UK Anthroposophy

April 25, 2010

Odds & Sods(1)

There’s long been a need for some way of putting on the blog short items of interest to readers such as brief updates to earlier blog posts, snippets of topical interest, eccentricities and short quirky items and so I’ve come up with Odds & Sods. This will be a regular feature here on UK Anthroposophy and if you come across anything you feel other readers might find interesting, funny or illuminating then feel free to get in touch. As ever, confidentiality is assured.

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Firstly, a heads up to notify readers of a Spring clean of the blog – all links have been checked and all tags for posts revised. Links within blog posts are all now set to open in a new tab, handy if you have a browser such as Firefox because the window will open in a new tab. Unfortuantely the ‘blogroll’ links on the side panel cannot be tinkered with to do the same. Hey ho, you’ll all cope no doubt.

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Over in Australia there’s a lot of resistance to the piloting of state funding or inclusion of Steiner schools within the mainstream. On reading this parent’s experience of a Steiner school I was reminded of the themes parents here generally complain about – bullying, secrecy, control feakery, stifling of imagination and so on. Interesting that the parent uses the word ‘cult’ in his account of events.

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Closer to home, possibly as a result of the recent Tory/SWSF seminar, the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF) website home page has recently seen the addition of a rider stating ‘We also reject any racism stated or implied in any of Rudolf Steiner’s speeches and writings (dating from the mid-1880s to his death in 1925).’ If they reject Steiner’s racist evolutionary position & the model of child development derived from it then what, if anything, will SWSF and Anthroposophical educators have left from Steiner to work with? In rejecting Steiner they become indistinguishable from any other ‘alternative’ form of education. There’ll be more on this in a forthcoming blog post. (update January 2013: the SWSF statement re race has changed somewhat and can now be found on the FAQ section of SWSF’s website. I’ll report on it asap)

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An earlier post detailed the collapse of the UK Anthroposophy movement’s own favoured pension scheme and, according to this report (very near the end of the piece), the deficit of the scheme is expected to near double from £4.7 million to £9 million. The 16 or so members of the scheme (including SWSF and several member schools) have to shoulder the deficit between them, surely too much of a burden for many of them to cope with?

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Rumours about the closure of Park Attwood Clinic have been circulating for some time. The Anthroposophical clinic’s website has mentioned the cessation of its main service – the residential care of its patients – and the clinic’s out-patient service is also ceasing as of end June this year. If anybody knows more on what is happening please get in touch.

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The closure of Emerson College due to its financial failure was announced a few weeks ago but the College, or what’s left of it, is still hoping to continue operations in one form or another – there’s an active Facebook group where interested readers can follow events and the Emerson College website, still operating, proclaims the College to be ‘undergoing a major transformation’.

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Some items recently appearing in the press and of interest to UK Anthroposophy readers. In Sunday’s edition of the ‘Observer’ there’s news that the Tories will allow nursery schools to charge parents of three and four year olds and so jeopardise the current state guarantee of free places for children of that age. The reason for the change is, apparently, to help struggling nurseries to survive. The Observer’s sister paper The Guardian recently carried a story showing that several  hundreds of nurseries closed during 2009. Forget the recession, campaign group ‘Open Eye’ lays the blame for the closures on the introduction of compulsory learning goals for three & four year olds. ‘Open Eye’ is not entirely Anthroposophical in outlook but many Anthroposophical educators can be found airing their views in the group’s newsletters (available here). Another education topic in the newspapers and of more relevance here for blog readers was the debate between five educational luminaries about the pros and cons of the Tory policy of enabling parents to set up their own ‘free schools’. Fiona Miller made some telling points in the debate and, to my mind, made most sense. Fiona’s excellent blog, ‘The Truth About Our Schools’ can be found here.

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Finally, a lot of Steiner critical blogs & websites delight in quoting some of the dafter things Steiner uttered. Steiner died nearly a hundred years ago but to demonstrate that his daftness lives on Odds & Sods will inform you of some of the events offered by Steiner’s followers in the here and now. For example, amongst forthcoming events at Rudolf Steiner House in London is sculptor Frank Chester’s lecture titled ‘The 5th Chamber of the Heart’. Steiner indicated this 5th chamber would allow us to control life forces in a different way. Frank has discovered previously unknown geometry of the heart which – for a mere £10 admission fee – he will pass on to you and also let you know how this extra chamber will develop. Bargain!

1 Comment »

  1. Hello, I strongly recommend you to view Frank Chester’s lectures on YouTube. Here’s one…

    http://aliciah.posterous.com/guldfiskvetenskap-thewitch (it’s quite long thus the many film clips)

    … where he’s explaining the heart according to his spiritual science. Complete with a water-filled goldfish bowl and an electric mixer/blender. (I kept thinking, maybe he’ll electrocute himself.) Takes place in a waldorf school classroom.

    It will save you the £10 too!

    Comment by zooey — April 26, 2010 @ 5:40 pm


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