Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

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Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#1  Postby jerrytug » Oct 20, 2010 5:39 pm

Hello my daughter is tragically being "educated" at Brighton Steiner School,which has applied to be a Free School "...all-ability,state-funded schools...". She is already educationally handicapped for life at the age of ten,and I want to oppose any move to legitimise Steiner "education",but DfE don`t seen to offer any platform to any body who is against the forming of any particular "Free School".
Could anyone advise? Thank you sincerely,Jerry.
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#2  Postby chairman bill » Oct 20, 2010 5:45 pm

Jerry, why is she at a Steiner school in the first place? Can't you simply get her moved to a proper one?
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#3  Postby HomerJay » Oct 20, 2010 5:50 pm

Jerry

You have to write to the Secretary of State for Education, currently lovable Michael Gove.

Alternatively express your concerns to your ex and see if she'll move her?
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#4  Postby jerrytug » Oct 20, 2010 5:56 pm

Not as simple as that Bill,me and her Mum have split over this very issue,we weren`t married,my name is not on the Birth Certificate,therefore, legally, Mum decides. I don`t want to discuss our family problems too much here in general,but it was a fair question. I was hoping to find any fellow opponents of this education system rather than wash our dirty linen in public! Thanks for taking an interest mate. ;)
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#5  Postby Emmeline » Oct 20, 2010 6:14 pm

I've heard that lots of Steiner schools are applying to become "Free Schools", which is unsurprising because it will mean parents will no longer have to pay fees. I'm not sure how much the schools will like this bit though:

"All Free Schools will be accountable like other state schools via inspections and tests"

The Libdem's weren't in favour of free schools before the election (not that this means anything now!)
Before the election, the Liberal Democrats were critical of the free schools policy. Nick Clegg described them as a "disaster for standards".
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10138787
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#6  Postby I'm With Stupid » Oct 20, 2010 6:23 pm

What's wrong with them? I'm just reading on Wikipedia, and there doesn't seem to be any particular criticism of them.
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#7  Postby jerrytug » Oct 20, 2010 6:52 pm

Dear "I`m With Stupid",just for starters,Google: "Waldorfwatch" or "PLANS",off the cuff,I will post more references in a bit. The Wiki entry is rabidly sanitised and airbrushed regularly,to an astonishing degree. Cheers Jerry
Edited to add: Also check out "DCScience:The True Nature of Steiner Education". A blog by UK scientist David Colquhoun.Check it out anyway 8-)
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#8  Postby chairman bill » Oct 20, 2010 7:46 pm

Oh Steiner schools are full of woo. Think 'Theosophy', mystical gnosticism with a bit of eastern religion, stir lightly, add some astrological agriculture, and probably some dolphins singing whilst strumming dream-catchers, and you're pretty much there. All very "(W)holistic".


Edit: to add, there's one just down the road from here (well, a few miles away), twixt Exeter & Plymouth - Dartington, which is twinned with Totnes for woo-ish bollocks. Crystals anyone?
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#9  Postby Beatsong » Oct 20, 2010 8:08 pm

Just being devil's advocate in a way, but isn't there evidence from both the UK and US that Steiner schools achieve superior academic results to the state average?

Jerry, can you expand a bit more on what your concerns are?
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#10  Postby Emmeline » Oct 20, 2010 8:17 pm

Beatsong wrote:Just being devil's advocate in a way, but isn't there evidence from both the UK and US that Steiner schools achieve superior academic results to the state average?

In England, Steiner schools don't do the national tests at age 11 and 14 so you can't compare.

At GCSE level, you'd have to compare them with other fee paying schools in their area rather than state schools (which take children from all income backgrounds).

EDIT: I've never seen any Steiner schools anywhere near the top of the exam league tables - has anyone else?

EDIT 2: There are 2 Steiner schools in my county and neither features on the 2009 GCSE league tables. This is probably because the number of pupils taking the exams in those schools is statistically insignificant and this might say something about the number of kids who are in Steiner schools at age 16.
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#11  Postby Beatsong » Oct 20, 2010 8:45 pm

Jan wrote:In England, Steiner schools don't do the national tests at age 11 and 14 so you can't compare.

At GCSE level, you'd have to compare them with other fee paying schools in their area rather than state schools (which take children from all income backgrounds).


Yes, that did occur to me after I posted.

Steiner schools are likely by definition to serve parents who have a higher than average concern and involvement with their kids' education - since they've made the decision not only to pay fees, but to seek out an unusual school to suit their educational philosophy. As such, of course they'll do be than a national average that includes every sink school full of indifferent parents.
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#12  Postby Emmeline » Oct 20, 2010 8:51 pm

Beatsong wrote:
Jan wrote:In England, Steiner schools don't do the national tests at age 11 and 14 so you can't compare.

At GCSE level, you'd have to compare them with other fee paying schools in their area rather than state schools (which take children from all income backgrounds).


Yes, that did occur to me after I posted.

Steiner schools are likely by definition to serve parents who have a higher than average concern and involvement with their kids' education - since they've made the decision not only to pay fees, but to seek out an unusual school to suit their educational philosophy. As such, of course they'll do be(tter) than a national average that includes every sink school full of indifferent parents.


See my edits above - it's not even clear if they do better at GCSEs than many state schools, let alone the fee paying ones.
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#13  Postby Millefleur » Oct 20, 2010 9:03 pm

I know a girl that went to Brighton Steiner, one of my sisters old friends - turned out a nice intelligent girl from what I knew of her, which I admit isn't much.

My parents looked at Steiner (the same one) when I was nursery age, my Dad told me a while back that it had seemed a really nice school until he remarked there were an awful lot of angels about the place - the head teacher gave him some guardian angel type woo and he walked straight outta there.

One of my daughters friends mum went to a steiner school unil the age of 13, she told me they were taught that when you plant a flower seed the fairies come and push it up out of the ground and turn it into a flower :o
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#14  Postby I'm With Stupid » Oct 21, 2010 4:49 am

Beatsong wrote:
Jan wrote:In England, Steiner schools don't do the national tests at age 11 and 14 so you can't compare.

At GCSE level, you'd have to compare them with other fee paying schools in their area rather than state schools (which take children from all income backgrounds).


Yes, that did occur to me after I posted.

Steiner schools are likely by definition to serve parents who have a higher than average concern and involvement with their kids' education - since they've made the decision not only to pay fees, but to seek out an unusual school to suit their educational philosophy. As such, of course they'll do be than a national average that includes every sink school full of indifferent parents.

Well it's not so much that, as the fact that you're probably going to have twice as many teachers per pupil. No matter how much bullshit is in the school, that's going to have a positive effect. If it becomes a free school, I would guess the budget wouldn't support the same level of staffing as a fee-paying setup. But in principle, there should be no reason the government can refuse this, yet allow faith schools, if woo is the only factor.
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#15  Postby Strontium Dog » Oct 22, 2010 1:29 am

Jan wrote:IThe Libdem's weren't in favour of free schools before the election (not that this means anything now!)

Before the election, the Liberal Democrats were critical of the free schools policy. Nick Clegg described them as a "disaster for standards".


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10138787


Oh, two can play this game:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7183247.stm

Saturday, 12 January 2008, 00:09 GMT

The state should "back off" and allow charities, parents and private groups to run schools, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg is set to say.

In his first major speech in charge, Mr Clegg will suggest creating so-called Free Schools under local government oversight, but not council controlled.


As ever, the devil is in the detail, and the coalition's free schools ain't the same as the Tory Party's free schools.
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#16  Postby Emmeline » Oct 22, 2010 6:45 am

In which way are they so different that Clegg doesn't now think they'll be a "disaster for standards"?

Many liberals are still against them too:
Conference defies Coalition on 'free schools'
Liberal Democrat councils are on a collision course with Nick Clegg by campaigning against the creation of "free schools" in their communities. Following a rebellion by party activists against the Coalition's flagship education policy, the conference voted to boycott the new schools because they increased "social divisiveness and inequity".

A succession of activists, including many councillors, protested that allowing parents to set up new schools beyond town hall control would benefit better-off families to the detriment of those in poorer areas, and could also lead to selection by the back door. In a snub to the party leadership, they convincingly defeated an attempt to water down a motion critical of free schools.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 84733.html

From the Lib Dem website:
Conference is concerned by the establishment of academies and free schools under coalition government policy.

In relation to ‘free schools’, conference calls on all Liberal Democrats to urge people not to take up this option because it risks:

1. Creating surplus places which is prejudicial to the efficient use of resources in an age of
austerity.
2. Increasing social divisiveness and inequity into a system which is already unfair because
of the multiple tiers and types of schools created by successive Conservative and Labour
governments and thus abandoning our key goal of a high quality education system for all
learners.
3. Depressing educational outcomes for pupils in general.
4. Increasing the existing complexity of school admissions and exclusions.
5. Putting at risk advances made in making appropriate provision for children with special
needs.
6. Putting in jeopardy the programme of improving school buildings.
7. Wasting precious resources, both human and material, at a time when all efforts should be focused on improving educational outcomes by enabling effective teaching and learning to take place in good local schools accessible to all.
8. Increasing the amount of discrimination on religious grounds in pupil admissions and the employment of teaching staff, and denying children access to broad and balanced Religious Education about the range of different world views held in society.
http://www.libdems.org.uk/latest_news_d ... 0c79f1d0fc
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#17  Postby nikki13 » Nov 14, 2010 3:02 pm

Hi Jerry,

You can write to Michael Gove c/o his secretary at Sheerek@parliament.uk and also Paul Schofield from the Ed Dept at
Paul.SCHOFIELD@educatio.uk.
A bunch of parents have written to both of them with their concerns and the more the merrier as many ex Steiner parents are to scared / traumatised / worn out to contact anyone.
Best wishes,
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#18  Postby MamaDuck » Nov 21, 2010 12:19 am

Ignorance breeds contempt. Surely if Steiner Schools were substandard, then people wouldn't send their children to them in the first place, let alone pay fees for the pleasure. Steiner Schools take very low fees, and teachers are poorly paid. They are only fee based because they are not eligible for State Funding. Many have very basic facilities and rely on the goodwill, hard work and dedication of parents to keep costs low.
Does a beilef in tooth fairies and father christmas damage the average child?
At this time of year, Steiner Schools hold Advent Fairs, I urge you to attend and get an insight into what they offer and see if you leave the school feeling a sense of joy. Many have Parent and Toddler Groups which give you an insight into how they operate.
I have 2 children attending Kindergarten and a third is still to young. The local schools are "excellent", but I want my children to be well rounded content, intelligent, caring and thoughtful, not just able to achieve 10 A stars at GCSEs. Such decisions are not made lightly.
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#19  Postby Mr.Samsa » Nov 21, 2010 12:40 am

MamaDuck wrote:Ignorance breeds contempt. Surely if Steiner Schools were substandard, then people wouldn't send their children to them in the first place, let alone pay fees for the pleasure.


Firstly, welcome to the forum! :wave:

I find that often people who have gone through Steiner Schools find it hard to adjust to the real world once they're thrown out there. Unfortunately they aren't taught the basic skills needed to hold down a job, or to pursue further university qualifications (without doing external exams to get in), so they have very few options in life. You are right in that kids who go through Steiner schools do tend to be quite caring and pleasant (although "intelligent" isn't a label I'd use for the ones I've met), but the overall consensus I've picked up from these people is that they're pissed off that they were sent to a hippie school without being taught the basic tools necessary to survive in the real world. They usually end up having to take up night school classes just to get a basic high school education in maths or whatever so they can get a job. And I don't know if it's just my experience, but about 90% of the Steiner kids I've met usually ended up loving to party and have tried every drug known to man.

I like the summary provided by a Steiner Survivors facebook group:

Do you suffer terrifying flashbacks of childhood days spent dancing around in pink and purple robes to piano music?

Do you awake during the night in cold sweats thinking “I hope I hid enough acorns in Tree Land to wage war during Morning Tea time tomorrow”?

Have you recently found a box of old books in your attic, entitled Main Lesson, full of pictures of trees and crystals and crude sketches of Mahatma Gandhi?

Can’t spell?

Then you probably went to Michael Park School and may be suffering Post Steiner Traumatic Stress Syndrome! If so, then this is a group for you and the many others who were released into the wild on a quest, armed with nothing more than a Steiner education, to find out exactly just what the fuck Eurhythmy is!
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Re: Opposing UK "Free School" Application of Steiner School.

#20  Postby MamaDuck » Nov 21, 2010 10:22 pm

Many of the parents attended Steiner Schools themselves and are happy for the chidlren to have a Steiner Education. Some parents have young babies and commute long distances to enable their children to attend the school.
I'll take a look at the Facebook site.
Also many parents are professionals; doctors, lawyers, university lecturers, businesspeople etc etc and the local schools are fantastic. Steiner schools are inspected and have to comply with legislation. In the Early Years, the schools have opted out of testing, with parental consent and the children leave our school at 14 to attend local schools and take their examinations and go on to university. I can't speak for all schools but the school is oversubribed in the Early Years.
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