Judge Steiner by the results
I'VE read with interest two reports/comments regarding the opening of a Steiner School in Exeter.
I, and both my brothers, were educated at Steiner schools and have gone on to diverse occupations, my older brother is a qualified builder, working both in the UK and Australia, my younger is currently working in Vietnam, running a school of English with more than 300 pupils. I worked for years in IT, first running IT training courses and latterly managing the training division of a national UK computer company – I now also run summer schools for foreign students learning English.
I have had contact with many of my old classmates and the list of what they have done in their lives is diverse.
For example: A designer (designed for Swatch Watches), an eye specialist, an architect, a sales and marketing manager, a teacher of physically and mentally handicapped children, a manager of their own travel company, a helicopter pilot, a manager of a music company in America, a promoter of popular music in the UK, a deputy head of sector for the European Medicine Agency and an actor. These are just some the ones with whom I have had contact.
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The various misconceptions about Steiner education are vast. His ideas on teaching are based on the growth of the child, the building of individuals and the giving of self confidence to become what one wants to be, while maintaining a balanced view of the world. Children are encouraged to think for themselves and to form their own opinions on everything in life, to be receptive to new and varied ideas, but at no point are they told what to think. Science is as much part of the curriculum as the arts. Because of the timing with which subjects are introduced, if you tested a seven-year-old at a Steiner school against one in "main stream" education, they would not have the same knowledge, but test them at the age of 14 and you would find that pupils from Steiner schools would have a much broader and more varied knowledge, which included all the basics as prescribed by the Education Department.
I fully endorse the opening of a Steiner Academy in Exeter and to those people who oppose it on the grounds of his belief in the "occult", I would suggest they look at existing Steiner schools and the people who have come from these before they make unqualified remarks about the education and what it does or does not do.