Judicial review sought over closed Steiner school

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Fishnut
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Judicial review sought over closed Steiner school

Post by Fishnut » Wed May 20, 2020 9:35 pm

Wynstones School near Gloucester was shut in January following an Ofsted report that found, among other problems,
Considerable turbulence, a detrimental culture and a lack of capacity have prevented leaders from addressing inherent weaknesses in the quality of education. Leaders report that changes are being blocked by a group of resistant teachers. Most middle leaders have stepped down from their roles due to frustrations at the pace of improvement or in order to fill gaps in staffing...

Relationships between staff and parents and carers have led to a situation where children’s safety is secondary to vested interests. The staff body is divided and those who want to change are intimidated by other staff and a body of parents who want to retain control over the school. Children are at risk of serious harm and are not protected when they should be...

Parents do not feel able to raise concerns formally or informally. The high number of parents removing their children from the school this academic year – particularly those that cite safeguarding and bullying as the reason for this – demonstrates this. [Source: Ofsted report]

Parents at the school are now seeking a judicial review claiming that the Ofsted report "completely misrepresents the nature" of the school.

I don't know whether it being a Steiner school has any bearing on it being a terribly run school (though I have my suspicions) but I seem to remember Steiner being discussed in the old place and thought the story might be of interest to some here.

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Re: Judicial review sought over closed Steiner school

Post by JQH » Wed May 20, 2020 10:22 pm

Their entire curriculum is based on woo.
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Re: Judicial review sought over closed Steiner school

Post by Fishnut » Thu May 21, 2020 5:52 am

JQH wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 10:22 pm
Their entire curriculum is based on woo.
Yes, but it can still be well-run woo. While the report said that the kids weren't being stretched, most of it issues were about organisation and safeguarding.

That said, I suspect that a lot of the problems do come down to the philosophical basis for the school. For example, the "vested interests" may be those who believe in Steiner and those who thought they were just getting their kids out of mainstream education. But the report doesn't clarify.

It does lead to a broader question. In reports like this is it right to be unbiased and just point out the problems without giving any causal explanation for them, or should there be a requirement to explain what has led to things going wrong? Should the report say that the Steiner philosophy led to the failure of the school because it's incompatible with good educational attainment or should it remain neutral about the philosophy underlying a school's ethos?

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Re: Judicial review sought over closed Steiner school

Post by Gfamily » Thu May 21, 2020 7:41 am

Private Eye has an article about it
IMG_21052020_083901_(1080_x_1080_pixel).jpg
IMG_21052020_083901_(1080_x_1080_pixel).jpg (430.67 KiB) Viewed 327 times
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Re: Judicial review sought over closed Steiner school

Post by Boustrophedon » Thu May 21, 2020 11:19 pm

The issue of safeguarding is for me more important than any academic or curricular criticism. It is within my doddery old memory that a Steiner school "lost" a vulnerable pupil and only found her drowned in the school pond some hours later.

Much as I distrust the Steiner Waldorf ethos, I equally distrust the current mainstream ethos and educational methodology, much of which has poor if non existant scientific evidence to back it up, that would be woo then. I spent a career fighting Brain Gym, Irlen and Autism woo by the bucket load. And don't get me started on Systematic Phonics. The point being that the Steiner schools did seem to turn out quite well rounded individuals, who seem to do equally well in life as any other kids from well to do, university educated, upper middle class families. </irony>

So to sum up my feelings I distrust the current Ofsted/Tory party hegemony in education and the uniformity of educational style, every bit as much as the Steiner woo, with the caveat that the Steiner schools seem kinder and I deplore the lack of choice and variation, that Ofsted imposes.
...zoologically improbable and/or terrifying to small children.

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Re: Judicial review sought over closed Steiner school

Post by Martin_B » Fri May 22, 2020 12:58 am

Boustrophedon wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 11:19 pm
... The point being that the Steiner schools did seem to turn out quite well rounded individuals, who seem to do equally well in life as any other kids from well to do, university educated, upper middle class families. </irony>
This is the bit that gets me. Whenever their supports try to talk them up, Steiner schools achievements are compared to the national average. It overlooks that the schools are self-selecting from a social group who often do significantly better than the national average in schools.
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Re: Judicial review sought over closed Steiner school

Post by Boustrophedon » Fri May 22, 2020 7:13 am

Martin_B wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 12:58 am
Boustrophedon wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 11:19 pm
... The point being that the Steiner schools did seem to turn out quite well rounded individuals, who seem to do equally well in life as any other kids from well to do, university educated, upper middle class families. </irony>
This is the bit that gets me. Whenever their supports try to talk them up, Steiner schools achievements are compared to the national average. It overlooks that the schools are self-selecting from a social group who often do significantly better than the national average in schools.
But given that applies to all private schools and no one is talking about shutting then down on educational grounds.
...zoologically improbable and/or terrifying to small children.

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Re: Judicial review sought over closed Steiner school

Post by Martin_B » Fri May 22, 2020 8:24 am

Boustrophedon wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 7:13 am
Martin_B wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 12:58 am
Boustrophedon wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 11:19 pm
... The point being that the Steiner schools did seem to turn out quite well rounded individuals, who seem to do equally well in life as any other kids from well to do, university educated, upper middle class families. </irony>
This is the bit that gets me. Whenever their supports try to talk them up, Steiner schools achievements are compared to the national average. It overlooks that the schools are self-selecting from a social group who often do significantly better than the national average in schools.
But given that applies to all private schools and no one is talking about shutting then down on educational grounds.
[Pedant's hat] Not all private schools. My mother used to be school secretary at a private school which specialised in children with developmental language disorders, attention deficit disorders, etc. [/Pedant's hat]
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Re: Judicial review sought over closed Steiner school

Post by Opti » Fri May 22, 2020 8:44 am

Having lived for a long time in Steiner Central, I met a fair number of adults who had been educated at Steiner schools who felt that their life chances had been adversely affected by their experience.
For 11 years I lived 20m away from a Steiner school. The kids, on the whole, were polite and happy (if oddly dressed) - but the parents and staff were really f.cking thoughtless, rude and cult-like.
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Re: Judicial review sought over closed Steiner school

Post by Boustrophedon » Fri May 22, 2020 10:16 am

Martin_B wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:24 am

[Pedant's hat] Not all private schools. My mother used to be school secretary at a private school which specialised in children with developmental language disorders, attention deficit disorders, etc. [/Pedant's hat]
Sorry don't get you. Are you saying that they were trying to shut that school down?
...zoologically improbable and/or terrifying to small children.

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Re: Judicial review sought over closed Steiner school

Post by Boustrophedon » Fri May 22, 2020 10:18 am

Opti wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:44 am
Having lived for a long time in Steiner Central, I met a fair number of adults who had been educated at Steiner schools who felt that their life chances had been adversely affected by their experience.
For 11 years I lived 20m away from a Steiner school. The kids, on the whole, were polite and happy (if oddly dressed) - but the parents and staff were really f.cking thoughtless, rude and cult-like.
Just like the parents in any other private school in say Hertfordshire? I do get your point though.
...zoologically improbable and/or terrifying to small children.

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Re: Judicial review sought over closed Steiner school

Post by Martin_B » Fri May 22, 2020 12:43 pm

Boustrophedon wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 10:16 am
Martin_B wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:24 am

[Pedant's hat] Not all private schools. My mother used to be school secretary at a private school which specialised in children with developmental language disorders, attention deficit disorders, etc. [/Pedant's hat]
Sorry don't get you. Are you saying that they were trying to shut that school down?
No, I said that Steiner schools do better than the national average, but that they self-select from a social group who often do better than the national average anyway. You then said that that applied to all private schools.
I was pointing out that some (well, at least one) private schools don't aim to do better than the national average, as they cater for students who would never get close to attaining that.
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Re: Judicial review sought over closed Steiner school

Post by tom p » Fri May 22, 2020 1:34 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 5:52 am
JQH wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 10:22 pm
Their entire curriculum is based on woo.
Yes, but it can still be well-run woo. While the report said that the kids weren't being stretched, most of it issues were about organisation and safeguarding.
Well I'm not surprised. Corporal punishment was banned decades ago, and I think the rack hasn't been considered an educational tool for centuries

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Re: Judicial review sought over closed Steiner school

Post by Rich Scopie » Fri May 22, 2020 1:39 pm

tom p wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 1:34 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 5:52 am
JQH wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 10:22 pm
Their entire curriculum is based on woo.
Yes, but it can still be well-run woo. While the report said that the kids weren't being stretched, most of it issues were about organisation and safeguarding.
Well I'm not surprised. Corporal punishment was banned decades ago, and I think the rack hasn't been considered an educational tool for centuries
Probably, although I had a history teacher threaten to have me torn apart by wild horses.
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