UK Anthroposophy

November 8, 2009

SWSF seminar to hear Tory explain ‘state funding opportunities for Steiner schools’

Here’s a heads up to notify readers of a forthcoming ‘special pre-election seminar’ organised by the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF). SWSF heavyweight Sylvie Sklan will kick off proceedings and high ranking Tory Sam Freedman will explain Conservative policy to the throng. Also speaking will be somebody from the New Schools Network and Emma Craigie, presumably the daughter of Tory journalist William Rees-Mogg. Rees-Mogg is proud of his daughter’s choice of a Steiner school for her kids. The New Schools Network is newly set up and largely unknown to me, its website is here. It registered as a company in June this year and was formally registered a charity in October this year. Seems like they have a plan and know exactly how to go about organising themselves and they’re quick to make friends aren’t they. Not that they’d be without friends in the City because 4 of the 5 founding directors have or have held over 20 company directorships between them. One director of New Schools Network sits on Ark Schools, another used to sit on El Oro Mining & Exploration (amusing but old piece about El Oro here) but now sticks to Insurance. It’s good to see business types so speedily setting up a philanthropic venture and it’s surely coincidence that the establishment of New Schools Network is running more or less in tandem with the setting out of Conservative Party education policy.

Here’s the poster for the seminar:

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Moving Forward

A special pre-election seminar about possible developments in the state funding opportunity for Steiner schools

 

17 November 2009

10.00 – 15.00

VENUE:  Room 2, The Charity Centre, 24 Stevenson Way,

Euston, London

 

PROGRAMME

 

10.00    Arrival and coffee

 

10.15    Introductions, outline of the day and discussion – Sylvie Sklan

 

11.15    If the Conservatives win the election….

 

Rachel Wolf of the New Schools Network will present proposals for the state funding of Steiner Schools.

 

Sam Freedman, Conservative Special Advisor, will answer questions on future Conservative education policy.

 

12.45                     Lunch at Chutneys (vegetarian Indian)

 

13.45    Discussion about our perception of the benefits and concerns implied

by these proposals – Emma Craigie

 

14.45    Next steps

 

15.30                     End

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

The news of the seminar is tucked away on the SWSF website in the area there titled ‘Professional Development’, a subarea of the website given over to teacher related things. The £25  attendance fee goes to SWSF and the application to attend form is processed by Jane Avison. Readers of this blog might remember Jane from an earlier post (look for GATF toward the end of that post).

It’s clear the SWSF are cosying up to the Tories well in advance of the election. With Plymouth axing their beloved Steiner Education BA and other Steiner courses they still have high hopes for the future. Who can blame them either when the Tories are endorsing Steiner education and further fragmentation, oops should we say increasing diversity of provision, within the education sector. The New Schools Network appears to me to have been set up to enable that splintering process and at the forthcoming SWSF seminar their  spokesperson will be offering proposals  for the state funding of Steiner schools. Their more general role I’d expect to be disseminating info/resources for people to use in creating their very own personalised vision of what a school should be.

4 Comments »

  1. Thank you, excellent research and urgently needed too.

    I also note that Rachel Wolf, founder of the New Schools Network is a former adviser to Gove http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/6365504/Parents-back-plans-for-independent-state-schools.html

    Comment by Notahobbit — November 14, 2009 @ 7:53 pm

  2. This seminar appears to be more SWAS driven than SWSF. I know there is a great deal of optimism for the potential of Tory funds for Steiner schools, but reading their manifesto ideas ( http://www.conservatives.com/News/News_stories/2009/11/Gove_sets_out_priorities_for_school_reform.aspx ) the overwhelming impression I get is that they want to make more money available for independent hot-houses. For instance, the example given at the New Schools Network for flexibility includes : “They should also be free to teach a different curriculum – giving more attention to Maths and English for the struggling, or stretching the most able.”

    It could be a blessing, but I am suspicious of their motives as I don’t see how alternative thinking about wholistically developing children is remotely in line with Tory policy or thinking. The SWAS sucking up to the Conservatives could spell compromise on an hitherto unprecedented scale.

    Comment by AlternativeAlternative — November 17, 2009 @ 12:20 am

  3. I believe that the apparent Tory state funding for Steiner Schools is probably just a pre-election bribe to middle-class undecided parents. I think that once they are voted in they will set a criteria which would make most Steiner schools unable to receive the funding without massive compromise as already suggested. Their manifesto does seem to suggest the creation of results-driven Academies of excellence. Which is fine, depending on how one measures the results. I can’t imagine that in a time when massive spending cuts are required that the Tories will be able to give an enormous free hand-out of tax-payers’ money with no strings attached to all UK Steiner schools.

    Comment by JB — February 22, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

  4. […] Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF) ‘special pre-election seminar’ mentioned in an earlier post has now taken place and a concise and accurate record of the ‘special’ seminar appears below. […]

    Pingback by Steiner racism & state funding – Tories offer SWSF lessons on spin « UK Anthroposophy — October 13, 2010 @ 2:21 am


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