Tuesday November 6, 2007
Dr Richard House
Norwich Steiner school and Roehampton University (Research Centre for Therapeutic Education)
I went to a Steiner school (in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire), and agree with Nikki Schreiber that it’s much harder to stereotype a Steiner child or parent than many think. There was quite a mix of people at my school – although the requirement to charge fees inevitably results in a middle-class bias.
My Steiner education brought out an artistic and musical side to me that would otherwise have been overlooked. Teamwork and mixed-ability teaching is encouraged at Steiner schools, while individual competition is avoided. This helps to build a spirit of cooperation and friendship. However, our school also got very good exam results.
Unfortunately, the lack of state funding in the UK prevents Steiner education from being a choice for most parents, and has contributed to its niche status. This is despite successive governments declaring that education policy is all about “choice”.
I believe wholeheartedly in the principle of state education, but would find it difficult to send my children to a state school, because of their strong focus on academic achievement at the expense of all else. The years that I spent at a Steiner school were some of the best of my life.