What makes your education different?

Edinburgh Steiner School is part of an international network of over 1000 Steiner Waldorf schools, all of which offer a similar curriculum with a distinctive local element. Our school is unique in the way it is structured and administered.

 

No entrance exam

The School is independent, but doesn’t select pupils on the basis of ‘academic ability’.

 

College of Teachers in place of Headteacher

It is also non-hierarchical, in the sense that there is no ‘head teacher’ or ‘heads of department’. Instead, all the teachers are responsible for managing the School and work collegially, reaching decisions by consensus.

 

Holistic curriculum

Another unique feature of Edinburgh Steiner School is the holistic curriculum, which emphasises creative thinking, imagination and interdisciplinary learning. While the principles of Steiner Waldorf education are common to all Steiner schools, each school and individual teacher has the freedom to interpret and develop the curriculum in unique ways. This is because Steiner Waldorf education is rooted in values and intentions: it is not a collection of syllabuses which list specific bullet points of knowledge. It is not utilitarian.

 

Foster pupils with vision and purpose 

While education has a duty to prepare young people for the world, and to help them develop skills and knowledge, we believe our most important purpose is to inculcate a sense of moral agency: education should be rooted in an understanding of what it means to be human; how and why human beings are connected to each other and the natural world, and what it means to be an responsible individual in a wider community. This is what we mean when we describe Steiner education as ‘education towards freedom’: it isn’t about the ‘freedom to do as we please’ but refers to the freedom which comes from resilience, moral courage and self-knowledge—the freedom to know ourselves and be true to ourselves.

 

A bastion of the Steiner Waldorf approach to teaching in Scotland, the broad curriculum at Edinburgh Steiner School emphasises creative thinking, imagination and interdisciplinary learning. Its cornerstone feature is the Main Lesson Programme, delivering over 100 concentrated topics over a pupil’s twelve-year school career.

 

While the pedagogical principles are common to all Steiner kindergartens and schools, each school and teacher has the freedom to interpret and develop the curriculum in individual ways. This is because Steiner Waldorf education is rooted in values and intentions: it is not a collection of syllabuses which list specific bullet points of knowledge.

 

While education has a duty to prepare young people for the world, and to help them develop skills and knowledge, we believe our most important purpose is to instil a sense of principled agency: education from our standpoint is rooted in an understanding of what it means to be human; how and why human beings are connected to each other and the natural world, and what it means to be a responsible individual in a wider community.

 

Centre for the delivery of the Integrated Education Suite

There is a growing need for creative solutions to meet an ever-increasing array of social, political, economic and natural challenges, from disaffected youth to climate change, and yet there are fewer and fewer opportunities for young people to practise the necessary skillset they will need within the current assessment system.

 

Employers, universities and global leaders in creativity are calling for the education sector to make an investment of effort now, so that pupils will have the inner tools that they need to meet these modern challenges.

 

Edinburgh Steiner School is a not-for-profit school, with charitable status based on the advancement of education. It is currently running the Integrated Education Certificate with pupils in Classes 8 upwards. Derived from the international ACTS – Acknowledging Creative Thinking Skills – project, the portfolio-based qualification, now on the Ofqual register, is equivalent to two GCSEs.

 

ACTS recognises that assessment by exams does not necessarily give an accurate or complete picture of pupils’ achievements and abilities. Feeling stifled by the requirement to force-feed knowledge to stressed and fatigued teenagers, educators from Finland, Norway, Sweden and the UK, including Edinburgh Steiner School, sought a far more inclusive and less invasive form of assessing the pupils’ skills than the standard exam system. Nobel Laureate in Neuroscience, Professor Thomas Sudhof is Patron of ACTS.