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.
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 (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 that are offensive, racist and wrong. 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
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.
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.