Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Warmth and Light for the Cambridge Steiner school!

Prize-winning school warms to green future 
Energy experts lit up the faces of staff and children at a school when they came to plan a whopping six-figure makeover.Cambridge Steiner School won a competition run by the News with British Gas to transform a lucky school into one of the most energy efficient in the country.They were visited by the company yesterday to see how the money can be spent.
The school, in Fulbourn, is desperate to have its 1980s boiler replaced and is also interested in fitting solar panels and heat pumps.  Both measures would save the school thousands of pounds in energy bills over the years, which can be diverted towards giving pupils a better education.
Andrew Cleland, a trustee, said the school was grateful for “this fantastic opportunity”, adding that its ethos was about protecting the environment. He added: “We are a private school, but we are also a charity and we offer bursaries. The money we save can hopefully go towards that.”
The work will be carried out over the coming weeks following yesterday’s informal audit.
The school collected nearly 3,400 tokens from copies of the News to land the prize, worth £135,000. As well as a legion of parents, it recruited lots of different groups from the community, such as old people’s homes, to help them amass the tokens.
Kate Lemon, programme manager for British Gas Generation Green, said: “We were very impressed with their entry, which showed a real commitment to, and passion for, sustainability. Our energy experts are looking forward to working with the school to help it become as energy-efficient as possible and inspire a new generation of sustainability experts.”
John Cary, deputy editor of the News, said: “It was a terrific team effort that won this great prize for the Cambridge Steiner School. We’re delighted that British Gas will be working with them to help fulfil their vision for an energy-efficient school fit for the 21st century.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

EYFS exemptions: good news for our Early Years settings



Steiner Waldorf kindergartens have been granted permanent exemptions or modifications from those aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Learning and Development Requirements which relate to the formal introduction of Literacy, Numeracy as well as Technology and in some cases the Assessment regulations. A full list can be provided * see below.
The Secretary of State has agreed to all the exemptions or modifications requested on the grounds that Steiner kindergartens cannot meet these EYFS requirements without compromising their ethos and practice. The granting of these exemptions and modifications is in accordance with the ESTABLISHED PRINCIPLES route as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (Exemptions from Learning and Development Requirements) Regulations 2008 as amended by the Early Years Foundation Stage (Exemptions from Learning and Development Requirements) (Amendment) Regulations 2012.
Steiner Schools and Early Childhood Settings, made a united application through the umbrella organisation, the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship. www.steinerwaldorf.org
To achieve this, the schools/settings had to complete the following steps:
  1. Contact the Local Authority to make sure their funding was safe, should they have exemptions. Some settings are still waiting for responses from their LA’s.
  2. Notify parents, and get their agreement. There was unanimous support from all parents, who chose Steiner education specifically for their children to have the benefit of a later introduction to formal learning, and experience an extended childhood in an enabling environment which prepares them for life, not only for school.
  3. Notify the LA of the parents decision
  4. Send the application to the DfE Exemptions team
In some cases, kindergartens not in receipt of the Early Years Grant made an application also for exemption from the Assessment regulations which includes the Profile submission. These too were granted.
NOTE: Some LA’s agreed that their funded settings could also apply for exemptions from the Assessment regulations including submission of the EYFS Profile at age 5. The SWSF were surprised that more LA’s did not agree to this exemption. The children in Steiner kindergartens are not formally taught to read and write in the kindergarten, therefore this would result in a poor overall score in the data collected by the LA from the Profile, which means that the LA’s overall data scores are lowered.
The exemptions will remain in place as long as the principles under which it was granted are followed by the setting.
If you would like to receive further information about this, please contact:
Janni Nicol, SWSF Early Childhood Representative jnicol@steinerwaldorf.org