Steiner schools get backing to run academy

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The Independent Online

Support for more progressive teaching in state schools was signalled by the Government yesterday as it backed one of its flagship academies being run by the Steiner Fellowship.

Ministers have agreed that a Steiner school will join the Prime Minister's scheme and ignore the national curriculum and many exams. The Hereford Waldorf School in Much Dewchurch, Herefordshire, hopes to become a state-funded Steiner Academy in 2007. This will pave the way for other Steiner schools to become publicly funded.

The school charges £4,500 a year but would become free once in the state sector. Children are not taught to read until they are seven and instead concentrate on play, drawing, story telling and nature study. Their spiritual, emotional and creative needs receive as much focus as their ability to master the three Rs.

Although pupils in the 23 Steiner schools can sit GCSEs and A-levels, they tend to regard testing as a waste of teaching time and prefer students to take no exams until A-levels.

The movement was created by Rudolph Steiner, the Austrian-born philosopher.

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