FAQ

What does ‘Free School’ mean?
Aren’t Free Schools always failing?
Who is setting up Steiner Academy Sussex Weald?
What is the curriculum at a Steiner Free School like?
Why should I send my child to a Steiner school?
What does a Steiner school look like?
How is reading taught in a Steiner school? Why do Steiner students wait until age 7 or 8 to begin learning to read?
What do our schools recommend about television viewing and IT?
Who was Steiner and what is anthroposophy?
What provision is made for pupils with different learning needs?
Which Year Groups will the Steiner Academy Sussex Weald open with?

What does ‘Free School’ mean?

The government has made it possible for people to create new schools if they can show that there is a need for them. If a group can show that there is demand for a new school, that they have a good idea for what the school should be like, and that they are able to manage the school properly, the government will pay for buildings to be converted and for the running costs of the school.
These schools are called Free Schools. The ‘free’ bit means that they are not controlled by the Local Education Authority – their funding comes direct from central government and they are non fee paying for the families that attend. There are also freedoms to set a curriculum, to vary teachers’ conditions of service, and to vary lengths of school day and term. For more information, please visit www.gov.uk/types-of-school/free-schools.

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Aren’t Free Schools always failing?

There are over 170 Free Schools currently open and only two have been obliged to close, for reasons that were documented in the media.
Free Schools undergo a rigorous application and pre-opening process with the Department for Education (DfE), who want to make sure that the school has the right team in place to deliver the curriculum within the agreed financial framework. As with all other schools, Free Schools are subject to Ofsted inspection. Many Free Schools, including Steiner Academies, have been highly rated by Ofsted.

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Who is setting up Steiner Academy Sussex Weald?

We are a group of education, arts and youth professionals, as well as parents and grandparents in the Sussex Weald area, who are committed to providing an excellent, modern Steiner education that is open to all. The group includes teachers from both Steiner and mainstream backgrounds and professional managers from the charity, public and private sectors.
We believe that Steiner education should be open to all – non-fee-paying and ethnically and culturally diverse, to meet the needs of our diverse country and world. Steiner education is a dynamic movement, and we want a school that provides an excellent, stimulating, creative education that looks to the future and will provide our children with the personal qualities, skills and qualifications that they will need in a fast-changing world.

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What is the curriculum at a Steiner Free School like?

The curriculum at a Steiner Free School will largely mirror the Steiner curriculum at an independent state school, with some exceptions to allow for mainstream assessment where required.

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Why should I send my child to a Steiner school?

The main reason is that Steiner schools honour and protect the wonder of childhood. Every effort is expended to make Steiner schools safe, secure and nurturing environments for the children.
Secondly, Steiner education has a consistent philosophy of child development underlying the curriculum. All subjects are introduced in age appropriate fashion.
Finally, Steiner schools produce graduates who are academically advantaged with respect to their public school counterparts, and who consistently gain admission to top universities.

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What does a Steiner school look like?

One of the best descriptive videos we have found is this one from the Marin school in the US: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZmAX5adCl0. Whilst depicting an American school, the video shows features of Steiner schools that are found in many other countries including the UK.

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How is reading taught in a Steiner school? Why do Steiner students wait until age 7 or 8 to begin learning to read?

Reading instruction, as such, is deferred. Instead, writing is taught first. During the first grade year the children explore how our alphabet came about, discovering how each letter’s form evolved out of a pictograph. Writing thus evolves out of the children’s art, and their ability to read likewise evolves as a natural and, indeed, comparatively effortless stage of their mastery of language.

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What do our schools recommend about television viewing and IT?

A familiarity with all the technologies that surround us and influence our lives is an essential part of a complete education. There is growing evidence, however, that too much ‘screen time’ is detrimental to children and Steiner schools do not shy away from engaging in critical debate about the appropriate use of computers, TV and DVD.

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Who was Steiner and what is anthroposophy?

Rudolf Steiner was born in what is now Croatia in 1861. He wrote and lectured on a wide range of contemporary issues including architecture, medicine, philosophy, science, economics and social reform as well as education. For more information on Rudolf Steiner and the philosophy and practice of Steiner education, please see www.waldorfanswers.com.
Our approach to education is based on Steiner’s educational insights, specifically those that relate to child development. These ideas are contained in Steiner’s approximately 4,000 lectures and some 50 written works. Many of these can be accessed on line at the Rudolf Steiner archive www.rsarchive.org.

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What provision is made for pupils with different learning needs?

A child’s weaknesses in one area – whether cognitive, emotional or physical – is viewed as usually balanced by strengths in another area. It is the teacher’s job to try to bring the child’s whole being into balance and to offer a differentiated approach in the classroom in order to meet a wide range of abilities. Most schools employ SEN specialists to support the class and subject teachers.

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Which Year Groups will the Steiner Academy Sussex Weald open with?

The table below shows how we should like the Steiner Academy Sussex Weald to grow during the 8 years from 2016 to 2023.

The new intake for each year is shown in red. So, in 2016 we would take in years R, 1, 2, 3, and 4. From 2017 we would take in year R (x2), and in 2019-2023 we would also take in a year 7 (to parallel the single existing group).

The introduction of parallel classes (shown as x-x) will be subject to demand at the time.

2016 (140)

R

1

2

3

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 (196)

R-R

1

2

3

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 (252)

R-R

1-1

2

3

4

5

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019 (336)

R-R

1-1

2-2

3

4

5

6

7-7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020 (420)

R-R

1-1

2-2

3-3

4

5

6

7-7

8-8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2021 (504)

R-R

1-1

2-2

3-3

4-4

5

6

7-7

8-8

9-9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2022 (588)

R-R

1-1

2-2

3-3

4-4

5-5

6

7-7

8-8

9-9

10-10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2023 (672 – Full School)

R-R

1-1

2-2

3-3

4-4

5-5

6-6

7-7

8-8

9-9

10-10

11-11

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