Extracts from Diana Hinds’ article in today’s Times, Independent Schools supplement, reveal how more and more schools are waking up to the need for a broad based education, less shackled to exams and league tables:
‘Parents choosing a school for their children must sometimes think that the entire education system is engulfed by league tables, examination results and the frenzied pursuit of A* grades. But some independent schools go out of their way to emphasise that they offer something more rounded – an education for the “whole person”.
Giving children a broader education is one of the chief aims of Steiner Waldorf schools, of which there are now 33 in the UK and Ireland. Michael Hall School in East Sussex … is one of a small number in the UK that takes children from the age of 3-18. Formal learning begins at 6 and children stay with the same class teacher until 14. In the upper school pupils take GCSEs (no more than seven) and A Levels, with a raft of Steiner subjects such as craftwork and music, to ensure breadth. Contrary to the misconception that Steiner education is all play, the curriculum is structured and ‘rigorous’ says Sarah Wilson, class five teacher.
“It gives them a more rounded education,” says William Forward, an upper school teacher. “They come out with a readiness to take on anything, a willingness to have a go and say ‘yes’ to life.”