Two more Steiner schools warned to improve

Steiner schools in Brighton and Leeds must complete improvement plans by early August, says the DfE

Mark Smulian

Two Steiner schools have been ordered to produce improvement plans by the Department for Education

Two more Steiner schools have been given warning notices by the Department for Education telling them to implement improvement action plans by early August.

Letters went to the Beechtree Steiner Initiative, in Leeds, and the Brighton Waldorf School ordering them to submit action plans earlier this month.

Read: Ofsted to inspect private Steiner schools over safeguarding concerns  

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Inspection: Ofsted to inspect private Steiner schools over safeguarding concerns

Both were earlier this year found by Ofsted to have serious regulatory failings.

Beechtree Steiner Initiative was found in an additional inspection to not meet all of the independent school standards checked, while Brighton Waldorf School was judged "inadequate" or to "require improvement" on every performance measure except early years, which was rated "good".

Steiner schools under the spotlight

In the warning notice to the Beechtree Steiner school, the DfE said an action plan was required, which must be implemented by 8 August.

A similar warning notice to Brighton Waldorf School demanded an action plan be completed by 7 August.

Both schools were warned that if they failed they could be removed from the Register of Independent Schools or have their operations restricted. Both were also liable to a further check on progress by Ofsted.

The Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship – which lists both schools on its website – described such schools as promoting the philosophy of the Austrian educationalist Rudolf Steiner, which “takes account of the needs of the whole child – academic, physical, emotional and spiritual, is based on an understanding of the relevance of the different phases of child development [and] sees artistic activity and the development of the imagination as integral to learning”.

Last February, two Steiner academies in Bristol and Frome were told by the DfE that it planned to end their funding agreements and transfer them to new academy trusts. This followed a warning notice to the Steiner Academy Exeter last December.

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman in January wrote to education secretary Damian Hinds calling for the closure of inadequate Steiner schools that did not show rapid improvement

Ms Spielman said then that with the exception of the Steiner Academy Hereford, there were shortcomings in the quality of teaching and outcomes for all pupils across all inspections Ofsted carried out.

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