NNA News for civil society

Frome Steiner Academy free school proposal approved

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 | By NNA staff


LONDON (NNA) – The proposal from a British Waldorf school to obtain free school status has been approved to go forward to opening by the UK Department for Education in the latest round of applications.

Free school status - based on the US charter school and Swedish models - means that the school will receive government funding without being under local authority control and is not required to follow the national curriculum, can set its own pay and conditions for staff, has greater control over its budget and can change the length of terms and school days.

Frome Steiner Academy plans to open its doors at the start of the next school year in September 2012. The proposal is for 26 places to begin with, starting with kindergarten and classes 1, 2 and 3, but growing year by year to 644 places.

“Our dream is a reality – free Steiner education for all,” a clearly delighted school said on its website.

“For the vast majority of people in the UK, access to Steiner education is fee-based and beyond the reach of most. We have been campaigning for state-funded Steiner education for years and with the government’s free schools programme we hope to finally bring this dream to reality,” the school added.

The umbrella organisation for Steiner Waldorf schools in the UK and Ireland, the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF), also had praise for the success for the project: “The success of the Frome bid is a tribute to the hard work and professionalism of a determined and dedicated team and good news for the children and parents of this Somerset town.”

Frome Steiner Academy is one of only 55 new free schools to have been given government approval from 281 applications. Three Steiner schools were shortlisted.

As NNA reported at the time, no Rudolf Steiner schools were successful in the previous first round of applications because they did not taken account sufficiently of the new more rigorous approach demanded by the government.

“How excellent to have a second opportunity now that we know what we are doing,” Sylvie Sklan from the SWSF told NNA. More applications are expected in future rounds.

Frome will become the second state-funded Steiner Waldorf school in the UK, joining the Steiner Academy Hereford which opened its doors in 2008. 

END/nna/cva

Item: 111021-01EN Date: 21 October 2011

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