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What the parents say...

This is the most apathetic and uninspiring school our family has ever experienced. Please do not make the same mistake we did. This school is not what they advertise. We have given this school multiple chances, benefits of the doubt, our faith and whatnot, and they have failed us and so many other families miserably and repeatedly. We were reassured by this school that they were/are financially healthy. They are not. In fact, presently, the school’s financial situation is so poor that the College has asked parents to prepay next year's tuition to help with cash flow. Ask for a copy of the school’s budget that was circulated during their most recent All General Meeting to see the evidence for yourself. We were told by the school at the time of our initial enquiry that they offered their pupils the standard broad range of beloved Steiner subjects included as part of their curriculum (not extra-curricular). They do not. There exists no curriculum for woodworking, handwork, stringed instruments, woodwinds, music, and next year—we’ve just learnt—the school will be without a French teacher. “Gardening” is not Gardening here. It has informally been re-branded "Land Maintenance” wherein pupils put down grit, scrub stairs, and move big rocks around. Again, there exists no curriculum as to what the pupils have actually learned in this class. Honestly, it looks more like a hard labour camp. Interestingly, in the wake of the school’s aforementioned financial troubles, the school’s maintenance personnel who oftentimes put down grit, scrubbed stairs, and moved big rocks around has been recently sacked. Make of that what you will. Continuing on, ask to see the (non extra-curricular, extra fee required) “garden.” Ask to see the alleged “pond” the children are digging out. It looks more like a mass gravesite and has been in this stagnant condition for nearly seven months now. It is uninspiring. The physical condition of the school is filthy. The fact that the building is old is no excuse for not maintaining it, cleaning it, and taking some sense of pride in it. The hygiene (or lack there of) in the children's toilets is questionable at best. Some parents actually toilet their children off-site because the children do not want to use the loos. It is demoralising. Certain teachers routinely shout at and belittle pupils, then attempt to explain it away as a one-off to parents who raise concerns. Tragically, some students plead with their parents to not raise any concerns with their teachers because they are afraid of the ramifications they will endure in the classroom as a result. It is a text book example of an abuse of power. With a Jekyll-Hyde mentality, wearing a manufactured saccharin pleasant face for the parents, yet demeaning many of the children, teachers are habitually defencive, and parental concerns are routinely diminished and go unaddressed. The school’s theoretical grievance procedure is a farce. Parents do not make it past an informal meeting with a teacher before being shut out, never mind being able to move any legitimate concerns up the chain. There exists no accountability or system of cheques and balances. The school’s three-person Board is entirely too small and incestuous, and incapable of achieving any positive measurable results. The school has no strategic plan. Again, attend an Open Day and ask for the school’s strategic plan. They will have nothing to offer you. Go there. See the school for yourself. ASK QUESTIONS. That experience, and the non-answers you will receive from the school’s management, will be a more powerful and convincing review than anything I could possibly share in this forum here. Please do not fall victim to the faux positive reviews on the school’s social media sites. They are written by an incredibly small sample of parents who have their own personal agendas. Furthermore, spouses of the same household who have different surnames have written separate glowing reviews to make it appear as though there are more positive reviews than actually exist. It is smoke and mirrors. One of these parents, in particular, controls the school’s Facebook page and Instagram account. I would post this review there but, predictably, it would be deleted because only the 5-star ones are put out on display. This is where critical thinking on the part of prospective parents matters. This parent, clearly (and ironically) unaware of their own personal social media footprint, possesses no ethical boundaries and is Facebook friends with nearly all of the teachers and management. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that 1) this parent’s child is quite favoured among staff, and 2) one does not dare raise any concerns about the school within earshot of this parent or the teachers, or else they risk being blacklisted as someone trying to create problems for the school. After having been made to feel as though our family has gone mad and that any negative experiences we have had at this school are unique only to us (they are not), we began to question whether or not this school was the right fit for our children. After exhaustive research, meeting with parents who have been enrolled at other Steiner schools, and comparing this school to other Steiner schools throughout the Greater London area (because we still love the idea of Steiner), we have found this school to be a shambolic embarrassment to Steiner pedagogy and ethos, and a complete disservice to this approach to education. It is no wonder that Steiner schools are so often ridiculed and criticised. Not all Steiner schools are as horribly (mis-)managed as this one. Steiner education is brilliant, meaningful, relevant, and beautiful. Sadly, this school, and the way it is run, is not.

Commented on 3rd Jul 2018

We made a massive mistake sending our son, who has Special Educational Needs, to this school. We believed that their philosophy would make that school a better place for children, who are different, that they would be properly supported and fully integrated. Nothing of this kind happened, despite he got accepted at the school in full knowledge of his needs, and supported by the local council. There was no pastoral care and support from the beginning to help him make friends in his (very small) class, most of the kids there had been at the school for many years, and there was not a lot of appetite among some of the kids to accept and befriend him and be tolerant of him and him being different, despite my son making a massive effort. Some kids were better than others, and there were lovely kids, particularly among the girls, but on the whole our son suffered massively with a particular group of boys and the tensions between them got worse over the course of the year. In the end he was blamed for most of what had gone wrong, which is unacceptable for a vulnerable child with SEN and what you not expect from a school, which claims to raise and educate children in harmony with Steiner's philosophy. Sadly, the way of teaching did not accommodate our son's needs either, which made him feel underachieving and frustrated. So everyone, who thinks about sending their child to a Steiner school, with or without special needs, should have a close look at all this and make sure it would really work for their child. At least in this Steiner school it did not work for us and we decided to take him out.

Commented on 22nd Jan 2018

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