Comment Rudolf Steiner conseillait aux professeurs des écoles Waldorf de manipuler les élèves, article du Times

A Steiner school handbook that suggested teachers visit children at home and give them chocolate has raised concerns about the potential for grooming.

The handbook, published and endorsed by the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship, tells teachers that parents’ evenings should be followed by “home visits”, where the teacher can spend time with the pupil.

There are 35 Steiner schools in Britain and Ireland, all private apart from four academies. They follow the methods of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher who advocated creativity and free thinking in education.

Rudolf Steiner advocated creativity and free thinking in education

Rudolf Steiner advocated creativity and free thinking in educationGETTY IMAGES

Rudolf Steiner advocated creativity and free thinking in educationGETTY IMAGES

In the handbook, which combines supposedly lighthearted musings with advice, teachers are told that “class pet names can be enjoyable”. It adds: “Rewards, for example chocolates (especially if the school rule is no chocolate), should be awarded to indicate how pleased you are with the individual.”

The handbook goes on to recommend that teachers “cultivate the strongest leaders in the class so that they see you as their special ally, the only adult who understands them”.

Another section advises: “Tell the class that they are a very special group (they must be to have you as a teacher) and let them know implicitly and explicitly that you are the only person able to teach them. Alongside this, it helps to hint that no one else could handle them as you do.” Its author, Kevin Avison, an executive officer and adviser of the fellowship, has written many Steiner books. He describes the handbook as a “humorous exploration” of Steiner teaching but adds that all the points have “something positive”.

Mike Tomlinson, former chief inspector of schools, told The Sunday Telegraph that the handbook “raises serious questions about the philosophy of the schools and the way in which they choose to see the teacher’s role”. He added: “I suspect that this may well be a call to arms to the Department for Education and Ofsted.”

It has recently emerged that the Rudolf Steiner School in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, is set to close amid concerns for child safety and reports that parents had been prevented from speaking out. Ofsted found that safeguarding was not strong enough.

A spokesman for Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship said the handbook had been misinterpreted. He said: “The text was always intended to be an ironic caricature and this is clearly signalled. Child protection and safety are the top priorities for the Steiner Waldorf Schools’ Fellowship and for the author.”

A spokesman from Ofsted said: “Ofsted does not hesitate to inspect certain independent schools when concerns are raised and when commissioned to do so by the Department for Education as the registration authority for these schools.”


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