Friday, November 09, 2007

The Guardian - Letters

Tuesday November 6, 2007

The Guardian

Alternative perspective
It was a delight to read Nikki Schreiber's fair and down-to-earth depiction of Steiner education (Not a Guardian-reading weirdo in sight, October 30). Alas, those of us who work in the Steiner movement are commonly the recipients of all manner of negative projections, often from those who know next to nothing about it. What is so refreshing about Schreiber's article is the unaffected ordinariness that it conveys - accurately communicating the spirit and ethos without a hint of the preciousness of which we are sometimes accused. In an era where the poisonous audit and surveillance culture continues to swamp mainstream education, viable and tested alternatives such as Steiner will surely continue to gain in popularity.

Dr Richard House
Norwich Steiner school and Roehampton University (Research Centre for Therapeutic Education)

I went to a Steiner school (in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire), and agree with Nikki Schreiber that it's much harder to stereotype a Steiner child or parent than many think. There was quite a mix of people at my school - although the requirement to charge fees inevitably results in a middle-class bias.

My Steiner education brought out an artistic and musical side to me that would otherwise have been overlooked. Teamwork and mixed-ability teaching is encouraged at Steiner schools, while individual competition is avoided. This helps to build a spirit of cooperation and friendship. However, our school also got very good exam results.

Unfortunately, the lack of state funding in the UK prevents Steiner education from being a choice for most parents, and has contributed to its niche status. This is despite successive governments declaring that education policy is all about "choice".

I believe wholeheartedly in the principle of state education, but would find it difficult to send my children to a state school, because of their strong focus on academic achievement at the expense of all else. The years that I spent at a Steiner school were some of the best of my life.

Oliver Knight


Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Guardian

Not a Guardian-reading weirdo in sight

There are many strange ideas about Steiner schools. One 'normal' parent aims to set the record straight. Nikki Schreiber reports:

Tuesday October 30, 2007
The Guardian