Steiner School Balham: Inspectors say toddlers in the nursery were “not kept safe” and leadership was “dysfunctional”

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Steiner School Balham: Inspectors say toddlers in the nursery were “not kept safe” and leadership was “dysfunctional”

Postby Community Editor » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:24 pm

Inspectors say how children have excellent opportunities for “crafts and baking” at the London Steiner School in Balham, but toddlers in the nursery were “not kept safe” and leadership was “dysfunctional”.

Steiner schools across the UK have been warned that they could be shut down after their first Ofsted inspections revealed staff were manhandling children and turning a blind eye to “sexualised” behaviour.

The chief inspector of schools, Amanda Spielman, has written to the Education Secretary to describe the “deeply concerning” safeguarding failures at Steiner schools and urged him close down any that fail to "rapidly" improve. 

Last month, Education Secretary, Damian Hinds ordered Ofsted to carry out a series of urgent inspections at Steiner Schools.

The majority of Steiner schools in England are private and inspected by the School Inspection Service (SIS), an independent organisation whose inspectors are trained in the Steiner ethos.

But there had been concern about the suitability of the SIS - which has now shut down - to inspect Steiner schools and hold them to account on their shortcomings. 

Mr Hinds took the unusual step of commissioning Ofsted to conduct a “series” of inspections of Steiner schools in England and report directly to him on their findings. 

Ms Spielman said that the inspection reports, which have all been published in recent weeks, reveal a pattern of failings which have led to “serious” consequences for children’s safety.

At Wynstones, a private boarding Steiner school in Gloucester, inspectors found there was a “failure to respond effectively to incidents of sexualised behaviour between children”. They also noted that untrained staff had physically restrained children, which left them “at risk”.

At a state-funded Steiner academy in Bristol, inspectors said that pupils were “exposed to avoidable risk of harm” and that “physical intervention is used unnecessarily”.

At another Steiner academy in Frome, Somerset inspectors noted concerns about “discriminatory attitudes” towards children with learning disabilities. Ms Spielman told Damian Hinds that the inspectors’ findings "raise questions" about "underlying principles of Steiner education" and urged officials at the Department for Education to investigate this further.

The Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship, the umbrella body for all the Steiner schools in the UK and Ireland, said it welcomes “regular and robust inspection”.

A spokesman said: “It is a matter of deep regret when individual schools fail in their duties. There is no compromise where the welfare of pupils is concerned....[We] have taken immediate action to ensure that standards rapidly improve as per Ms Spielman’s recommendations.”

Mr Hinds said that officials will take “robust action” against any schools that is failing children.

Does this story affect you? What do you think of Steiner Schools? What do you think of the Ofsted inspectors' findings?

The Telegraph has had a longstanding investigation into the welfare of children at Steiner Schools - ... ns-reveal/ 

Photo: Rudolph Steiner - Steiner schools base their curriculum on the spiritual philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, called anthroposophy, which emphasise child creativity and the importance of rearing free spirited individuals.

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Re: Steiner School Balham: Inspectors say toddlers in the nursery were “not kept safe” and leadership was “dysfunctional

Postby Lola123 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:12 am

This is worrying and I hope swiftly dealt with!
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