We monitor progress closely and assess where appropriate but testing is minimal. In general we don’t think regular testing contributes to a love of learning or self-esteem. We don’t do SATs.
Childhood is not a race
The Steiner Waldorf approach takes child development seriously. Learning is age-appropriate. The most socially, intellectually and educationally advanced countries in the world (e.g. Sweden) delay formal teaching until age 6, but begin teaching foreign languages earlier. Why? Because they understand that children need the right verbal and social skills before formal teaching begins. We do the same. By age 11, numeracy, literacy and language skills have normally outpaced those of mainstream children.
GCSE results consistently above national average
87% of our Year 11s achieved a 4 (equivalent to a C) or above in English. This includes one 9 and two 8s plus eight Distinctions in Spoken English. In Maths 80% achieved a 4 or above. In their other subjects 90% achieved a B or above in German (with four A*s) and 89% achieved a B or above in French (with four A*s).
Subjects are taught using the outdoors, songs, movement and art. We aim to inspire a curiosity about the world around us – a feature regularly referred to by Ofsted inspectors, parents and ex-pupils.
It’s not too late to have a positive school experience
Pupils join Elmfield from other schools at all ages and we pride ourselves on changing their experience of what school can be like. Elmfield is a school where pupils can finally relax and be accepted for themselves. They discover that school can be fun and doesn’t have to be the way they thought. Of course, we take the education of our pupils very seriously and we want them all to achieve their academic potential. But even more than that we want to ignite a love of learning that lasts their whole lives.
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything learned at school” (Einstein)
Our teenagers tend to be mature, socially responsible and able to learn independently. This seems to be what strikes visitors the most about our school. In November 2011 Ofsted said Elmfield’s pupils’ “spiritual and moral development is outstanding”.
We understand the children
In mainstream education a pupil will often be taught by 7 teachers in a day and will need to adjust to a new class teacher each year. In a Steiner School, the same teacher stays with a group of pupils from age 6 to 14, teaching most of their lessons and understanding their talents, fears and history. More teachers are involved as children get older. Lessons are planned with a group of children in mind. Staff meetings include ‘child study’ sessions, where all staff contribute to the in depth study of one child. We also keep our classes at a manageable size.
World’s most exciting curriculum?
Many schools claim that preparing children for exams is only a part of what they do. With us, it’s really true. During the years spent studying for GCSEs, we spend less than half the time studying for GCSEs! The rest is spent experiencing an array of subjects. Where else can you experience forge work, philosophy, half-marathon training and geology whilst studying for your GCSEs? Our curriculum is based on children’s developmental needs, not political fads.
Rather than crush creativity with worksheets and tests, we develop it. All classes put on plays and performances every year. The curriculum includes dance, singing, crafts and painting. All children play a musical instrument. ‘Stream of Sound’, one of the best choirs in the West Midlands, is based at Elmfield and is comprised mainly of current and former pupils. The standard of artwork is remarkable, too.
Steiner students tend to flourish at Sixth Form College and University, having experienced a rich, broad curriculum and having acquired the confidence, maturity, social skills and intellect to take on new challenges. Jonathan Godfrey, Principal of Hereford Sixth Form College says “Steiner school students are more articulate, motivated and mature, more willing to take responsibility for their own learning”.
Elmfield puts Waldorf education on the map!
Runners-Up – 2014 TES Awards for Maths & Numeracy
Winner – 2013 Independent School Awards for Education Initiative of the Year
Runners-Up – 2013 National Teaching Awards
Shortlisted – 2013 TES Teacher of the Year
Oh, and our fees are 19-60% cheaper than most independent schools.
To find out more why not come to one of our Open Events. We look forward to meeting you.