About Steiner Education
Steiner education has proved itself as the leading alternative system of education in the UK over the past 90 years.
Steiner schools are co-educational, fully comprehensive and integrated from age 4 to 18. They are co-operatively run by a College of Teachers, the trustees and a management council, each accepting mandated responsibility for a specific area of the school’s activity and responsibilities. As registered charities they have a management council which includes parents. They aim to make their education accessible to all regardless of race, creed or financial circumstances, even in the absence of state funding.
The Steiner teaching methodology and curriculum are internationally recognised. They address many contemporary concerns, including respect for childhood, extended engagement of the adolescent in learning, sustainability, community building and social renewal.
In early years the Steiner kindergarten provides time and space for the development of pre-literacy skills, social and emotional competence in a warm and secure learning environment where the qualities of childhood are nurtured.
Formal learning begins as the child rises 7 years of age, and formative assessment rather than testing is practised throughout. GCSE and A level examinations can be taken alongside the full curriculum, sometimes a year later than in state schools and with less associated stress. Results compare favourably with national average passes at GCSE and A Level. (Please note: St Paul’s does not currently have an Upper School)
Steiner’s philosophical work, known as anthroposophy, is not taught as part of the curriculum, but underpins the vision for the education, which seeks to nurture equally the child and later young person’s capacities of thinking, feeling and volition, as well as fostering a sense of respect. At the centre of the school’s activities is a set of principles that recognises the integrated nature of mind, body and spirit set in a social or cultural context. These principles encourage teachers to use their own skills and creativity, and accept each individual’s capacity to achieve and exercise moral autonomy.
In this creative and unhurried learning atmosphere a strong sense of purpose develops, which enables children to become creative, flexible and socially responsible world citizens, encourages freedom of thought, empathy and strength of will and recognises the spiritual dimension and potential in each human being.
The UK Steiner schools are part of an international movement of schools. The Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship represents 31 autonomous mainstream Steiner schools and 56 kindergartens in the UK and Ireland.
In many countries Steiner schools are part of the state-funded sector. In mainland Europe, for example, there are many successful inner-city, publicly funded all-age Steiner schools that educate children through to university entrance. A number of Steiner schools are UNESCO project schools and many new Steiner schools have been founded in Russia, Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. This education has successfully adapted to a wide variety of social and cultural contexts ranging from South African township schools and Sao Paulo favelas, through refugee camps in Croatia and a farming community in Egypt to the first integrated school in Northern Ireland.
In 2008 the first UK state-funded Steiner Academy opened in Hereford. It is currently oversubscribed.