The report shows serious concerns regarding systematic bullying of children by teachers, serious concerns about the underlying philosophy being racist, a culture of secrecy and a refusal by schools to allow themselves to be properly assessed and inspected.
BBC Newsnight have picked up the story and you can see their report above. There are the usual denials and verbatim obscurantism from the schools.
The Steinerists resort to the predictable stance that the reports of bullying are just anecdotal and that the charges of racism are historical. Of course, all schools have to deal with bullying. What we are seeing here though is a pattern – and one that is not easily brushed aside. As for the racism, until such time as the Steiner movement can openly discuss Steiner’s abhorrent racism, admit it is central to his philosophy, they are not going to be believed that it is all in the past.
The Steiner movement did well to get into the programme some well rehearsed supporters. Rachel Black, a parent and an actress, spoke very clearly how bullying had been dealt with at her school. More worryingly, Francis Russell took on Andrew Copson of the British Humanists in a studio debate. She was introduced as a Steiner parent, but is better described as the Policy and Business Director at Greenwich Steiner School. What she had to say was astonishing.
Russell, a former lawyer, said “Anthroposophy is not taught in [Steiner] schools and is there for some adults to guide their lives. It [Anthroposophy] just does not form any part of a modern Steiner School”.
We should remind ourselves of Rudolf Steiner’s exhortation to teachers that it was most important to distance the schools from Anthroposophy even though this was central to their philsophy,
[W]e have to remember that an institution like the Independent Waldorf School with its anthroposophical character, has goals that, of course, coincide with anthroposophical desires. At the moment, though, if that connection were made official, people would break the Waldorf School’s neck.
My concern with Steiner Schools is first and foremost this: that they consistently mislead parents about the Anthroposophical nature of the schools. Steiner Schools are Anthroposophical Schools. They are the living embodiment of anthroposophy in action. Every aspect of their curriculum, structure, daily routine, methods and style stems from Steiner’s crypto-religious occult beliefs. That Schools deny this is shocking. They all do it. They do not want you to join up the dots.
This report comes at a time when revelations in New Zealand have shown that government reports have declared that Steiner education is incompatible with New Zealand values. Why do our government feel that it is OK?
BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘Some of the issues that officials identified in 2010 with respect to independent Steiner schools are extremely serious and systemic. They include accusations of racism and a third being subject to serious complaints of staff bullying of pupils. Coupled with the issues we have seen with the Steiner Academy Hereford teaching pseudoscience, providing homeopathy for pupils and opting out of offering vaccinations, we do not think that Steiner schools should be state-funded. We urge the Government to review this decision.’