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Informal, Formal & Non-formal Learning At The Fore

Class 8 presented their months-long Independent Projects in the School Hall on Thursday and Friday. This is the backbone of the first module of the Integrated Education Certificate (equivalent to two National 5s).

Piloted in 2019, this will be the fifth year ESS pupils will be awarded a qualification for their Class 8 Projects. Many pupils were significantly impacted by the pandemic; however, in the last three years Ofqual-regulated awarding body, Crossfields Institute (now Kato Education), has presented 53 ESS pupils with the IE Award and 33 Upper School pupils with the IE Certificate.

The Independent Project draws on formal, non-formal and informal learning and any area of the taught curriculum. There are no obligatory exams. Assessment is based on a range of evidence – their exhibited portfolios, informative talk to peers, and a logbook documenting their process and ideas (including mentoring sessions with a professional in their chosen field).


The Level 2 IE qualifications are intended primarily for 14-16 year old pupils, whereas our pupils are just thirteen when they embark on the first module. This year’s cohort of 20 pupils have now completed their presentations and submitted their portfolios for marking. They will be graded a Pass, Merit or Distinction.

This Kato Education Level 2 IE Certificate, incorporating the Independent Project under their belt, equates to 36 credits (1 credit per 10 hours of learning time), which is a concrete part of ESS pupils’ recorded education history on any future UCAS application.

More importantly, this module enables pupils to follow their passion and explore an interest or career aspiration in depth whilst developing the ability to self-direct and coordinate their own learning. The leading photograph above is of a board game, Emoveo, where the rules were made up by the learner. Almost all have now turned fourteen, including one who created a rack of bespoke handprinted tshirts, exploring how he would also sell them.

A possible pastry chef peer offered to design the dessert for the 2-course Alumni Lunch as part of his Professional Cake Making project. A creative classmate made her own dyes from egg shells, onions, cabbage and beetroot, before getting to work on her final pieces for Silk Painting. Her fellow Class 8er’s project  – a skatebaord ramp, is so large that it couldn’t be erected in the hall – a model ramp, essay and photographs tell viewers the story. The essay that is the starting page of her in-depth exploration into this subculture begins:

“Skaters are often seen as a rebellious subculture. Their baggy clothes, their association with graffiti, ‘hanging out’ in town centres – pulverising handrails and careering down steps – skaters are often considered a nuisance. Some people even see skaters as vandals or delinquents. I see things very differently.

I believe skaters enjoy creativity, risk, freedom. Urban skaeboarding is a subculture that is more than just a sport. It is also a blend of fashion, art, bravery and rebellion”


As the exhibition closed after 10pm on Friday and the weekend began for the pupils, one drove the electric go-kart he built out the School Hall, off the campus grounds, homeward bound. But it will return..

Many Class 8 pupils will re-exhibit their projects at the upcoming Spring Fair (Saturday 11th May, 11am – 4pm, School Hall) for alumni, as well as a second chance for the School community to visit.

In the meantime, the pupils have moved straight on to working on their play, One Stoplight Town, being performed next Thursday (7pm) and Friday (2.15pm / 7pm), as well as at the Spring Fair (2.45pm, School Hall). The following month they embark on their German Exchange, joining sister Waldorf school in Coburg, where their language lessons spanning eight years will come to fruition in daily school and home life.

Those pupils who choose to go on to the IE Certificate next year will continue on to complete Modules Two (Creative Thinking Skills) and Three (Personal and Social Learning Skills), drawn from the broad Upper School Curriculum, alongside their exams diet of National 5s/GCSE, Highers and Advanced Highers.


Tuesday Notice

News pieces:

School calendar dates

Management Surgeries

Boarding Families Needed For ESS Visting Students

Deadline For Bursary Applications Next Thursday

Edinburgh Steiner Opera Opportunity For Classes 4-6

Planning Application Granted For Seedlings Building

Thanking Sunday’s Campus Spring Cleaning Volunteers

Repeat Craft For The Spring Fair

Informal, Formal & Non-formal Learning At The Fore