UK Anthroposophy

March 13, 2009

Steiner education = Anthroposophical education, official

The different names UK Steiner schools adopt might lead you to expect a difference amongst such schools as to how they put into practice an Anthroposophical education. Not so. If you want a verified and standardised Anthroposophical education then look no further than to any school listed as being a member of the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF).

Regarding Anthroposophy and its relation to schools, the SWSF website FAQ states:

Anthroposophy is a philosophy based on the work of Dr Rudolf Steiner and this philosophy underpins the ethos of a Steiner school.

The FAQ alone points to Steiner and Anthroposophical education being equivalent terms and a government commissioned study confirms this to be the case. Originally published as ‘Steiner schools in England’, the study as published is here referred to as the Woods Report after Professor Woods of University of the West of England, its lead author and researcher.

SWSF and its schools participated in the study, SWSF and many of its schools’ websites point to the Woods Report as an endorsement of Anthroposophical education. Via the controversial academies programme (see here e.g.),  government commenced state funding of Anthroposophical education after publishing the Woods Report.

Now, Rudolf Steiner was undoubtedly a clever chap. He was also a self-proclaimed clairvoyant. Or, as the Woods Report puts it (page 97):

Anthroposophy is based on Rudolf Steiner’s direct insight into spiritual realities

The Woods Report (page 97) also enlightens as to the usage of  the somewhat ambiguous term ‘ethos’ in the SWSF FAQ:

Steiner education is grounded in the principles of anthroposophy and Steiner’s educational philosophy. From these roots come the importance attached to a particular understanding of child development, concepts integral to Steiner schools’ pedagogy…

What are the concepts ‘integral to Steiner schools’ pedagogy’ and what is this ‘particular understanding of child development’?

Well, re the concepts, again on page 97 of the Woods Report, government is informed that:

Anthroposophy is based on Rudolf Steiner’s direct insight into spiritual realities and ‘involves concepts, such as karma, the Divine, re-incarnation and the soul.

The ‘particular understanding of child development’, is characterised as Anthroposophical on page 84 of the Woods Report:

(An) understanding of child development according to the principles of anthroposophy is at the core and heart of Steiner education…

Elsewhere on page 84 is an example of Steiner’s Anthroposophical educational philosophy. The Woods Report notes there that Steiner education sees

(the role of the teacher) as a sacred task in helping each child’s soul and spirit incarnate in the world.

Steiner education is Anthroposophical education in the sense that the education is delivered according to Anthroposophical principles and from an Anthroposophical perspective, not in the sense that such schools teach Anthroposophy to children. The above short extracts from the Woods Report demonstrate that Steiner education = Anthroposophical education. Its philosophy and pedagogy – the core ingredients of any educational system – are Anthroposophical. And that’s official.

7 Comments »

  1. […] For Anthroposophical teachers, assisting child development according to how Steiner taught it does and should occur is taken to be a sacred task. […]

    Pingback by Anthroposophical doctors and state funding « UK Anthroposophy — June 2, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

  2. […] pension scheme are liable for the pension scheme’s deficit. A majority of the UK’s Steiner (i.e. Anthroposophical) schools and several other Anthroposophical ’initiatives’ are affected and, generally speaking, […]

    Pingback by Anthroposophy’s favoured UK Pension Scheme Hits the Skids « UK Anthroposophy — February 28, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  3. I would like to mention – somewhat after the event, now – but such things as clairvoyance cannot be “self-proclaimed”: insights such as Rudolf Steiner had are available for all who really try to discover them.

    The only problem is, as I am now aware, it is incredibly difficult for the person trained in Western-style thinking to become aware of even the tiniest fragments of what lies “beyond the veil”.

    Much of the effort Steiner put into developing his educational philosophies lay in allowing children to retain the ability to think in broader terms than mainstream schooling supports.

    Comment by Gem — April 5, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

  4. […] There is no independent evidence to support the pedagogy of Steiner Waldorf education. But supporting the funding of the Steiner Academy Hereford, the only state funded Steiner school to date (created under New Labour), is a government report from 2005, The Woods Report ‘Steiner Schools in England’. Mike Collins of UK Anthroposophy, home to some meticulous investigative work, demonstrates how the Woods Report describes Steiner Waldorf as Anthroposophical education. […]

    Pingback by The Steiner Waldorf cult uses bait and switch to get state funding. Part 2 — October 22, 2010 @ 10:02 am

  5. […] an academy. But no mention of Anthroposophy within the 2009 docs. According to government research Anthroposopy underpins ALL Steiner schools, they wouldn’t and couldn’t be ‘Steiner schools’ if they renounced […]

    Pingback by Odds & Sods(2) « UK Anthroposophy — November 10, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

  6. […] of the salient points from Woods have already been published on the blog but they’re worth restating here. Page 84 of the Woods Report is entirely in line with AWSNA, […]

    Pingback by Free Schools(5a) – Steiner School Recognition and Accreditation « UK Anthroposophy — September 30, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

  7. […] Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF), the national organisation representing Steiner education (i.e. Anthroposophical education) here in UK. SWSF’s lobbyist for state funding of Steiner education, Sylvi Sklan, was part of […]

    Pingback by St Pauls Steiner School, London – findings of a Charity Commission Inquiry « UK Anthroposophy — January 2, 2013 @ 12:52 am


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