Two Steiner schools facing closure

Two state Steiner schools now face closure following an official warning notice from the DfE, The Guardian has reported

Following various controversies around Steiner schools, two such schools in Bristol and Frome face closure after receiving termination notices.

Ofsted recently called for closer examinations of Steiner schools and how they operate.

The Department for Education (DfE) has since told the two West Country schools that their funding will be cut later this year.

Both received ‘inadequate’ ratings from Ofsted earlier this year; the accompanying reports contained a long list of safeguarding issues and teaching problems.

Lisa Mannall, the DfE’s regional schools commissioner for the south-west of England, said in her letters to the two schools:

“I am now issuing this termination warning notice because I do not have confidence that the trust is able to rapidly and sustainably improve the academy’s systems of governance and management and educational standards.”

“I am, therefore, minded to terminate the funding agreement of the academy and transfer the school to a strong multi-academy trust that can provide the capacity for continued improvement.”

Mannall’s letters informed the schools that their safeguarding was not effective, with pupils “exposed to avoidable risk of harm”, including unnecessary physical intervention.

“Governors have not held senior leaders to account effectively over time. As a result, teaching is weak and pupils are underachieving significantly across the school,” Mannell added.

Joss Hayes, the head teacher at the Steiner Academy Bristol, defended his school, saying: “External partners have already confirmed that safeguarding is effective at the school.

“We are committed to making improvements and have started implementing a number of new learning programmes.”

Both the Bristol and Frome trusts have until 20 February to plead their case to remain open and make the necessary improvements.

Roy Douglas, a governor at the Bristol school, said: “Our parents remains unfailingly supportive of our school and its ethos. We intend to challenge the Ofsted judgement in the courts.”

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