The government has announced that the Exeter bid for a Steiner Academy (Free School) has been successful. The initiative now advances to the `pre-opening stage`.
The new Steiner Academy Exeter will open in September 2013, eventually offering double stream entry through to age 16 for up to 644 children.
The announcement is a tribute to the huge amount of effort and commitment devoted to the project by enthusiastic parents and supporters. It is good news for the many children who would otherwise have no access to Steiner education.
The Director of the Department for Education’s Free Schools Group Mela Watts wrote to the project: `I would like to thank you for the great commitment and energy which you and your group have shown in developing your application and at interview.` Support for the initiative `reflects the confidence we have in your vision.`
The new Academy will open with Reception, Years 1,2, 3 and 7, (Early Years, classes 1,2 and 6), growing both the lower and upper ends of the school simultaneously.
Exeter will join Frome (2012) and Hereford (2008) as state-funded Steiner Waldorf schools in the UK.
Whilst some new Free Schools are struggling to enrol the number of pupils their initial projections anticipated, both the Frome and Hereford Steiner Academies are over-subscribed, confirming the strong demand for this unique education.
Commiserations are due to hard working colleagues in Leeds who had already overcome a number of hurdles to reach the final stage of the Free School application process. They have been informed that their bid will not advance further, largely for reasons relating to economies of scale.
There are more than a thousand Steiner Schools in over sixty countries around the world. In some countries (including many in Europe) the schools are partly or fully state-funded, whilst in others there is no state funding available. The government’s Free School programme has created an opportunity for new Steiner school projects such as Exeter and Frome to apply to become state-funded Academies.
Steiner Waldorf schools form the largest group of independent, non-denominational private schools in the world.They thrive on every continent, in every culture and within a wide range of ethnic contexts, including Israel, Egypt, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Taiwan, Japan, Brazil and China. There are currently over 1,000 Steiner schools worldwide and 35 in the UK. There are over 2,000 Early Years settings in a total of 64 different countries. The first school was opened in Germany in 1919, the first in the UK in 1925.
Groups in England (the legislation does not include Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland) who are interested in the possibility of state-funded Steiner education in their area should register their interest with the SWSF by emailing email@example.com
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