Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Former Rudolf Steiner School student Bethany Woodward takes silver in T37 200m at World Championships

Former Rudolf Steiner School student Bethany Woodward takes silver in T37 200m at World Championships

12:00pm Sunday 28th July 2013 in Sport

Picture: Action Images

Former Rudolf Steiner School student Bethany Woodward won a silver medal in the T37 200m at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon on Monday.

Woodward’s time of 29.12 was a personal best and just 0.64 seconds behind the winner, Mandy Francois-Elie from France.

The 20-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and won silver and bronze medals at last summer’s Paralympic Games, came close to securing a second medal in the T37 100m but just missed out, finishing fourth in 14.43.

After winning the TE7 200m silver medal Woodward tweeted: “What a day! So proud silver and PB, thank you so much for all your lovely messages!” After missing out on a medal in the T37 100m she added: “Thank you so much for all your lovely messages, a great champs, would have loved that bronze but 4th in the world and it's not even my event.”

Monday, July 15, 2013

Brien Masters

Brien Masters

Many have been inspired by Brien Masters. His work, especially as a teacher educator enabled him to express the range of his talents - as musician, story-teller, raconteur and sage. A photograph of teachers at Michael Hall (in the 1950s, I believe) captured him as the image of a young Oxbridge graduate in tweedy jacket with the look of mildly bemused idealism. One could easily imagine such a young teacher featuring in a boarding school novel of the period, teaching Divinity and Latin perhaps and playing the organ for Sunday service. But Brien was far more complex than that and his many achievements are testimony to the range of his talents and to the intricacy of his character. In addition to working for many years at Michael Hall, he spent some time at Pottersbury Lodge School (a residential Steiner school for boys with special needs).

My first meeting with Brien took place at a conference for people working in (independent) Steiner home-schools for children with special needs. Brien gave a lecture on music which included many of his favourite stories. I remember being spell-bound by his humane authority and rich vein of humour. Later, I worked with him for as part of what was then called the “steering group” of the Steiner Schools’ Fellowship (Waldorf was added a little later). With the retirement of Ron Jarman, Brien became Chairman (definitely Chairman), taking his own idiosyncratic minutes in tiny handwriting, usually on large used brown envelopes, slit open along two side for the purpose. Not infrequently we only found out what Brien’s view of an issue was when the minutes appeared in typed form. He had very strong views, but tended to reserve their expression for a lengthy missive after the meeting. During this time he began to spread his interests internationally and, in typical style, gave an amusing and elaborate report as SWSF Chairman to a meeting of international Waldorf educators on his travels in South America and Israel (there was some puzzlement, as those attending were expecting a report about schools in the UK and Ireland!). Throughout, he continued to edit ‘Child and Man’, later re-titled ‘Steiner Education’, with the help of a small team of trusted collaborators. The magazine, partly funded by the Fellowship, was the longest running title of its type in Anthroposophical publishing, continuing even after its circulation began to wane (with the advent of electronic media): Brien had persistence! His retirement from the SWSF was not the happiest but enabled him to concentrate his energies on his increasing foreign visits and on developing the London Waldorf Teacher Training Seminar at Rudolf Steiner House, and for a time, the seminar at Michael Hall alongside it.

It is perhaps as a teacher trainer that Brien was able to expand into a role that fitted him as well as a good pair of gloves, or perhaps well-worn gardening gloves (he had extensive knowledge of wild and garden plants). Among the students his was a magisterial presence and he could often be seen at break-times engaged in intense conversation with an individual student. Having gained a doctorate during the time he worked for the Fellowship, Brien gave increasing attention to his writing, publishing several more books including ones on Mozart and Marie von Steiner-Sivers. His educational books, stories for children and the two ‘Waldorf Song Books’ are admired by many, But it was in leading a seminar and as pianist Brien seemed most at home with himself. His soul eased itself into the music he brought to life; his playing had a finesse and responsiveness (especially in accompaniment) that was worthy of some of the best exponents of the instrument and his composition was often very fine. He once said that he had never read Anthroposophical authors on music. He probably did not need to. Just as a superb performance of music continues to resonate with those who heard it long after the last notes have died away and grows richer in the memory, so too Brien’s contribution to Waldorf education.

Kevin Avison

Friday, July 12, 2013

Brien Masters

Brien Masters died yesterday morning at 1.30 am.

There will be a memorial service held at Michael Hall School on Saturday 13th July at 8pm in the Eurythmy Studio.

Brien was for many years Chair of the Fellowship. He founded the London Waldorf Teacher Training Seminar. He wrote many books and lectured both here and abroad.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Steiner Academy Exeter given site

One of Devon's first new free schools has been given the go-ahead to open at a former university hall of residence.

The Steiner Academy Exeter is expected to open at Thomas Hall on Cowley Road in 2015.

It is one of five free schools planned in Devon after the coalition government offered people the chance to open their own state-funded schools

Steiner schools offer an alternative to mainstream education and teach children through play and creative activities.

'Big breakthrough'

The Exeter academy has been given approval for a permanent site at Thomas Hall by the Education Funding Agency. The amount of funding for the site has not yet been revealed.

The academy is due to open in temporary buildings in Gloucester Road, Exwick, in September and stay there while planning permission is sought.

Organiser Jenny Salmon said: "It's a big breakthrough for us, it's been a long process to get the site confirmed."

The total number of pupils is expected to rise from 136 in September to 624 - aged four to 16 - in 2021.

Four other Devon free schools, Route 39 in Higher Clovelly, the Marine Academy in Plymouth, Sparkwell Primary near Plymouth and Plymouth School of Creative Arts, will also open in September.

Alan Swindell, principal designate of the Exeter academy, said: "We are delighted to have this opportunity to breathe new life into this beautiful building and site.

"It will be a wonderful environment for children, with tremendous scope for us to develop those aspects of our curriculum that really come alive in the great outdoors."

Free schools have been criticised by some teachers as unnecessary and taking resources away from other state schools.

The government says each school is set up in direct response to demand from local people for a different or better school that will meet the needs of pupils in the community and help raise standards.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Glasgow Steiner School

With great sadness we announce the closure of the Glasgow Steiner School after 25 years. Unfortunately they were unable to recover from the fire that gutted the school. We hope that in time there will be a new Steiner school in the area.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Bristol Steiner School - 40 year celebrations

The Bristol Steiner School is celebrating 40 years of being the first inner city Steiner School in England and is looking forward to providing quality Steiner Education to families in Bristol for many more years to come.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Michael Hall Students Build Outdoor Classroom

East Grinstead Courier and Observer

By Sam Satchell

FOR most teenagers a work placement involves shifting at their local music store, a greengrocers or their parents' business .

But a group of hardworking students at Michael Hall School took a more hands-on approach to their three-week programme by constructing an outdoor learning centre
Using a range of skills learnt at the school in Forest Row, which puts an emphasis on practical learning, they built the skeleton of the eco-friendly timber framed building, which will be completed in three phases.

They also created two eco toilets, converted a shed into a shower room and installed new monkey bars and climbing equipment for the younger students.

Metalwork and craft teacher Michael Cassels said: "All our Year 9s do the three-week work experience project, but this is one of the most ambitious projects we have done. I thought we had bitten off a bit more than we could chew with this, but they have completely exceeded my expectations.

"To get this far in the first phase is amazing. By next year they will be able to start work on the walls, the windows, the flooring and other parts of the interior."

In previous years, work experience students have helped to create sheds, shelters, notice boards, car parking spaces and more, having been taught basic building and woodwork techniques.

The school applied for planning permission to construct the outdoor classroom 12 months ago and the project involving about 20 students got under way in mid-May.

Mr Cassels said: "It's a proper working day. The timetable freezes for the three weeks to allow them to do this. We had some really switched on guys working on the building, some of whom already had experience of building, while some others worked in the kitchen to prepare lunch every day.

"We're not just building something to knock it down again. It's part of our school development and it's been a really good lesson for them. They can take pride from this, as well as valuable life skills."

Eventually, it is hoped the classroom will be open to visitors, and a school from Germany is already booked in to see the work-in-progress this autumn.

The students will start work on the walls, windows, flooring and the rest of the interior next year and, when complete, the space will be used to teach lessons such as craft activities, green wood working, and pottery. The scaffolding and timber were both supplied by local businesses.