Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Steiner Academy Hereford Celebrates...

Over 130 guests attended a recent reception at the Steiner Academy in Much Dewchurch, including Madame Mayor of Hereford Julie Woodward, Jesse Norman MP and Baroness Estelle Morris of Yardley.

Other guests included representatives from the local community, the Training and Development Agency (TDA), the Department for Education, Canterbury Christ Church University and assorted educators, local politicians, governors, staff parents and friends. The guests toasted the completion of the building programme with some of Herefordshire's finest apple juice and cider.

Following an afternoon tour of the school, which included drop-ins to woodwork, music, art and maths, Estelle Morris shared tea and scones with some students from Class 10 (year 11), before addressing the invited guests in Birch Hall. She spoke about the importance of creativity in the lives of all of us, commenting that Steiner education has a strong commitment to creativity through the entire curriculum, while the ethos encourages parental engagement with school regarded as a hub of community life.

The 3-year, £9.5 million building project, designed by John Renshaw Architects and built by Speller Metcalf is entering its final phase, with just the landscaping and garden and craft classrooms to finish. The Steiner Academy Hereford is the first publicly-funded Steiner school in the UK and has 330 pupils on roll from 3+ to 16 years of age.

The school, whose Class 10 (Year 11) students achieved a GCSE success rate for 5 GCSEs (maths and English included) of 72%, has over 60 children and young people on its waiting lists.

The Academy's Principal, Trevor Mepham, declared that this event confirmed that the Steiner Academy is open for business as a member of the local family of schools, offering an authentic and effective difference in the educational landscape of Herefordshire.

Chair of the Board of Governors and Sponsor-Lead, Sylvie Sklan said, "It was good to be able celebrate the completion of this first publicly funded Steiner school with so many of the people who helped to make it happen. This project has been a long time in the making. But in the bigger scheme of things, what has been created now - on a site that has been a place of learning for many generations - will bring benefit to generations of local children for many years to come."

Following the reception, under the banner of Arts Alive and Nightjar Music there was a concert by the acclaimed Senegalese kora player, Sadio Cissokho.

Congratulations to Australian Steiner Schools

The recent news from Australia gave a heartening example of how diversity can be recognised even within a centrally managed regulatory or `mainstream` framework.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is responsible in its own country for everything included in its title. Similar functions in the UK are shared by the Department for Education, Ofqual and previously the QCDA*. ACARA operates a Recognition Register which, following extensive collaboration between ACARA and the Steiner Education Australia (SEA, the Australian equivalent of SWSF), now includes the Australian Steiner Curriculum Framework.

In simple terms this means that an equivalence has been recognised between the curriculum offered by Steiner schools and that provided in the rest of Australian schools.

Tracey Puckeridge, Chief Executive Officer of Steiner Education Australia stated, `It is essential that choice and diversity in education is valued in Australia, therefore we appreciated the opportunity from the Federal Government to be involved in this rigorous recognition process as an acknowledgement of different learning approaches and pedagogy.`

The view that choice and diversity in education need to be valued is certainly one we share with our Australian colleagues.

Read further at:

*Ofqual : The Office for Qualifications and Examinations Regulation
QCDA : Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (until March 2012)