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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:55 pm 
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Location: London
What do you know about Steiner schools? I am looking at this school in Kings langley. http://www.rsskl.org/ I really like the ethos and the more relaxed outlook plus you don't do the 11+ my son can settle in the school and stay until 18years keeping his same friends. My son has low confidence and concentration and I feel this school would build his confidence to allow him to learn more.

I am also concerned about the GCSEs and Alevels. Their results show above national average for 5 GCSEs for their class 2009. Is this how I measure the schools acedemic results? How about their A levels what bench mark do I use for this??

All info on this or any steiner school positive and negative are most welcome. What should I be looking for in the school.

Many Thanks

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:00 pm 
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.. also they take their A levels a year later as the children go off on a foreign exchange for one term to France and Germany. Would having your A level results at an older age disadvantage the children when applying for University??

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:00 pm 
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OK I will leave it to people who know about it but I havent heard very good things about Steiner, some claim its a cult. Don't jump into it, there is loads of info on the net on Steineir schools from those who support it and those who had bad expriences. I have a son in Montessori School and sort of looked at Steiner thinking there were similar but they are miles different.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:40 pm 
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My misgivings are that the Steiner Movement is not primarily about education but based on one man's homespun life philosophy with all the whacko flourishes that such organisations indulge in. (E.g. racial hierarchies, communion with angels.) Any system that sets itself up as counter to a functioning mainstream society is, to my mind, an unfair one in which to make a child grow up.
Here's a wiki link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Steiner

A friend of mine spent far too much time in his 20s at their place in Switzerland and has hilarious stories about the mad rules they had.

I've heard anecdotal stories about children leaving Steiner schools unable to read or write in their early teens, but to be fair to the system, those children quickly learned and caught up with, if not overtook their peers. Still, why put a child through that? To me, It's like saying, I want you to be odd and ridiculed, darling.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:19 pm 
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There are lots of very strong views on Steiner education. If you are considering this, then please, please do your own research (lots of it) and look carefully below the surface

Then run away as fast as you can!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:25 pm 
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jingle wrote:
There are lots of very strong views on Steiner education. If you are considering this, then please, please do your own research (lots of it) and look carefully below the surface

Then run away as fast as you can!


Thanks Jungle... What sort of research would you suggest??? What sort of questions to ask?? I have visited the school and asking 4 their 2010 a level and Gcse results.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:57 pm 
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Quote:
What sort of questions to ask??


I am going to try and be non-judgemental here. I have heard some horror stories but I know not all Steiner schools are the same. There is a very nice boy in my kids primary school who has come from a Steiner school. I'm not sure where he is academically but I don't get the impression he's miles behind/in front of the other kids.

I would ask:

What subjects will my child learn, and at what age?
How is the day arranged, how long are individual lessons?
How will you track my childs progress, and how often will I find out how they are doing? (reports, parents evenings etc)
How many GCSEs would you expect an average child to sit? How many A Levels?
How do you deal with bad behaviour?
How do you deal with bullying?
What if my child doesn't get on with their class tutor? (the website for the school says each class stays with the same tutor all the way through school)
What special needs support do you have?
How do you deal with mixed ability classes? Are there sets for some subjects? (or at least different groups of children within a class at primary level)

I would also ask what children who have left the school have gone on to do. Did they go to university? If so to study which subjects? Have they gone into the workplace? It's my guess that you won't find many that have ambitions to be lawyers and accountants.

The Steiner thing is very much a lifestyle choice. We don't subscribe to it ourselves, but we know quite a lot of people who try to embrace at least some of the principles of it. Some of the principles are quite sound - all very natural - holistic medicine, kids playing with traditional wooden toys, not wearing fashionable clothes (esp. nothing with TV characters on, since kids are not supposed to watch TV!) being outdoors a lot (even in the rain), not being made to learn to read etc. until they are ready.

I understand there are rules that you as a parent are expected to abide by but I'm no expert. If I were you I would get hold of a book on Rudolf Steiners philosophys and make sure you agree with his principles.

My biggest concern would be that a child educated in this environment may have trouble adjusting to the real world.

I'm in danger of launching in to a rant now so I'd better stop! :D

Pixiequeen


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:38 pm 
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It is quite difficult to have an objective discussion re this topic on an open forum. Many threads on other forums are generally removed quite quickly, as there are many staunch advocates of these schools who track such threads down and threaten litigation if any one posts things that they perceive as negative or damaging about the philosophy of the schools.
Just google and you will find loads of info to digest about the concept as a whole,as well as experiences of children and their parents. The 'child as a whole' thing sounds lovely in theory, but I believe there is more to it than meets the eye.
I don't want to go into detail really, but a relative attended briefly and things were a bit different from the rosy picture painted by the staff when the school was visited.
Don't get me wrong, nothing seemed dreadful or anything. But it was (to our minds) decidedly weird that all the kids had to paint exactly the same pictures, only allowed to use certain colours etc with lots of talk about angels, reincarnation and gnomes or something along those lines. Also look carefully into Anthroposophy and its application in regard to Steiner education.
At the end of the day it is more of a lifestyle you are choosing than a school, so best to be sure what is involved in the small print. Each to his own really!

Great questions above from PQ. Need to stop now before I say something I shouldn't, as our experience could well be very different from others.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:10 pm 
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jingle wrote:
It is quite difficult to have an objective discussion re this topic on an open forum.


It really is and that's why you need to Google "steiner schools" and read most of the sites that come up and make your own judgement. Steiner movement certainly has a core of staunch supporters so you never know, the anthroposophic machine may descent on this thread soon and offer their views. :wink:

jingle wrote:
Need to stop now before I say something I shouldn't

...and me too. You cant say too much, big brother is watching :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:20 am 
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I think that people's experiences pf an education like this can be very wildly differing. My experience is that a society like this is often dominated by strong individuals with a very pronounced philosophy who demand very strict adherence - even on issues down to what colours you are allowed to use in your finger paintings. That might be ok - until you disagree over candy pink. But I have a friend who loved her Steiner education, and fits into society just fine, albeit in a slightly dreamy but delightful sort of way. So I think it's a bit of a punt and you may not be able to predict whether it will work for you in advance. It depends rather on the luck of the draw of the teachers and particularly the head - can they be trusted to allow the level of 'personal expression' the philosophy purportedly advocates? Grill them!


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