money, pr, the free school applications and the swsf

From the Steiner Waldorf School Fellowship’s financial report:

We had a donation of £88,000 from the closure of Drayton Manor Trust. This money is with Hermes Trust and is out on loan to schools. Our trustees have agreed to leave it with Hermes Trust for the time and review annually. There is a year’s notice to withdraw this and the money can then be drawn down over five years. We also had donations from ASGB – £2,937.50 towards our PR work and a further £5,000 to help with Free School applications. Sturdy Edwards Insurance Company gave a donation of £400 and we had £416.46 from the closure of Johnshaven Kindergarten. We also received £15,861 from various Camphill Communities. We are grateful for those individuals who make regular donations to SWSF. [Emphasis added. /a]

The sum recieved from the Anthroposophical Society is not huge — £3000 for PR and the £5000 for free school applications. But one might still ask: why does the Anthroposophical Society pay for waldorf school PR and the free school applications (to obtain state-funding for the schools)? Why do anthroposophists have any interest in helping schools and organizations which want to distance themselves from Steiner and anthroposophy (there are many more examples of such behaviour)… were it not for the fact that the distancing itself is a PR move?

I think these donations prove — unsurprisingly — that anthroposophy and the Anthroposophical Society have an interest in Steiner education and its success (or the appearance of success) and also in obtaining state-funding for these schools.


12 thoughts on “money, pr, the free school applications and the swsf

  1. Re The Drayton Manor Trust, here is a relevant extract from UK Anthroposophy:

    “The Godparents Anthroposophical Training Fund (GATF), like Novalis Trust, is both a registered charity and an incorporated company. GATF doesn’t fund godparents, it funds students, students studying Steiner courses at Plymouth University. It has another thing in common with Plymouth University and SWSF; it doesn’t like to divulge information.

    GATF’s registered office is in Stourbridge, home of a host of other Anthroposophical organisations. GATF reported an income of around £88,000 last year and assets of £807,000. The secretary, Jane Avison, is also a trustee of Drayton Manor Trust, an Anthroposophical special needs school. The majority of GATF income comes from two sources, Drayton Manor Trust and Camphill. GATF annual accounts routinely convey thanks to Drayton and ‘Camphill’ for their continued support. When asked to clarify which Camphill was donating to GATF, the GATF secretary, Jane Avison, cited the Data Protection Act in declining to divulge the information.

    Back in 2005/2006 Drayton Manor Trust reported in its acoounts for year ending 2006 a £10,000 pound donation to GATF and a £20,000 to SWSF and reported that during the same period Mrs Jane Avison was an administrator and employee of both SWSF and Drayton Manor but that ‘She is excluded from any decisions to donate funds to trusts in which she is a connected party.’ Apart from SWSF refusing to answer or acknowledge my own emails, the SWSF -according to this newspaper report – also refuses to make public the name of the person or organisation stumping up the sponsorship money necessary for and enabling the Hereford Steiner Academy to go ahead.”

    Here btw is Alicia’s popular post featuring Kevin Avison:

    In which he advises teachers:

    “Keep a glowing personal profile about each child, but never allow anyone access to lesson notes or records, because as an inspired educator, these are unnecessary for you (anything indicating what the class might have learnt or covered in Morning Lesson should be ‘lost’ before you leave the school).”

  2. Thank you for digging this up.

    I’m also a bit curious as to why Camphill donates money to the SWSF and where this money comes from. I would have thought they had their own activities to finance.

  3. ‘Why do anthroposophists have any interest in helping schools and organizations which want to distance themselves from Steiner and anthroposophy (there are many more examples of such behaviour)… ‘

    Because some of the people giving out grants from AS in GB don’t ask the right questions of people making requests and don’t think about the consequences of not doing so.

    It is appropriate for AS in GB to support anthroposophical initiatives – that is part of their charitable objectives. They are a properly registered charity.

  4. Also: they know that whatever is said outwardly, the core of these initiatives and institutions is still in anthroposophy. No matter what the school says, there are no other anthroposophical schools around (to support). Still, they should be concerned about the attitude of these schools.

  5. It just proves how interweaved and connected anthroposophical organisations are, and they have an interest in supporting the whole network; and the schools don’t have nearly as much money as Camphill. This excellent UK Anthroposophy article shows their staggering amount of assets:

    This quote is quite stunning isn’t it?

    “Compared to the registered charity population as a whole, Anthroposophical charities are wealthier as a group than are non-Anthroposophic charities.”

    Camphill are apparently very very good at raising money- someone told me they have a reputation among NGO’s for being one of the best fundraisers; they certainly seem to put a huge effort into it.

    They also apparently sometimes fund the children of Camphill co-workers to go to private non Steiner fee paying schools, (about £20,000 a year I think) rather than Steiner ones as they get older which seems a bit…hypocritical and strange; I mean, why not send them to Steiner schools which take older children, if the education is so great?

  6. ‘They also apparently sometimes fund the children of Camphill co-workers to go to private non Steiner fee paying schools,’

    I have a long association with both Steiner Schools and Camphill and I have never heard of this happening anywhere.

    It seems most unlikely to me.

  7. Well Falk I know personally at least three co worker families whose children have weekly boarded at private school in the sixth form; perhaps they pay for it with some other private means, it would be interesting to know whether the school fees are covered by the “legitimate personal needs” ” from the resources of the communities” which their expenses come under.

  8. Actually I should say I know OF personally, because I have only met them in passing; one of my children tells me another ex Steiner child of a co worker has informed her that she is probably going to the sixth form of a private school to do A-levels. There’s probably an anthroposophical fund of some sort; what fascinates me is why they don’t use it for one of the Steiner sixth forms, which some of the other Camphill families do, and how they square this decision in their minds.

  9. The current situation is that in many Camphill institutions workers are now paid salaries and legitimate expenses as would be approved of by the County Councils who fund the ‘Villagers’. This has come about through demands for proper accountability and compliance from County Councils and Social Services departments.
    I can imagine the sort of thing Cathy describes happened in the past but I doubt it is happening now. Maybe people who send their children to Private sixth forms have their own means of paying. The reason they would be choosing non-Steiner schools would be because few Steiner schools offer A levels and those who do only have a limited number of options. (Which is true also of many smallish private schools.)

  10. The Camphill where these children came from has other co worker families whose children go to Steiner sixth forms like King’s Langley and live with other families, it’s quite common for these children to do this, others go to state school, so I don’t imagine it’s necessarily to do with what A-levels etc. They could go to a state school couldn’t they?

    This must have rankled you Falk because you seem to be trying to imply what I’m saying can’t be so, why? It’s an uncomfortable situation to explain I agree. The last boy we knew left this year I think, so maybe it is coming to an end.

    Anthroposophical Society activities from the Charity Commission,


    Wow- and understanding of anthroposophy, they don’t try very hard do they?

  11. Cathy, I am not saying it can’t be so, just that in the new era of accountability which all Camphill places are now subject to, that I think it is unlikely. And yes, I would regard it as an inappropriate use of public funds. I agreed already that it probably happened in the past.
    You may know for instance that the era of free-accommodation for Camphill workers is ended and most places now charge a rent for accommodation according to accepted criteria for workers in residential situations.

  12. Cathy —

    “Compared to the registered charity population as a whole, Anthroposophical charities are wealthier as a group than are non-Anthroposophic charities.”

    I once made a list of anthroposophical charities/foundations in Sweden. It was staggering. For a tiny movement that claims to be poor.

    Is it possible that there is money in these families? That the families, although they work in these camphills (for ideological reasons) and earn relatively little (too little to send their children to private ed), are well off from, e g, inheritance?

    Not that I exclude the possibility that camphills lose money in (semi-)corrupt ways…

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