Olly Fox, Screen, Stage, and Film Composer – “I was at The Bristol Waldorf School from 1974 to 1982. By the time I had to leave to study A Levels I had been there longer than any of my peers. My class teacher, Peter Patterson, was one of the founder-members of the school. In his class you felt like he was the embodiment of the school ethos. Actually, like the best teachers, he was much more than that. He followed the guidelines, but he stretched and bent them to our tune. No one else I knew at the time sang songs in 3-part harmony, composed by his class teacher, or took trips to the Forest of Dean in bluebell season, or went potholing in the Cheddar Gorge to analyse stalactites and stalagmites, or played cricket on the Clifton Downs with more interest in cloud formations than ‘leg before wicket’.
“How many teachers would dedicate the first hour of the school day, throughout a whole academic year, to the reading out loud of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings? Whilst also teaching the nuts and bolts, we were taught woodwork, crafts, eurythmy; art, music, and drama were at the centre of the curriculum.
“The school was an urban phenomenon: a happy, functioning, genuinely communal inner-city school, where middle-class Clifton kids learned alongside working-class St Paul’s kids. We weren’t judged by academic ability, but by emotional intelligence. The Bristol Waldorf School allowed us to find out who we were, with no pressure to conform to a type, or career path. We were mentored, nurtured, accepted: a gift you carry with you for the rest of your life.”
Madeleine Girling – After attending eight years at The Bristol Steiner School, Madeleine Girling went on to Wynstones Steiner school for three years, and then Cirencester Sixth Form College where she did AS & A Levels in Spanish, Sociology, Textiles, and Maths.
She moved to Cardiff in 2009 to do a three year BA(Hons) in Theatre Design at The Royal Welsh College of Music Drama, graduating with a First Class Honors and receiving the Lord Williams Memorial Prize for Design 2012. In 2013 Madeleine moved to Stratford-Upon-Avon to work in a year-long design assistant position for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
During that year, she was also awarded as a winner in The Linbury Prize For Stage Design held at The National Theatre in London. Since 2014, Madeleine has been living and working as a freelance theatre designer in London, Bristol and Nottingham.
Rosie Whitman “The more I look back on it, the more grateful I am for my Education at the Bristol Steiner School. I didn’t realise at the time how lucky I was, but having left I can see that the level of personal attention, guidance and real care that I received all throughout my school years is really quite phenomenal.
I honestly feel that my school encouraged me to be the best person I could be, and not just academically. We were supported to work to the absolute best of our ability in all subjects, and take pride in our work, rather than ticking boxes to pass exams.
The teachers seemed genuinely passionate about each child’s development. This in turn allowed a mutual respect between most teachers and pupils, and therefore created a learning environment where we were valued for who we were, and given the best chance at becoming free-thinking, well-rounded and resourceful human beings.”
Gemma Grey “I feel really lucky to have experienced such a tight-knit community growing up within the Bristol Steiner School. My closest friends now are the same people I went to school with and I hope that it will be the same for my daughter.
I am so happy that she will be able to experience some of the same things that I did within this diverse curriculum.”
“My three children all went through the Bristol Steiner School from KG to Class 8 (14), and then my last child KG to 16.
Steiner education was able to meet all their very different personalities and learning styles which is reflected by their different job roles: one works in London in marketing; another is in film working across a huge array of different work; and the other is finishing his Robotic Engineering degree at the Robotics Lab at UWE Bristol.
All three vouch for their ability to think creatively, work cooperatively and bring an emotional intelligence alongside academic skills and abilities, which has often showed itself to be very helpful in today’s workplace arena.
As a parent I felt the school supported my job to grow and nurture these strong individuals, and I supported theirs. There was the most fantastic sense of community, fun and creativity. I am full of gratitude for the role the Bristol Steiner School had in my children’s upbringing.” – Dominique Sakoilsky, Therapist and Trainer
“We whole-heartedly recommend the Bristol Steiner School, which has been such a wonderful place for our three boys to grow. By focusing on each child and nurturing their unique strengths and interests, the school has provided them with the best start in life.
The challenges of starting and running your own business requires creativity, adaptability and personality, alongside a strong sense of purpose and passion for your life’s work. BSS provides the perfect conditions for those key characteristics to develop.” – Juliana and Nick Hounsfield, Owners, The Family Practice Health Centre/Founder, The Wave Bristol
“I have fond memories of my Steiner education with its inspirational teachers, child-centred learning, and enriching curriculum. The teaching helped me develop at my own pace, discover my enjoyment of learning, and find creative ways to explore the world and gain new skills. The confidence that such an education instilled has stood me in good stead throughout my life, whether studying at university, offering my skills and support within the work place, or helping within my neighbourhood or school community, as both a friend and parent.
“I am glad that my daughter is having the opportunity to be Steiner educated and it is a wonderful to see her enthusiasm for her class, teachers, and school. Previously she had spent some very unsettled years at a local state school, where she felt under pressure to perform and was constrained by the classwork, so it’s a great relief to see her flourish and feel positive about what she can achieve.
“I have recommended Steiner education to a great many people and will continue to help promote the Bristol Steiner School with its holistic approach to teaching, which offers a necessary and very welcome alternative to what is currently available within the main stream education system.” – Victoria Terry, Project Manager for Historic England
“My children are both very happy at Bristol Steiner School. That’s my first priority as a parent. I say that coming from a background where academic success is very highly valued and worked for.
Part of my reason for choosing Bristol Steiner School is the way it fosters in children a love of learning and self motivation to learn. My children both enjoy going to school and rush through the door with excitement. They are both keen to understand more about what they are learning, and are getting a depth of understanding through learning activities which always seem to meet them where they are.
I work in a high-tech environment where prior learning and academic study are very important. In that context, I find the difference between ‘good’ and ‘great’ goes beyond what we know into how we use it: the future is about being creative in the use of our intellect and thinking and having a deeper sense of who we are as well rounded and creative individuals.” – Rajkumar Paulraj, Consulting Architect NFV, VMware
“Bristol Steiner School has been the most wonderful and nurturing environment for our children to grow and develop. Life presents us all with challenge after challenge, and the upcoming generation will need to be even more resilient, adaptable and creative to thrive.
The Steiner Waldorf approach is, we feel, the best form of preparation for this as it recognises the whole child giving free reign to their strengths while also supporting fully where needed.
You don’t need to be an olive producer to know that you need to create the right conditions for the trees to thrive. While it may be a cliché, the same principle applies to people, no two of whom are the same.
Our children all have different needs and strengths and to grow to their full potential they need education to work for them and not the other way around.” – Ben Flight, Founder, The Real Olive Company
“Bristol Steiner School has given our four children the best start in life. The incredible teachers have nurtured their unique strengths and interests, and in a warm, healthy and caring environment.
I graduated in chemistry originally, and now provide financial advice to over 100 clients. Sport is very important in my life and I play golf competitively. This balance between physical and mental wellbeing is critical and the Steiner approach gets that balance right.” – Tom Burley, Independent Financial Advisor – Grosvenor Consultancy
“The reason I value BSS so highly is it’s unfailing commitment to give children a well-rounded education whilst nurturing their engagement and connection with the world and themselves. The school community is vibrant and connected and the various activities that bring parents together are wonderful moments for the children to experience.
My children are happy and enjoying their learning journey, each day there is a new excitement or discovery! They look forward to school and cannot wait to get back after the holidays. The class environment is warm and a safe space of learning and community. The teachers are devoted to creating a positive learning environment.
Steiner education seems to be becoming ever more relevant and important. I am greatly impressed with how BSS are managing to stay in touch with the relevant and current aspects of Steiner education whilst being able to embrace modernity and the changing needs of society.
I am a former Steiner student and spent several years at BSS. I now run a company that delivers career training and coaching for women; something I am passionate about and love doing.
The many different skills needed to run workshops and the management of a business have all been learnt at a later age, but I truly believe my ability to do so has come from the solid foundation that Steiner education gave me.” – Liza Berresford, Programmes Director, Thresholds
“Before we came to the Bristol Steiner School our children attended a small, well-funded Primary School, periodically plagued by bullying. In the end the Steiner School was an open door in dark times.” – Bristol Steiner School parent
“Our first born was just six months old when we first stepped into the Waldorf Steiner community. It instantly resonated. It instantly caught our attention.
Teachers/care givers, were offering a nourishing approach to raising children, an approach which made sense to us and which we began to adopt as a family.
In his inspiring book, The Element (under the heading ‘One Size Does Not Fit All’) Ken Robinson speaks of finding one’s personal passion and natural talent…. ‘All children start their school careers with sparkling imaginations, fertile minds, and a willingness to take risks with what they think.’
Nearly fourteen years on, we have seen our child grow into an accomplished, thoughtful, articulate teenager and it is credit to the immense wisdom which dwells within the Steiner curriculum, strengthening and cherishing those sparkling imaginations and fertile minds.” – Rosie Barker – Bristol Steiner School Parent