Evelyn Waugh once said that “Anyone who has been to a public school will always feel comparatively at home in prison.”
However, Rudolf Steiner’s School in Edinburgh is just one of a whole network of schools across the world that focuses on a child’s spiritual, emotional and creative development, unlike the classroom confined children in the public and independent sectors.
Rudolf Steiner was the founder of Waldorf Education, sometimes known as Steiner education. His schools have been a good alternative for parents over the last 80 years, despite past government disapproval of the teaching techniques that are employed. The website says: “The curriculum is structured to help students develop a sense of competence, responsibility and purpose, to foster an understanding of ethical principles, and to build a sense of social responsibility”, which surely can only be a good thing if we are to believe reports of mass disruption, bullying and general defiance of a good core education in many of Britain’s schools.
A recent government report suggests that state schools could potentially learn something from a Steiner education. The Education minister, Ed Balls has launched a new in-depth study into the feasibility of introducing some arts and practical based subjects, such as singing, gardening into state schools. A Government report emphasizes that the development of speaking and listening through an emphasis on oral work, the good pacing of lessons through an emphasis on rhythm are just some of a wide of aspects that could be merged with state schools.
Year after year students from Steiner schools out perform children from state schools. In addition, there are no reports of mass bullying, or any kind of sustained drug culture.
Teachers unions have spoken out about some of the changes proposed claiming that much of the Steiner blueprint is something that should be taught from home by parents.
It raises the issue that introducing these changes could harm the parent-child bond, which is already crumbling away in Britain, as parents seem to just ‘dump’ their children at school.
Clearly core values within society are slowly decaying and it is schools and children that seem to be suffering the most. Stabbings, assaults and gun crime are all daily occurrences in a 21st century school. A gang culture is creeping into our schools and slowly manifesting itself onto the streets in the form of Murders, rape, and shootings. It’s been happening for years and Governments have stood by year after year and watched it happen. Maybe now it’s time to radically overhaul the school structure and introduce, at the very least, some of Steiner’s education blueprint.
By Christopher Harress