With the free school reform steadily materializing in the UK, more and more information becomes available as to which Steiner schools are applying for free school status and thus asking to receive state funding. At the time being, we know of 25 schools that have shown an interest in becoming free schools. A list of these school has been compiled by a friend of mine, and is published below. First, however, I want to remind readers of the three guest posts over att DC’s Improbable Science. These posts detail many pressing concerns over Steiner schools and — most importantly in this context — the possible future state funding of the schools. All three posts (i — ii — iii) are important, and I want to stress how indispensable it is for anybody interested in this matter to familiarize themselves with the concerns surrounding Steiner schools and the criticism against Steiner education and the Steiner school movement. It really is a topic which ought to be of interest to parents, politicians and taxpayers alike.
To ignore the problematic aspects of Steiner education presently won’t make these issues miraculously evaporate into the air and disappear for good — no, they will inevitably come back and haunt us. (They will return and haunt the Steiner movement, too, for that matter.) It is my strong opinion that Steiner education must be faced and seen for what it is before any decision on funding is made. This includes taking criticism and concerns seriously. Living in Sweden, where waldorf schools have been state-funded for more than two decades, I am not directly affected by educational decisions and policies in the UK, of course. However, I fear that the Swedish decision to allow tax-funding — as well as to allow detrimental exemptions which put children’s rights to a good education at risk — was ill-conceived. If the same uninformed process is now taking place and leading to the same kind of misguided decisions in the UK, it troubles me. Anthroposophy isn’t likely to be the only spiritual or religious movement to ask for government support for its educational outlets. It may not even be the worst one (though perhaps one of few with its very own pedagogy). Being in the dark about anthroposophy will, however, prove fatal.
List of UK Steiner schools applying for free school status:
Update, February 17, 2011: Alder Bridge school added.
Update, February 24, 2012: The British Humanist Association published a list of five Steiner schools among the 2013 applicants to become free schools. Some of them are not on the list above. Here they are: