Anti-Racism Policy

Injustice and discrimination has been faced by people of colour in the UK and around the world over multiple generations. We recognise the immense damage this has done and the impact such discrimination continues to have on the members of those communities.  

It is fundamental to the ethos of Waldorf education that we be engaged in a continual process of enquiry, self-education and self-reflection both as individuals and as organisations. This statement is a part of that process.

Being anti-racist

Recognising that racism permeates society we seek to be an organisation that is anti-racist. This means we work to take conscious steps to identify, address and oppose racism and racist activity (whether conscious or not).

Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)  provided "insights" and "indications" (rather than instructions) and a theory that identified the key stages of child development which have has informed a cornerstone of Steiner Waldorf education since its inception more than 100 years ago. However, his work conducted in the early 1900s in relation to anthroposophy contain statements and concepts that characterise race and other group identities in ways which are discriminatory and which we reject. These concepts do not inform our education in any way: they influence neither content nor methodology and sit in contrast with Steiner's humanist philosophy which was based on a profound respect for the individuality and shared humanity of all people which is central to our work. See Rudolf Steiner

Our responsibility to bring change

We also recognise the lack of diversity in our own organisation and how this perpetuates the existing systems of discrimination.  We are working to change that situation and are committed to becoming an inclusive organisation and are supporting members to take on and develop ways of promoting equality and diversity in all aspects of running a school. We also support schools to incorporate anti-racist and inclusive approaches throughout the curriculum and in their work with children and their families.

We encourage schools to include pupils in this process, integrating knowledge, understanding and recognition of racism and how to build an inclusive society as part of their education. We realise mistakes will be made but we will endeavour to listen, be open and learn. We will continue to seek partnerships that supports this work and encourage people to come forward with feedback and suggestions. We recognise that this will be a continuing process and that fundamental change takes time. This is a statement which reflects our values, intentions and actions. It is a living document and we encourage debate and discussion regarding the issues within it and invite feedback and welcome comment from any person.

Actions to promote a more diverse and inclusive school movement in the UK include:

  • Three-day teachers' conference on the theme of Diversity and Inclusion bringing together 500 delegates from the UK and around the world to discuss solutions for creating a more inclusive schools and curriculum. Sessions included “Experience Decolonising the Waldorf High School Curriculum” and “Developing a Culture of Anti-bias in Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Programme”. These presentations and workshops are recorded and available to member schools as a resource for training and consciousness raising.
  • The creation of Racial Equality and Diversity Leads who meet regularly as a Network Group to champion and support anti-discrimination work (including the curriculum) in each of our schools. We provide training and initiatives to support this work.  
  • Development of a curriculum framework which enables schools to contextualise their curricula based on the original aims of Steiner Waldorf education and not simply replicate the curriculum of the first school. A resource hub is under development that will provide specific ideas and guidance.   
  • Training delivered by Equaliteach and financial support for schools to join the Equaliteach award scheme designed to encourage greater diversity.   
  • Development of a resource hub for teachers covering race and other diversity issues.  
  • Liaise with colleagues to create a USA/UK conference in 2024 which will explore issues of racism with an emphasis on a movement wide self-reflection and evaluation of Rudolf Steiner's work within the is context.  

Waldorf Education Worldwide

The Waldorf Education movement has grown exponentially across the world and exists in over 80 countries including India, Kenya, Tanzania, China, Taiwan and the Middle East. Schools thrive in an array of diverse cultures and spiritual beliefs. Waldorf Schools were some of the first schools in South Africa to educate white and black children in the same class. In the Middle East the Ein Bustan school on the West Bank brings together Arab and Jewish colleagues to work side by side educating Arab and Jewish children together. In Northern Ireland the Holywood Steiner School was one of the first schools to teach both Catholic and Protestant children together. Work continues to be done worldwide to contextualise the curriculum to ensure it reflects each country's own heritage.