We love our school

 

Why does Moving Forward want to work with a Multi Academy Trust?

 

Most of us are concerned that becoming part of a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) may mean that the school loses much, if not all, of its distinctive ethos and character. For many of us this Steiner Waldorf approach was why we chose to send our children here in the first place.

Against this, however, many of us also recognise that Ofsted were right to rate the school as inadequate and have felt the need for radical improvement for some time. The school’s failings in key areas including safeguarding, developing basic skills and SEND provision have painfully exposed deficiencies in its capacity to meet the needs of our children.  These needs have to be met now.

 

We recognise that the school does not have the capacity to address the scale of its problems at the necessary speed without very significant support from experienced providers of education. As such we see the school’s incorporation into a MAT as an opportunity to rectify its weaknesses as quickly as possible and provide the long-term stability to grow into the school it should be.

 

In the short term we recognise that the school’s incorporation into a MAT is likely to prove uncomfortable. Even a sympathetic MAT is likely to turn to its ‘tried and trusted’ methods to try and achieve some early ‘quick fixes’ even if they are not totally in harmony with the school’s Steiner Waldorf character.

 

 

Beyond that, however, we believe that adding a Steiner Waldorf school to its portfolio will greatly benefit any MAT. The exchange of ideas and practice between it and other schools should be two-way.  A Department for Education and Skills (as it was then known) research report recognised that other schools could benefit from adopting practices from Steiner Waldorf schools including their:

  • early introduction and approach to modern foreign languages
  • combination of class and subject teaching for younger children
  • development of speaking and listening through an emphasis on oral work
  • development of a good pace in lessons through an emphasis on rhythm
  • emphasis on child development in guiding the curriculum and examinations
  • approach to art and creativity                                  (Woods et al. 2005)

We want to work with the MAT to build a true partnership. The circumstances that have brought SAE and the MAT together should not be taken as proving that one approach is right and the other wrong. They show that any school needs effective oversight combined with experience and capacity in leadership and management to succeed. Above all this is what membership of a MAT must bring. Beyond this it should provide an environment which supports, not straight-jackets, the future flourishing of our school based on its founding ethos and principles. Moving Forward want to work constructively with a MAT to do this.