreview.blogspot.com/search?q=racism

            Maybe you were absent on the day they taught this lesson?

          • Frida
            March 31, 2013 at 4:27 pm

            Then I sinceraly apologise for your bad experience with that teacher, she should not have taught that lesson, it is wrong. But no, I was not taught such a lesson, and I have been in six steiner school, all over the world. By siblings have also never experienced this, and if I was absent on such a day, my friends would have told me about it.

          • A Giraffe
            March 28, 2013 at 9:52 pm

            Because I attend one. I would have thought that was obvious.

  26. Elizabeth
    March 26, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Ok :) I think the best way for you to be sure is to visit a Steiner school, look around and speak to some of their students. Thats how a lot of people I know made up their minds about whether it was the right education for their child. From what they’ve told me they really liked the matureness in the ways in which the students approached their questions and the general atmosphere of the school.

  27. Elizabeth
    March 26, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    The aim of every school is to educate children, whatever the way they approach this. By having conversations with students it’s easy to tell how well educated they are. Thats why you should visit the school. My point has nothing to do with anything spiritual aims.

    • Andy Lewis
      March 26, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      I would challenge this with Steiner Schools. His primary goal was on of spiritual incarnation and development and would deliberatly hold back learning if he believed it interfered with his occult aims.

      Steiner Schools still follow the same delayed teaching for the same reason.

      Also, the teaching of pseudoscience – e.g. biodynamics – is not education – it is miseducation.

      • A Giraffe
        March 26, 2013 at 7:35 pm

        Incorrect. The aim is to educate, no one has ever been pulled out of their exams at my school because it “interfered” with their spiritual development or anything like that. I don’t claim to be an expert on Rudolph Steiner, but I have a lot of experience at steiner schools, and believe me I have never encountered that aspect in the modern steiner curriculum. As for pseudoscience, no it is not taught. I’m afraid, Andy that your sources are incorrect; just because the children are taught gardening in the early years hardly means they are indoctrinated with Steiners’s “occult” beliefs.

        • Andy Lewis
          March 26, 2013 at 8:40 pm

          Are you sure you would know pseudoscience if you encountered it?

          As for my sources, they are recent Steiner Teacher Training reading lists. Absolutely riddled with nonsense.

          If this nonsense is taught to you as fact, are you sure you would know how to recognise it?

          Perhaps you ought to read some Rudolf Steiner before saying you know what is going on.

          • A Giraffe
            March 26, 2013 at 8:45 pm

            I know what is going on because i attend a steiner school, not because i read a book about what steiner education is suposedly about. I would know because i passed my science exams with high grades last year, and unless the examiners were accepting “pseudoscience” answers on the exam paper, I would say I know bullshit when i see it and am familiar enough with “real” science to tell the difference.

          • Harry
            March 26, 2013 at 8:52 pm

            If the child is under 11 I do not see what difference it would make.FOURTH time! We obviously have access to internet, so what makes you think, consistently, that if we were truly interested in gardening and farming practices, we wouldn’t simply look it up on the internet or get a book from a local council library.

      • Elizabeth
        March 26, 2013 at 8:08 pm

        None of those subjects are taught at Steiner schools. Steiner Pupils learn Science from government approved textbooks and from qualified teachers like any other school.

        Saying he would ‘deliberately hold back learning if he believed it interfered with his occult aims’ cannot be justified. He was obviously an informed person who would not hold back learning for no reason. He clearly explains the reason for waiting till a certain age to teach literacy, for example. English schools may start at the age of 4 but you will find it is quite normal to wait till the age of 7 to start learning to read and write in many other countries. Rather then being taken away from playing and forced behind a desk at 4, it has been proved that by the age of 7 a child naturally shows interest in learning to read and therefore does so much quicker of their own initiative.

        • Andy Lewis
          March 26, 2013 at 8:34 pm

          Elizabeth.

          I have seen Steiner Teacher Science textbooks – recent ones. they describe how the heart is not a pump and how humans have evolved to be bipedal to allow us to prey.

          Rudolf Steiner was a mystic barmpot. His ‘insights’ were through clairvoyance and his methods were for spiritial reasons. He claimed reading should be delayed so as not to interfere with the incarnation of the etheric spiritual body. He did not say reading should be held back for pedagogical reasons but for spiritual reasons. Do you dispute this?

          Can you name any insight that Steiner and Anthroposophy has given the world that is justifiable and unique to Steiner?

          • Mike
            March 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm

            These ridiculous textbooks are not used at our school. Neither are any of the ideas you just outlined taught. Fact.

          • Harry
            March 26, 2013 at 8:43 pm

            Dear god do you honestly think that my School the Michael Hall Steiner School would have got an outstanding rating from Offsted, in recent years, if we were taught that. I can give you a reference number to one of the books if you really want, which by the way is the AQA IGCSE Science text book. Has AQA suddenly turned Steiner? I had no idea! Or is it a legitimate exam board used all over the country?Hmm?

          • A Giraffe
            March 26, 2013 at 8:54 pm

            Thank you for the backup, Harry, I entirely agree.

          • Andy Lewis
            March 26, 2013 at 9:22 pm

            Harry – except it has not achieved ‘outstanding’ has it? Except in ‘spiritual development’.

          • Harry
            March 26, 2013 at 9:36 pm

            If you want to take that up with Offsted go ahead!
            I did say recent years! May I recommend you visit the school’s website, and be reminded that we were one of the very few schools that passed a higher percentage of people for GCSE’s than the national average, go to Zoe’s comments to get more details on this if the results don’t speak for themselves, then what does Andy?

          • Andy Lewis
            March 27, 2013 at 8:46 am

            Harry – half the schools in the UK have “GCSE’s higher than the national average”. Not a ‘very few’. Perhaps, mathematics was not one of the subjects taught well at the school.

          • Harry
            March 26, 2013 at 9:40 pm

            If you do visit the website, click on. Why Michael Hall? then click on Ethos, you should find all the holistic and spiritual jargon your looking for on their, by the way it’s a dowloadable page. Are they still lying now Andy?

          • Frida
            March 26, 2013 at 11:32 pm

            I am doing A-Level Biology… I know that the heart is a pump…

          • Andy Lewis
            March 27, 2013 at 8:35 am

            I met an anthroposophist associated with a school a few weeks ago who denied the heart was a pump and said science had proven this.

          • Frida
            March 27, 2013 at 11:16 pm

            I’m learning from an AQA A-level textbook, take it up with them. If science has proven it, fine, ok, science is disproving and proving things all the time, in my text book it says the heart is a pump. What did you tell this anthroposophist?

          • Andy Lewis
            March 27, 2013 at 11:38 pm

            I thanked him for his honesty.

            Do you believe Steiner that the heart is not a pump or the science that it is?

          • A Giraffe
            March 27, 2013 at 11:57 pm

            I didn’t realise that the option of the heart not being a pump was even on the table here; you’re the only one who has brought that up in the first place so stop trying to push that view on us. Frida has clearly stated more than once that the heart is a pump, and yes I concur, naturally.

          • Harry
            March 28, 2013 at 12:18 am

            My personal ability in mathematics, has little to do with this argument. As I have spent most of my education, bar the past 5 years, in an educational system in a different country, it is more a reflection on their ability to teach maths than my current steiner school’s. I was predicted to get a D in my GCSE exam,but due to my own hard work and with help from the teachers, I managed to get a C, which the highest I could have gotten as I took the foundation paper.

          • Frida
            March 28, 2013 at 2:45 pm

            We learn form board-approved text books, and are not taught anthroposophy, so in conclusion I learn that the heart is a pump.

  28. Badly Shaved Monkey
    March 26, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Quite hard to keep up with all these posts from Steiner students.

    All of you seem very keen to explain how good your schools are precisely because they have, in your view, nothing to do with Steiner’s founding philosophy. None of you has given any clear account as to how the systematic separation of your schools’ teaching methods from Steiner’s ideas has been achieved. Or has it been achieved. Some of you have been taught that gnomes exist, but you don’t regard this as either problematic or indicative that the school teaches some very odd ideas.

    • Mike
      March 26, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      Last time i checked, we haven’t been taught gnomes exist. Children have imaginations, people aren’t “taught” that Santa Clause exists are they?

      • Frida
        March 26, 2013 at 11:28 pm

        Or the tooth-fairy, OR the easter bunny! Anyway, all of these “creatures” are products of children’s imaginations! Funnily enough, dwarves and elves are written about (see The Lord of the RIngs) by and adult, but i don’t see you slandering him… Hmmm… And anyway it is a SCHOOL! We learn to read and write, do maths, speak our minds… If that is achieved in slightly different ways than how you learned to do all that, is that so wrong?

  29. Isla Beebach
    March 27, 2013 at 12:16 am

    I guess it must be past bedtime now for the kiidy-winks.

    • Isla Beebach
      March 27, 2013 at 12:17 am

      Remove superflous “i” – substitute missing “d”.

    • Mike
      March 27, 2013 at 12:28 am

      And that is contributing what to this discussion?

  30. March 27, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Mike, thanks for pointing us to the ethos and aims document at the Michael Hall school website. I found it under Why Michael Hall->About Us->Our Ethos and Aims. While phrases like “reverence” and “cosmic rhythms” do raise an eyebrow, I see nothing else in this document that is specific to Steiner education. The rest of it: the importance of community, encouraging initiative, each child realising its own potential, could be found in the mission statement for any school. Other schools even talk about the importance of balancing spiritual, physical and intellectual welfare.

    I was visiting the library of my local education faculty the other day. I noticed the large number of books on conventional education with titles like “the child as an individual”, “the importance of play” and so on. There is nothing unusual or controversial about many of these aspects of Steiner education.

    So what makes Steiner education unique? What defines it? Anthroposophy.

    If Steiner school websites referenced a document like Ronald Koetzsch’s Anthroposophy 101: http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/07_Community/documents/Anthroposophy101_000.pdf and explained how these concepts find their practical application in the school, much of the criticism and confusion would simply disappear. But so, I fear, would many of their customers.

    • March 27, 2013 at 8:22 am

      Sorry, the previous comment was addressed to Harry. By the way, I’m not suggesting that Michael Hall (or any other school) do not achieve the aims set out in that document. Just that if you’re looking for an explanation of the spiritual basis on Steiner education, this isn’t it.

      • Harry
        March 28, 2013 at 12:23 am

        My personal ability in mathematics, has little to do with this argument. As I have spent most of my education, bar the past 5 years, in an educational system in a different country, it is more a reflection on their ability to teach maths than my current steiner school’s. I was predicted to get a D in my GCSE exam,but due to my own hard work and with help from the teachers, I managed to get a C, which the highest I could have gotten as I took the foundation paper.

        • March 28, 2013 at 9:51 am

          Harry,

          “My personal ability in mathematics, has little to do with this argument.”
          Agreed, I’m not sure why you mentioned it?

          But since you’ve shared a personal experience, so will I.

          I moved to a different high school at age 15, one year before taking GCSEs. At the first school I was predicted to get a C/D in English Literature. We were fed the standard national curriculum diet of Shakespeare, Sassoon’s war poetry, Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men etc. Now 25 years later I appreciate those things, but aged 15 I wasn’t ready for them.

          At the second school I was allowed instead to write reviews of books I had read in my own time on subjects I was interested in. I got an A.

          Both schools were mainstream inner city, state schools in the UK.

          It’s just possible that mainstream schools aren’t all inflexible exam factories, despite what Steiner schools and their apologists will tell you.

        • Harry
          March 28, 2013 at 10:29 am

          Sorry for the confusion this was a response to a previous comment.

    • Harry
      March 28, 2013 at 1:00 am

      The Ethos You get on the website, is the ethos you get at the school.
      If you want to know what is unique about the school here are a few things.

      Firstly generally other schools do not have the option of doing crafts, which offer opportunities for self expression, whilst at the same time learning another skill.

      Secondly the mainlessons, which cover a wide range of topics from politics to myths and legends, allows the student to learn about subjects that they otherwise would not have done, in an education where they are only taught their exam subjects.

      Thirdly its focus on the arts allows alot of self expression as drama is not only taught as an AS subject, but also sometimes within mainlessons (always at the start of the day) and at other times. The school believes that the arts are important as they help the individuals to learn more about themselves and their pier group.Improving their social awareness and physical awareness.

      Lastly in my experience this provides for a mostly calm atmosphere, with less stress. I’m not saying that there is no stress, and at times tensions run high, this is to be expected, due to the stress of exams which are unavoidable. It would be unreasonable to state otherwise. Bullying is rare, personally I think this is due to the openness of the teaching, which explores many different cultures and religions, also something less heard of in other forms of education. More importantly this is where I think the education excels as phobia against the LGBTQ community is unheard of and untolerated. Something which is yet to be seen in the state system.

      • Andy Lewis
        March 28, 2013 at 8:59 am

        Nothing you have described is that distinctive.

        In my school, we studied comparitive religions, we had very good art teachers, we were encouraged to do drama both in lessons and outside school hours. We did pottery, metalwork and woodwork.

        You fail to understand why your education is different. Let me suggest a few ways:

        - the types of art you do are constrained by superstitious beliefs. Washes etc.
        - you learn about myths etc as they form part of Steiner’s pseudo-history.
        - you do eurythmy – a dance form with superstitious meaning
        - you were stereotyped according to a proto-psychological and pseudoscientific classification system developed in ancient Greece.
        - Your education was delayed (reading, technology etc) because of beliefs that it would spiritually unbalance you and perhaps cause illness.

        And so on.

        Most of these things would have been invisible to you. You did not know these superstitious beliefs were influencing what happened.

        That is what is unique about Steiner Schools – their occult and spiritual goals.

        • Harry
          March 28, 2013 at 10:45 am

          You obviously have little understanding of modern state schools , for as far as I can tell none do craft work in as much depth as they do within the steiner curriculum, also may I point out that years ago state schools did do craft work. That was a good few years now.How on earth you can say that the childs creativity is restrained I do not understand, the schools reasons for using the watercolours is that they are made out of natural products something which the school is very open about supporting.
          There is no cult and the spiritual beleifs of Steiner are not forced upon us. We are open to them, but they are not forced on us.

          • Andy Lewis
            March 28, 2013 at 11:42 am

            Why don’t you go and visit some and find out for yourself?

            You say the occult beliefs were not forced on you.

            Did you do lots of eurythmy?
            Was your teaching of reading delayed?
            Did you visit a school anthroposophical doctor?
            Did you take homeopathy?
            Were the choices of art materials restricted?
            Were you taught myths and legends?
            Did you hear about the gnomes, used faceless dolls, had paper with the edges rounded off?

            If so, then the occult beliefs were forced upon you.

          • A Giraffe
            March 28, 2013 at 9:43 pm

            So,
            Did you ever attend a church service?
            Did you ever hear a passage from the bible?
            Have you seen the Pope on TV?
            Have you ever been to a church?
            Have you ever held a Bible?
            Then Christianity has been forced on you.

            See, this game is easy.

          • March 29, 2013 at 12:24 am

            Are you really comparing the cloaked spiritual rituals of a Steiner School, undisclosed to pupils and parents, as being the same as see the Pope on TV?

            If I have ever been in a church then it was clear I was entering a religious establishment and I was doing so in such knowledge. A pupil in a Steiner school has no such agency – you are the plaything of of someone with fantasies about reincarnation.

          • A Giraffe
            March 29, 2013 at 12:54 am

            So when you enter a school that says “Steiner” on the sign, it’s not obvious you’re entering a Steiner school?

          • March 29, 2013 at 9:56 am

            But a Church does not hide it is a place of spiritual belief – a Steiner School does.

          • Johanna
            March 30, 2013 at 7:37 pm

            Ctually a Steiner school doesn’t. There a hell of a lot of infomation out there about Steiner and Anthroposophy. When will you see that Steiner schools are not these evil, secretive cults who practice dangerous religions and dance around fires? Just because Steiner schools are different from mainstream schools why do you need to attack them? Is it because out can’t deal with anything that is slightly different from the regular straightforward schools whose main aims are too churn out highly academic students who have been taught that if you don’t do well in their exams they are stupid? Just because Steiner schools are different DOES NOT mean they are bad and dangerous, Andy Lewis you are blowing this way out of proportion.

        • zoe
          March 28, 2013 at 12:12 pm

          I think you may have forgotten that your old now, and education has changed, the main focus now a days is academic, unless you persue art. one is not so much partispating in a creative education. the education you had doesn’t so much happen any more, and especially not in 6th form. in a steiner school, we have our exams and along side crafts, which gives a break to the brain which has to constantly remember, for exams. other activities allow us to develope other talents.

          • Harry
            March 28, 2013 at 3:45 pm

            Your obviously not reading my comments in full as I have told you already that I have spent the large majority of my education in both public and private schools in France. Where there were no crafts or opportunities for creativity at a young age, so my reading was not delayed and I did not experience the schools education for the younger years as I have already mentioned I started in class6, which is year7 in state schools. In class 6 to 8 I had very little eurythmics lessons as we were taught the basics to ballroom dancing. I now do have Eurythmy, but just because I do Eurythmy does not mean I am an anthroposophist or hold Rudolf Steiner beliefs and texts as gospel, as I have also previously mentioned in Eurythmy we as a class merely roll our eyes and get on with it. Looking like fools waving our arms around isn’t our favourite activity. This one negative outways the many positives of a MODERN Steiner curriculum, which allows the students to use self expression as a learning tool. The only restrictions are that the child uses natural colours and paints. At my school I have the freedom to be who I am without judgement that is the main aim of the education. To provide a safe, supportive learning environment which leads to self confident individuals, who can stand up for their rights, in my case it has provided me the ability to be out and proud.

          • Anne
            March 28, 2013 at 4:07 pm

            ‘in Eurythmy we as a class merely roll our eyes and get on with it. Looking like fools waving our arms around isn’t our favourite activity.’ Harry this is doing nothing for your argument.

          • Harry
            March 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm

            Andy – I did visit the school doctor once, who recommended I learn figure drawing to increase my awareness of my body, as I have disbractsia and am flat footed. I duely ignored this and have never seen the school doctor again as seeing the doctor is optional. The only herbal treatment I have ever taken at the school was a little arnica cream to reduce swelling and brusing, which can be found in health shops such as holland and Barrets. Other than that I have not taken any homeopathic medicine. Your point about myths and legends has to do with what exactly. We are taught how they have become myth and legend and the symbolism and metaphors within the myth. This highly connects to English literature as you have to understand the writers intention behind his imagery.

          • Harry
            March 28, 2013 at 4:14 pm

            Anne have you read my next sentence? I go on to say that this one negative point is far outweighed by the positives of a modern Steiner curriculum.

          • Anne
            March 28, 2013 at 4:22 pm

            the child doesn’t use natural colours and paints, and they are restricted at first only because its healthy that a child learns that when they go into school there does need to be some control and that they can’t have everything and anything they want. Your comments are becoming eratic and a bit vague, be careful that you don’t do more harm than good in your defense of Steiner education.

  31. A Giraffe
    March 28, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Of course by your pattern of argument, your next post will be to tell me that if I know nothing of anthroposophy to stay out of this, or something to that effect. However I repeat; I argue for Steiner education from a practical stand pojnt from first hand experience. Therefore I would ask you to alter your response in accordance with the topic and not avoid it.

    • Andy Lewis
      March 28, 2013 at 8:48 am

      And my point is that you cannot understand what a Steiner School is unless you understand anthropoophy. And that without that understanding parents and even pupils are being misled as the nature of what is happening to them.

      Your ‘first hand experience’ maybe just that experience of the misled.

      • Johanna
        March 28, 2013 at 3:17 pm

        I’d like to ask you why this is so important to you? Most people wouldn’t spend so much time and energy on something they have such an aversion to. And don’t give us any shtick about being mislead because I can tell you that there is so much freedom for students to express themselves at a Steiner school and there is no preaching. I believe that you need to also see, if you can, that there actually are positive aspects to Steiner Education. As I said before, nothing is one dimensional.

        • March 29, 2013 at 4:19 am

          Steiner schools are dishonest about what they teach and why they teach it. Eurythmy, for example, was the very embodiment of Anthroposophy to Steiner. Sure, say you’re just waving your arms around like idiots, but try to start a Steiner school without including Eurythmy… it’s not going to happen.

          You may say you’ve never heard of Anthroposophy… That’s fine… it just proves your school is doing exactly what Steiner told them to do. You may say Steiner schools aren’t racist, but some DO in fact, teach racism as science. You may say there’s no bullying in your schools, but Steiner schools are famous for bullying children AND parents AND even their own teachers.

          It really doesn’t matter what you say, it’s nothing more than what you’ve experienced personally. We have heard from hundreds and hundreds of people who have described Steiner schools exactly as critics have described them. Seriously, nobody’s going to waste their time making up complaints about good schools. These aren’t good schools – and the people who run them lie routinely to parents and the public. Liars and children don’t mix.

  32. A Giraffe
    March 28, 2013 at 12:34 am

    Well, I’m afraid I am not confident enough on the subject to explain, and if you ask Andy he will just tell you it is superstition. If you want the “real” definition of what anthroposophy is meant to be I guess you’ll have to Google it… just trying to be fair here, not contradict anyone’s view or belief, that’s all.

  33. A Giraffe
    March 28, 2013 at 12:35 am

    I’m afraid I am not confident enough on the subject to explain, and if you ask Andy he will just tell you it is superstition. If you want the “real” definition of what anthroposophy is meant to be I guess you’ll have to Google it… just trying to be fair here, not contradict anyone’s view or belief, that’s all.

  34. March 28, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Hmm. C of E schools generally have a good reputation, and agnostic parents still want to get their children into one. What is the difference in principle between those and Anthroposophical schools? Or are you against faith schools as well?
    If the philosophy (whether you believe it or not) leads to committed teachers and a good learning atmosphere, then I can see no harm in it.
    [DoI: my daughters went to a very good C of E school, despite the oldest stating clearly that she was an atheist at interview.]

  35. March 28, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Hmm. C of E schools generally have a good reputation, and agnostic parents still want to get their children into one. What is the difference in principle between those and Anthroposophical schools? Or are you against faith schools as well?
    If the philosophy (whether you believe it or not) leads to committed teachers and a good learning atmosphere, then I can see no harm in it.
    [DoI: my daughters went to a very good C of E school, despite the oldest stating clearly that she was an atheist at interview.]

    • Andy Lewis
      March 28, 2013 at 8:40 am

      One word: openness.

  36. March 29, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Andy, on this one I think you’ve misjudged the matter.

    From the arguments so far:

    (1) Many people find Steiner Schools to provide a good education (no argument so far has provided any uncontested figures about Steiner Schools in general vs mainstream schools in terms of outcomes);
    (2) Andy argues against them because of lack of ‘openness;’ but
    (3) that puts Steiner Schools in a cleft stick because either they do indoctrinate children in their ideology (which is assumed bad) or else they don’t (which opens them to a charge of lack of openness);
    (4) It has been claimed in this discussion that what they actually do is explain the Steiner principles and beliefs when the children are considered old enough to make an informed judgement of their own.

    As regards openness to parents, it is fairly obvious to me when I meet Steinerists that they have attitudes that are different from the mainstream (I have not visited a Steiner School but I have visited an NHS medical practice run by Steinerists and it was both impressive and also obviously different – even just looking at the purply pink walls and wishy-washy pictures). The works of Steiner and information about Anthroposophy are readily available. If parents do not wish to know about these things that is up to them, but I see no evidence of concealment, and you would have to be daft as a brush not to realise that they have some sort of non-mainstream philosophy.

    Also re the document linked to earlier (Steiner 101) – I can see nothing wrong with promoting harmony and human spiritual development, and I don’t mind much whether that is underpinned by a belief in nine orders of angels or praying to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as long as children are encouraged to think for themselves.

    While I am on a roll here I’d like to add that my primary school teacher believed that her dog was the reincarnation of her previous dog, however she told us this with the caveat that that was just her view and we should make up our own minds about such things. I can’t say that this incident has scarred me for life.

  37. Badly Shaved Monkey
    March 29, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Steiner kids, I’m going to pick up once again in your inability to follow the arguments being presented.

    Andy said;

    I do not focus on saying Steiner was bad, but that modern Steiner Schools are bad for not being transparent in what they believe and do.

    You two said;

    Actually you have very explicitly stated several times that Steiner was “bad”

    And you do say Steiner is “bad” as A Giraffe pointed out

    Please pay attention. The key word in Andy’s statement was “focus”. The focus of these blogs is on the misrepresentation of steinerism and the underpinning philosophy of the school.

    Separately, evidence has been produced on these blogs that Steiner’s beliefs were, indeed, bad, particularly in their insidious racism.

    Andy was not denying that you could infer from his blogs that he holds Steiner’s philosophy to be bad. He was denying that this is the main focus of what we are discussing here.

    It has been a characteristic of all the exchanges here recently that the steinerists have consistently missed the point and grasped the wrong end of various sticks. This appears deliberate in some cases, unintentional in others, but it has been consistent.

    For final clarification, the issue at hand is that Steiner schools base their teaching on Steiner’s beliefs. These include a number of features that no one on the Steiner is choosing to defend and yet you cannot or will not show how these features have been addressed honestly and with proper self-awareness by Steiner schools. Indeed, to an outsider, the exchanges of comments of this particular page lend support to exactly what Andy has been saying: anthroposophy imbues Steiner education and the ramifications of this are inapparent to the students and, probably , their parents.

    I shall ask once again, how and where is this “MODERN” steinerist education defined and differentiated from Steiner’s teachings ? How is tis reflected in the texts and manuals that underpin the teaching in Steiner schools ?

  38. A Giraffe
    March 29, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    *can’t

  39. Badly Shaved Monkey
    March 29, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Mike the Giraffe

    You are walking a well-trodden path with your irrelevant meta-argument. Here again is what you have been asked and which any steinerista is free to answer;

    How and where is “MODERN” steinerist education defined and differentiated from Steiner’s teachings ? How is this reflected in the texts and manuals that underpin the teaching in Steiner schools ?

    • Harry
      March 31, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      “The school is run with a college of teachers meeting weekly to determine educational policy, a Council of management responsible for business matters, and an Administrator providing day-day management.” In other words the teachers are in constant discussion about how the school should be run and there educational policies which has allowed them to move away from old anthroposophical ideals. The quote is from a leaflet given to parents when they arrive.

      • April 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm

        “The quote is from a leaflet given to parents when they arrive.”

        Well, it must be true then.

  40. Badly Shaved Monkey
    March 29, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    I’m going to put this at the bottom. Sorry for the repetition.

    Mike the Giraffe

    You are walking a well-trodden path with your irrelevant meta-argument. Here again is what you have been asked and which any steinerista is free to answer;

    How and where is “MODERN” steinerist education defined and differentiated from Steiner’s teachings ? How is this reflected in the texts and manuals that underpin the teaching in Steiner schools ?

  41. Andrew Gilbey
    March 30, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Slight change of tack, but have any Steiner pupils ever gone to achieve anything of any interest? Like medical doctor, scientist, explorer, sports person, MMM fighter, composer, inventor, journalist, celebrity, writer, professor, chess grand master, blogger with their own site, vicar, policeman, soldier, round the world sailer, politician, astronaut, rapper, etc.

    • Frida
      March 30, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      Sure there are, aslo many of my friends are going on to study medicine, law, history and bio-chemistry, to name a few people and subjects.
      Also people like Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock, Prof. Dr. Wolf-Christian Dullo, Bella and Esther Freud (they attended my steiner school, daughters of Lucien Freud), Thomas Kagermann, Kristanna Loken, Carey Mulligan, John Fitzallen Moore, Jennifer Rush, Jens Stoltenberg, Sean Yates are but a few of famous Steiner alumnis.
      Aslo Silvio Berlusconi sent his daughter to one, John Byrne and Tilda Swinton sent their children to one too, as did Harrison Ford, John Paul Jones, Paul Newman, Russell Schweickart.

      • Andrew Gilbey
        March 31, 2013 at 7:55 am

        Quite a few actors and arty types there. Well that must be okay then. Not sure I recognize many other names, though. Berlusconi – it’s really funny that you use him as an example, known as he is for good choices.

        • Frida
          March 31, 2013 at 3:32 pm

          He is still a politician, though i do confess not the best one, but he is still a parent and wants the best for his children… Jens Stoltenberg for instance is the prime minister of norway. Thomas Kagermann is a jazz violinist, Prof. Dr Wolf-Christian Dullo is a famous oceanographer, etc… Do you know belive steiner alumni can achieve something of “any Interest?”

          • March 31, 2013 at 7:31 pm

            Waldorf education’s inane celebrity adoration never fails to surprise me.

      • April 2, 2013 at 3:17 pm

        1. 1000 Waldorf schools worldwide…
        2. Operating for over 100 years…

        And look at the puny list of accomplished people? They have to embellish the list by adding the children of accomplished people (who never attended Waldorf but have bought into the hype like everyone else).

        Seriously… where are the accomplished Waldorf-educated people? There must be literally thousands and thousands by now.

        • zoe
          April 2, 2013 at 4:01 pm

          If any one is interested or didnt try googling, this is a list of famous Steiner people………..

          http://www.diewaldorfs.waldorf.net/list.html

          • Frida
            April 2, 2013 at 4:29 pm

            Thanks for clarifying that! I really couldn’t be bothered to write down all the Steiner alumni that achieved something.

  42. Badly Shaved Monkey
    March 31, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Johanna (and Frida)

    Steiner’s views are radical and taken out of the context (and by this I mean if you haven’t read all of Steiner’s lectures as a whole) and can sound disturbing, but Steiner schools do not follow every aspect of Steiner’s teachings and views.

    Radical doesn’t mean what you think it means. Radical means going to the root (radix) of something. Steiner did that, but that is not the nature of the criticism. We do not criticise him for being radical. We criticise him for being wrong. And dangerously so.

    I am confused. What is the “context” that we should take into account and makes Steiner’s racism acceptable?

    Steinerists here have been asked repeatedly for evidence for a systematic process of dealing with the worst aspects of Steiner’s views. None has been forthcoming. Pete K has given evidence of racism in steinerism in the modern world. Steiner stands as the unimpeachable guru whose works are holy writ and beyond criticism. Can you demonstrate that this is not true?

  43. Badly Shaved Monkey
    March 31, 2013 at 8:08 am

    The following appeared further up the thread “out of context”;

    Johanna (and Frida)

    Steiner’s views are radical and taken out of the context (and by this I mean if you haven’t read all of Steiner’s lectures as a whole) and can sound disturbing, but Steiner schools do not follow every aspect of Steiner’s teachings and views.

    Radical doesn’t mean what you think it means. Radical means going to the root (radix) of something. Steiner did that, but that is not the nature of the criticism. We do not criticise him for being radical. We criticise him for being wrong. And dangerously so.

    I am confused. What is the “context” that we should take into account and makes Steiner’s racism acceptable?

    Steinerists here have been asked repeatedly for evidence for a systematic process of dealing with the worst aspects of Steiner’s views. None has been forthcoming. Pete K has given evidence of racism in steinerism in the modern world. Steiner stands as the unimpeachable guru whose works are holy writ and beyond criticism. Can you demonstrate that this is not true?

    [Its appearance "out of context" doesn't alter the validity of the arguments. Do you see how that works?]

    • Harry
      March 31, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      The fact that you A don’t know that it’s extremely difficult for the human body to disguise disgust B that you think that any school in the modern system would even support any form of racism in the EU, after the horrors of the concentration camps in WW2, in which many gay people were also killed. C the fact that you aren’t listening to the full arguments over all the comments and repeating the points, also starting to become patronising and personal, makes you look like the biggest fool on the planet. I have already said that we do not take his word as gospel and the school only takes fundamental beliefs that work within the modern system. “We shouldn’t ask: what does a person need to know or be able to do in order to fit into the existing social order?” Rather we should ask what capacities are latent in each individual and what can be developed? Only then can each emergent generation invigorate society with its new forces. Society will then become what young people, as whole human beings, make out of the existing social conditions. The new generation should not just be made to become what present society wants it to become.” Rudolf Steiner in other words don’t be a sheep and have your own opinions, on social and political views. Which if we take into account when he was writing and where he was writing, the social and political views weren’t exactly positive, anyone who has done English literature knows of the importance of historical context.

      • Andy Lewis
        March 31, 2013 at 4:07 pm

        Harry – which of Steiner’s “fundamental beliefs work within the modern system.”?

        • Harry
          March 31, 2013 at 11:53 pm

          The main belief that we shouldn’t follow what everyone says like a sheep and be open to different ideas. Accepting people as they are and caring about the child’s welfare and way of learning, not just their grades. In my experience, the school doesn’t take bullying lightly and when it comes LGBT phobia there is a 0 tolerance policy amongst the students and teachers, the main point being among the students. That is what I believe to be the difference when my school says it is accepting of everyone no matter what, it means not only within the staff but within the student body every student cares about their pears. This is mainly due to numbers, having a small number of students in one class is a school policy. In general state schools have far more pupils per class, which makes learning less interactive between Teacher and pupil.

  44. March 31, 2013 at 11:56 am

    One question is whether the beliefs that Steiner held which we now consider racist are still held by Steinerists.

    It is a mistake to judge a previous age by modern standards, particularly when knowledge of genetics has moved on so dramatically.

    Mme Blavatsky had some theory about different races carrying the role of human spiritual advancement in different epochs. Such theories were not unusual at that time. Now we know that human beings are genetically much more similar to each other than we previously realised, and that the whole concept of race is scientifically doubtful at best. That was not known then, and the globalisation of culture was also at a much earlier stage. I therefore think that, although Steiner’s racial theories (as presented in this comment thread) are simply wrong, it is anachronistic to label those theories racist in the context in which they were first expressed.

    The question, then, is whether Steinerists still hold these beliefs? How much is still ipse dixit (Steiner hat gesagt…) and how much has moved on?

    • Andy Lewis
      March 31, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      Agrippa – Steiner’s racial beliefs had nothing to do with genetics. They were spiritual and supernatural beliefs.

      • April 1, 2013 at 8:50 am

        However arrived at, Steiner’s racial beliefs were wrong. My comments still stand, I think.

  45. Harry
    March 31, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Andy- there is a key phrase in that statement “blanket rebutall,” yes there are teachers at schools that believe in the incarnation of the child over a period of time, however that is seperate from the beleif that it has a racial hierarchy. I may believe in reincarnation but I don’t believe it has a racial hierarchy. My belief in reincarnation has nothing to do with Steiner. It was a personal decision that took place before I entered the Steiner curriculum and my view on reincarnation is more connected to the Buddhist form.

  46. Johanna
    March 31, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    *proof

  47. March 31, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    The question of Steiner’s view on race is a fascinating one. It’s often said by apologists that he was after all, a man of his time and such views weren’t unusual when he made them. That may be true, but neither were they in any way progressive or useful back then either.

    Daisy Powell, who appears in the BBC Inside Out Southwest film on the Frome Steiner Academy, makes some interesting remarks in her dissertation completed as part of the Steiner education BA at Plymouth
    University: http://www.waldorfcritics.org/articles/Daisy-Dissertation.pdf

    She was surprised that many of the Steiner proponents she had corresponded with were unaware of the worst of Steiner’s racist statements [p25]. The controversy is therefore often brushed under the carpet and dismissed as irrelevant to modern day Steiner education.

    I would argue that it is not irrelevant. Not because Steiner schools are hotbeds of hideous discrimination (they’re not) but because some modern day anthroposophists and Steiner teachers take the whole of Steiner’s work seriously and cannot admit that some of it is plain wrong. Take for example Pete’s experiences and the UK SWSF early years co-ordinator alluding to the karmic implications and necessity of being born to a particular race in her advice on multi-culturalism.

    More generally, this is a symptom of the personality cult of Steiner. The words “personality cult” are very deliberate and carefully chosen: this is a world where portraits of Steiner adorn some school walls and Steiner teacher training courses do not give any time to the study of the works of anybody else.

    Yes, he had some very interesting and genuinely useful things to say about education. I would not have considered sending my own child to a Steiner school if that weren’t the case. Unfortunately, there’s a
    whole lot of other baggage that some modern day Steiner teachers can’t let go of, as evidenced by the discussion between the SWSF and Tory education advisors referred to by Andy above. If those teachers (who might even be in the minority) could agree that Steiner was perhaps not infallible and explicitly disavowed the racist content, the weird science and yes, even the gnomes, Steiner education would have a whole lot more going for it.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      March 31, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      And, really, that is all that needs to be said.

      Yet, steinerists queue up to post here and say almost anything except that.

  48. Harry
    March 31, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Dear Pete
    I am so sorry about your situation and what happened of course I would never dream of supporting an institution where that kind of thing was ok. This is an obvious example of where people have gone too far and taken every word from Steiner literally. The problem I think, which is fundamental in this debate is that each Steiner school has its own individual ethos, yours is an example of the extreme. Personally I live in England, where unlike what Andy will tell you we do have to have legal inspections that every school goes through. All members of Staff are CRB checked. The only why my pears and I have been commenting on here is because we found it laughable that situations like yours happened. I do now see that not everyone has the same interpretation of Steiner. The only reason I have been defending Steiner schools is that for me personally it has provided a safe environment. I have always been someone who thrives under more personalised tuition, my school feels more like a family. Every student knows the first name of the teacher, but of course out of respect no one uses them and Miss and Mr flow freely. This does however allow more personalised teaching in the later years. This is where I think my particular school is different from the state schools as the state systems seems to care more about grades than about the actual learning. Whether the state schools do or not, is not the point, it is a fact that the vast majority do, in the UK and France anyway. I am happy to hear about state schools that don’t, however may I remind everyone that a lot has changed in the education sector over the past 30 years, therefore if your over 25 then your likely to have been educted in a very different system than the one I’m experiencing now, which I think is a shame. I hope we can all unanimously agree that Gov is also mucking us about(to put it politely) which has also affected Steiner schools as we have jump through the same hoops as everyone else passed the age of 14. From what I’ve experienced I can say that my school believes in treating everyone as individuals and as a group at the same time, highlighting personal development and making us aware as a group at the same time. The belief that the school holds is that this makes us aware later in life of what is going on around us. For example when the media says, all Muslims are bad, we question it and ask whether it’s the entire community or whether it’s just the extremists. I know that everyone has the potential to do this and certain books, such as The Kite Runner asks the reader to see that not everyone in the Muslim community is evil. In a sense I am asking the same thing of everyone reading this blog.
    There are those who will defend Steiner’s beliefs to the ends of the earth. I and my pears however see, especially in your case how it can go to the extreme. An example of the opposite extreme is when a Steiner school in Glasgow was burnt down and a Bio-dynamic farm in the north of Europe. By defending my education on here I am merely trying to appeal to you to step into my shoes. I was bullied at my two previous schools, I went to my current Steiner school and I felt safe, for the first time in so long, I felt safe, and I felt like someone actually cared about whether I was happy at school.
    From what I’ve heard of state schools I doubt that I would have felt as safe. My school and the people in it have allowed me to break out of my shell and allowed me to become the self confident person that I am today.
    That is what I am using to defend my school, a plea to people to see things from the point of view from someone. Who was badly bullied at his previous 2 schools, to the point where I had to have four stitches in my head, and needed somewhere to go where people would accept me for who I was. That is what my school has given me.

    • Harry
      March 31, 2013 at 10:51 pm

      Sorry don’t know why this has ended up here it was reply to pete.

    • March 31, 2013 at 11:52 pm

      Harry, you should let your pears know that Steiner Schools are inspected by the the School Inspection Service – a body set up to inspect Steiner Schools and run by people intimately involved in Steiner Schools. Don’t expect independence.

  49. Johanna
    April 1, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    This argument is going absolutely nowhere. The fact that Steiner Steiner schools still exist despite all the hate towards them says a lot. If Steiner schools are as awful and evil as you all say they are then why are they still here? Steiner schools must be doing SOMETHING right. They would have died long ago otherwise.

    Badley Shaved Monkey, Pete Karaiskos and Andy Lewis I don’t actually care anymore what you say. I attend a Steiner school, I love it, and I also have a deep belief that Steiner education is one of the brighter, more positive forces in this world. People have a right to decide for themselves what’s right and wrong,everyone is different and has their own opinions and beliefs, but just because you Andy Lewis, make the most noise about what you think (you may say there is evidence, but the evidence is one sided and negative) doesn’t mean that you are necessarily right. People should learn to think for themselves and believe what the want to believe without influence from others like you.

    Anger and hatred lead nowhere, so I’m going to stop commenting, not because I’m giving up but because I refuse let this take over my life, and it is so I’m going to go and do something better with my life. You will continue to pick apart what we say but it doesn’t matter because we are happy with our Steiner education, just like so many other people in the world. You words can’t change much, because Steiner education is worldwide and supported by thousands.

    I would like to say one more thing. What you put out into the world will always come back you. Yes, it’s a saying and you may think it’s ‘quackery’ but in the end you will just have to see for yourselves.

    • May 1, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      “If Steiner schools are as awful and evil as you all say they are then why are they still here? Steiner schools must be doing SOMETHING right. They would have died long ago otherwise.”

      Well, when schools have no regard for ethics, and are willing to lie, baldfaced, to parents, and even in court, they can do a lot WRONG and still survive. They have great PR, let’s face it. They play on parents’ fears of public schools (and any number of other things). They control Wikipedia. And they are, indeed, a cult – so there’s no shortage of volunteers who are willing to spend all day, every day, on the internet publishing the “good news” about Waldorf education.

      If you look at practically ANY discussion list about alternative schools, you will find no shortage of ordinary people have either heard of, or had direct NEGATIVE experiences with Waldorf. Of course, they’re parents, not missionaries for Anthroposophy, so they certainly won’t make as much noise against Waldorf as Anthroposophists do in favor of it.

      “I’m giving up but because I refuse let this take over my life, and it is so I’m going to go and do something better with my life.”

      That’s exactly the attitude of 99% of parents and students who have been harmed by Waldorf. They just want to forget about it and move on. Only a very TINY percentage of those people actually become critics in any sense of the word.

  50. April 13, 2013 at 8:29 am

    You’ve made some decent points there. I checked on the internet for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site.

  51. Kittysurf
    May 11, 2014 at 11:57 am

    I find the comments in the above letter strange. I myself went to a Waldorf school as did my brothers and whilst the schooling system is certainly different to the the mainstream system it is by no means sub par. The Waldorf School I went to only went up to Grade 8 so when I moved to Grade 9 in a mainstream environment I was substantially above the academic grade, so much so that I ended up skipping a grade and finished high school at 16. I was then accepted into my pick of universities, my education was obviously stellar. My brothers were also accepted to the universities of their choice. The reason my parents choose a Waldorf school was because I was quite severely dyslectic and had ADHD. The Waldorf system was flexible and allowed accomodations a main stream school wouldn’t, such as standing at my desk to work instead of sitting and having breaks to do something physical instead of sitting for 6 straight hours a day. I have never known anyone at a Waldorf school have a bad word to say about the education they received and instead of being seen as one on 25 students I was seen as a individual.

  52. Andrew
    September 8, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Most schools are

  53. Andrew
    September 8, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Most Schools are rubbish anyway, if bullying and crime is low. Im approving it.

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