Re: ‘Trojan horse: why some ‘extremists’ are more acceptable than others’
by Laura McInerney in the Guardian, Tuesday 17 June 2014
If ‘extremism’ is defined as it is in the title of this article Trojan horse: why some ‘extremists’ are more acceptable than others’ by Laura McInerney in the Guardian, Tuesday 17 June 2014 then a good number of Guardian readers would be swept up in a net set to catch thoughtful and creative entrepreneurs and individuals, of the sort to have made fundamental contributions both to British society and human progress. But the article, not content to turn a facetious definition into a telling point, goes on to undermine its own message with a strange concoction of misinformed and misleadingly blanket assertions without the material of evidence. A system of education that is fully integrated with the educational landscape of many other countries, and which numbers among its former pupils personalities such as recent Nobel Prize laureate (in medicine), Thomas Sudhof and Jens Stoltenberg, the former Norwegian Prime Minister, whose words and actions following the Anders Breivik atrocities drew world-wide admiration, surely deserves greater attention to fact than this.
Tolerance is deeply embedded in the Steiner ethos and values around citizenship and respect for others are central throughout the curriculum. Indeed, OFSTED inspectors found that spiritual, moral, social and cultural development are excellent because of the importance given to these within the school curriculum (OFSTED report, Steiner Academy Hereford, July 2013 https://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/135672. Steiner schools have a long and respected track record for producing well-rounded young people with a strong sense of social responsibility.
Steiner education is a pragmatic, caring education in tune with the needs of the developing child and, as the waiting lists for the Steiner academies in Hereford, Frome, Exeter and Bristol show, it is an education that appeals to a significant number of parents. There are increasing numbers of people who are impressed by the remarkable success these schools have in developing a positive sense of ‘I can do’ and unlocking creativity in students. They may offer a limited number of GCSEs, however, a bit more research by Laura McInerney would have shown that the Steiner Academy Hereford offers five core GCSEs in Maths, Science, English Language, English Literature and Citizenship as well as a further three qualifications from Art, Music and Spanish GCSEs or Performing Arts and Craft Btecs. and some independent Steiner Schools offer more.
A quick glance at their timetable will show that pupils are engaged in an education programme that reaches way beyond the confines of GCSEs and the evidence is that most students go on to successfully study and achieve wide ranging qualifications at GCSE A level and beyond, often in subjects not previously studied at GCSE level. It is to the credit of this government and the previous one that they have recognised that ‘one size does not fit all’ and that different models of education do have a place within the mainstream provision in a post-modern society.
The Executive Group of Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship