Plans revealed for Steiner academy

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PLANS are in the pipeline for a new school that would give hundreds of Leeds children a very different kind of learning experience.

Classes at the Steiner Academy Leeds would be based on a theory of education that aims to offer an alternative approach to mainstream teaching.

The Steiner Waldorf method encourages children to explore the world through play until they begin formal lessons at the age of seven.

And although older pupils still work towards GCSEs, they follow a curriculum that puts the same emphasis on artistic and practical development as it does on intellectual learning.

Like other existing academies, the non-fee-paying school would operate outside of council control and instead receive its funding direct from the Government.

If all goes according to plan, it will be up and running next year with an initial intake of around 100 four to six-year-olds. By 2025, it is hoped the academy will have a roll of around 625 pupils aged up to 16.

A site for the school has yet to be decided but it is likely to be in either Meanwood or Chapel Allerton.

Natalie Rawson, co-project manager and former staff member at Carr Manor and South Leeds high schools, said: “I know what it’s like teaching in deprived areas, where there are very few school spaces, and it can only be a good thing that there is more choice for parents and their children.

“My children are adults now, but I would want them to attend the academy we hope to set up in Leeds.”

The Department for Education is expected to make an announcement by September on whether the academy plan can go ahead.

The Steiner Waldorf method is based on the thinking of Austrian educator Rudolf Steiner, who died in 1925.