SWSF Accreditation Process
SWSF has been working with schools to improve the quality of teacher training for Waldorf teachers within the UK. In particular, we are actively supporting the development of partnerships with UK universities and other national accrediting bodies through which new teachers can gain nationally recognised qualifications alongside a specialism in Waldorf education.
In July 2022, SWSF launched a new Accreditation Process designed to ensure that courses validated by external providers, meet the standards of modern Waldorf pedagogy. This sits alongside the work done by SWSF over the last three years to support schools raise standards of teaching and learning through a programme of continual professional development.
The first of the new university partnerships is between Bath Spa University and the Waldorf Learning Foundation to provide a Post-graduate Diploma in Waldorf Education and Creative Pedagogies. Additional new programmes are under development.
The SWSF Accreditation Application Pack which includes new criteria can be downloaded here.
Teacher Education Programmes
Lower, Middle and Upper School: most Steiner Waldorf schools will expect that teachers have completed a Steiner Waldorf teacher training course or, in the case of a teacher with QTS/PGCE to be in the process of completing a specialist Waldorf teacher education course or willing to do so in their first year of teaching.
A new programme to provide ‘in school‘ training for graduates without QTS is due to be announced for start in January 2024. This new course will provide an opportunity to acquire a nationally recognised specialist qualification in Waldorf pedagogy and QTS.
Early Years: teachers in the kindergarten must have an accredited ‘full and relevant’ qualification recognised by the Department for Education (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/early-years-qualifications-finder) such as that provided by the kindergarten trainings listed below.
It is important for overseas students to check that completion of the course of their choice provides a qualification that is applicable in their home country.
Continuing professional development for teachers is offered within schools and by the SWSF.
Association of Steiner Waldorf Teacher Educators (ASWTE) is a group of teacher educators and course leaders who meet periodically to discuss issues of teacher education. ASWTE does not itself accredit courses or provide quality assurance. A representative of SWSF attends ASWTE meetings providing strategic support where possible.
University Teacher Education Courses for Lower, Middle and Upper School Teachers.
PG Dip in Waldorf Education and Creative Pedagogies – Bath Spa University/Waldorf Learning Foundation.
Jointly delivered by Bath Spa University and the Waldorf Learning Foundation.
Validated by Bath Spa University and accredited by SWSF.
Some bursaries are available.
For more information: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/courses/pg-waldorf-education-and-creative-pedagogies/
Edinburgh Steiner School Teacher Training – University of Edinburgh credit rated (currently suspended)
Third-party credit-rated by the University of Edinburgh this three years part-time course carries an SCQF Level 10 rating, commensurate with other Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes. It is subject to annual review via Quality Assurance processes overseen by the University of Edinburgh.
Teacher Training Courses for Early Years Teachers (Ofqual validated)
Crossfields Institute Level 4 Diploma in Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies (Early Years Educator/EYE). VRQ: 603/7741/0 – and Level 5 Diploma in Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies – Leadership and Management. QRN: 603/7796/3.
This training leads to a Level 4 diploma in Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies which meets the Early Years Educator level 3 criteria. It is Ofqual regulated and awarded by Crossfields Institute. Crossfields Institute is responsible for approval, ongoing delivery, and centre quality assurance of this qualification. This qualification is delivered on a part time basis over two years.
The Level 4 qualification can be followed by a one-year Level 5 early years qualification suitable for leadership and management in a Steiner Waldorf setting and providing a stepping stone to higher level qualifications. The Level 5 is based around a full-time (or 2-year part-time) placement in a Steiner Waldorf kindergarten and taught sessions.
Both diplomas are recognised by IASWECE as international Steiner Waldorf early childhood qualifications.
Low interest loans are available to meet tuitions costs.
The course is delivered through two independent organisations:
NESWEC (North of England Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies Programme), at York Steiner School, with residentials in Stourbridge, W. Midlands. The course begins annually in October.
London Steiner Kindergarten Training Company, at Rudolf Steiner House, Regents Park, London, with residentials in Gloucestershire. The course begins annually towards the end of August.
Crossfields Institute Level 3 Diploma in Holistic Baby and Child Care (Early Years Educator) 603/7739/2
This training integrates Steiner early childhood studies and the Pikler approach whilst meeting Level 3 Early Years Educator criteria. With a unique birth to three emphasis it is an ideal qualification for those wishing to care for children as childminders, and parent and child group and parent support group leaders. In mainstream care settings the Holistic Baby and Child Care qualification is suitable for those wishing to care for children from birth to five. Successful completion of the course and all assignments will lead to the Crossfields Institute Level 3 Diploma in Holistic Baby and Child Care (Early Years Educator) (603/7739/2) qualification. The blended learning course, is part time over 14 months, is offered by Emerson College. The course days and weekends will take place partly online as well as held at Rudolf Steiner House, London, with residentials at Emerson College, East Sussex.
The training is recognised by IASWECE as an international Steiner Waldorf early childhood B-3 qualification.
Low interest loans with easy pay back schemes are available for students to help meet the costs of tuition. More details are available from the courses themselves.
Non-accredited teacher training course:
Michael Hall ‘At the Heart of Teaching’
The Heart of Teaching is a school based educational course for adults at Michael Hall in East Sussex; this is a one or two years full time course, depending on previous experience. Students have daily hands-on experience in the classroom and teacher/tutors who are specialist in their subjects, which include Study, Theory and Practice, Art, Blackboard Drawing, Bothmer Gym, Handwork, Eurythmy, Maths, Science, Music, Singing, Recorders, Speech, Storytelling, Bushcraft and SEN.
Specialist courses (non-accredited):
Align For Learning (SEND)
Align for Learning is a training seminar designed specifically to assist teachers in identifying and assessing learning differences as well as to design and implement effective classroom differentiation interventions. The foundations of the course are based on the pedagogical insights of Rudolf Steiner however it will also use tools from current psychological and neuroscientific research and educational theory and practice as well as the legal context of SEND today. The course is designed for anyone working within early years, primary and/or secondary settings and will prepare students to be able to undertake the tasks relevant to Special Education with confidence and professionalism.
Bothmer Movement Training
Bothmer Movement has been taught and practiced all over the world for 100 years.
Specific movements, hands-on techniques and practices are used to strengthen our relationship to our body and the space and people around us. Movement and space can be engaged with in many simple, profound ways: singing, playing games, connection to nature, laughter – we instinctively know the benefit.
Workshops and short courses are designed to support Steiner Waldorf gymnastics and games teachers in their profession. The courses are also applicable to all Waldorf teachers and parents to gain insights into pedagogical approaches to play and games.
Bothmer Movement offers an experiences of the exercises themselves, an embodied understanding of child development, a deepening of our imagination, realignment of the body that works towards healthier physical movements and of course games, play, social activities and much more.
Most training takes place at Michael Hall School, Forest Row, Sussex.
Contact address: 21 Verbania Way, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 3UP
Tel: +44 (0)7738 855 997
Relevant post-graduate education:
Crossfields Institute Level 7 Diploma in Philosophy and Practice of Integrative Education
Now in its fourth year, this part time, post-graduate level programme provides a unique opportunity for Waldorf inspired educators working in a variety of contexts. With modules dedicated to Waldorf education, to integrative education and to personal and professional development, students are enabled to work on an aspect of their own practice whilst also engaging in deep, underlying questions about the human being and about human learning and development. The programme runs over 12 months and combines short residential intensives with online learning. It is suitable for those in full-time work.
PPIE now includes a leadership pathway for those holding, or aspiring to hold, leadership roles in schools. In this pathway students are supported to understand fundamental leadership and self-leadership principles that enhance transparency, responsiveness and competence.
The programme aims to inspire openness, innovation, creative thinking and personal transformation as a basis for successful teaching, learning and leading.
Ruskin Mill Trust and University College Lillehammer:
Master in Special Education: Practical Skills Transformative Learning
Through practice enhanced research and research enhanced practice, this masters explores alternative approaches to special education pioneered by Ruskin Mill Trust. It seeks to explore the pedagogic potential of craft, ecology, biodynamic ecology and movement.
The programme provides a unique opportunity for teachers using practical skills to reflect upon, evaluate, research and develop their practice in relation to teaching people with special needs.
It is an innovative partnership between Ruskin Mill Trust and University College Lillehammer that crosses borders, disciplines and professions to create a transfomative dialogue between research and practice.