The Bristol Steiner School is part of a world wide educational movement which arises out of an understanding and exploration of the spiritual nature of the human being inspired by the research of the philosopher and educationalist Rudolf Steiner. The school provides a holistic education which nurtures the child’s thinking, feeling and willing in a balanced way.
The Bristol Steiner School offers a comprehensive education from pre-school to age 16. The long term vision of the Bristol Steiner School is to make Steiner education available to all who seek it.
Rudolf Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, scientist and educator, whose insights into life and the nature of the human being gave rise to his philosophy, known as Anthroposophy. He applied this philosophy to a new form of education. The first school to work with his ideas was the Waldorf Astoria Factory School in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1919. Since then many Steiner schools have come into existence. There are now over 1200 Rudolf Steiner (or Waldorf) schools around the world and 2,000 Early Years Settings. They are well-established in most European countries, North America, Australia and New Zealand, and new initiatives are found throughout the world.
Rudolf Steiner believed that education should meet the changing needs of children as they develop physically, mentally and emotionally. He believed education should help children to fulfil their potential and that the ultimate aim of education is to enable people to give meaning to their lives.
Out of an understanding of child development, Steiner education brings to children activities appropriate to their physical, emotional and mental maturity:
- Pre- seven year olds play, hear stories, learn practical skills and celebrate festivals. These activities prepare the child for the development of the intellect in later years. They are not made to use their intellectual powers in early reading and writing schemes at this stage, nor are they introduced to computers.
- Class Teachers can stay with their class for 8 years (from age 6 to 14), enabling the teacher to develop deep insights into the children. Lessons can be planned to meet the needs of individual children.
- Upper School teaching from 14 – 16 years. Continuing the Steiner curriculum and offering up to 5 GCSEs.
- Knowledge is seen as a living process. Steiner teachers bring subjects in a creative, artistic way, so pupils engage in learning with their whole being, not just their head.
- Children grow in self-esteem and value working with others. Steiner teachers present positive images of all races, religions and beliefs while fostering open mindedness and appreciation of diversity.
Bristol Steiner School
At Bristol Steiner School the teachers use Steiner’s philosophy and views of child development as the basis of their work. We aim to give the children a gentle but thorough education addressing the child’s intellectual, spiritual, emotional and practical
development. We strive to engage and nourish each child’s innate curiosity and love of learning by offering a balance of academic, artistic and practical activities.
Our school was founded in 1973 and began in the current Kindergarten site in Cotham. Following a great demand for the education and a rapid expansion in numbers, the school moved to Park Place in 1977, with The Rowan Tree Kindergarten remaining in Cotham. The Main School moved to its current site on Redland Hill in April 2002.
The upper school re-opened with Class 9 in September 2008 and Class 10 in September 2009. This was mainly thanks to a parent led initiative. The upper school continues to teach the Steiner curriculum whilst also offering GCSEs in Maths, English, Art, Science and French.
In the school community three distinct groups of adults enable the school to fulfil its educational aims: the teachers and administration staff, the Trustees and the Parents. The main features of organisation for these three groups are outlined in the following sections.
- The Trustees
- College of Teachers
- Upper School Teachers
- Main School Teachers
- Kindergarten Teachers’ Group
One representative from each of these groups (other than the Parents), forms the Executive Group, which has overall responsibility for the running of the school on a day-to-day basis. The Education Coordinator and Administrator are also members of the Executive Group.
The Bristol Steiner School is both a registered charity and a company; the Directors of the company are also the Trustees of the charity. They carry the legal responsibility for the school and are answerable to the Charity Commissioners. They work to ensure that the school has a clear vision, mission and strategic direction. They are involved in policy making and work to offer good governance. They meet once a month and work on a voluntary basis.
The BSS is a company limited by guarantee with no share capital. This company is known as the Association and its members are responsible for electing Directors to be Trustees at an AGM. Membership of the Association is open to all who support its aims.
The Executive Group
The Executive Group meets on a weekly basis. It considers business and matters arising from all other groups in the school. It also initiates and carries out actions that are necessary to the smooth running of the school. The Chair of College, the Education Coordinator, the Administrator, Finance Manager and a representative (usually the chair) of each of the teachers’ meetings form the Executive Group. Communication and reports from every part of the school are shared through this meeting.
The College of Teachers
The College of Teachers is responsible for all issues concerning the education of the children in the school. Teachers who have worked for a year in the school may ask to join the College. College meets once a week discussing pedagogical, environment, social and organisational issues which relate to teaching.
The Trustees and the school’s Executive Group work closely with the College.
As well as concerning itself with all aspects of education the College studies books and lectures arising from Steiner’s world view.
Upper School Teachers
The upper school teachers meet weekly to discuss the on-going development and needs of their students, curriculum requirements, exams, timetabling, and all other issues that directly involve the Class 9 & 10 education.
Main School Teachers
At the Teachers’ Meeting some of the issues that are discussed include: – the children and their needs, classroom management, discipline, assemblies, festivals and the curriculum. This is also a weekly meeting.
As for the Main School teachers, Kindergarten teachers meet to discuss all issues relevant to the Kindergarten age child on a weekly basis.
The Education Coordinator plays a key role in the school, providing guidance according to the principles of Steiner education and support for teachers. She is responsible for overseeing employing and evaluating teaching staff and for addressing and resolving the concerns of parents and teachers. The role also includes the positive promotion of the school and a commitment to the development of Steiner education.
The school administrator provides administrative guidance to the school; is a delegate of the Executive Group for the recruitment and evaluation of non-teaching staff, and ensures that all legal requirements are met. On behalf of the Trustees, the School Administrator assumes responsibility for the finances (in collaboration with the Finance Officer) and the development work in the school. The essential nature of the work is to administrate the school’s day to day organisation, working closely with the Education Coordinator to promote the school and ensure that policies and standards are well maintained.
The Finance Officer deals with day-to-day financial administration within the school and works with the Administrator and the Executive Group, to develop and implement the financial policies and decisions approved by the Trustees. There is a Finance Group, which includes a Trustee, College rep, Administrator and the Education Coordinator, whose job it is to look at managing the school’s budget and look at financial requests. If you have any queries or concerns regarding fees or other payments to the school, contact the Finance Manager to discuss the situation.
The school secretary is the first point of contact for the public and the school community via mail, e-mail, telephone enquiries and messages and much more; admissions, newsletter, collating data, host families, first aid. She facilitates communications and is vital to the running of the school on a day to day basis.
The kindergarten secretary oversees the day-to-day running of the kindergarten, including admissions, Parent & Child sessions, visitors, maintenance plus general enquiries.
On joining the school parents are encouraged to become actively involved in school life and development in many ways such as:-
- Tasks and activities relating to the development of the school
- Positive promotion of the school.
- Feedback on proposed changes.
- Class outings and camping trips.
Bristol Steiner School aims to provide a warm, friendly and safe environment which is at the same time professional and efficient. We expect all staff to be attentive to the needs of the children and parents and to act in a caring and responsible way. Staff are available for conversations and meetings concerning educational matters when set up at appropriate times. (Barring emergencies, staff should not be phoned after 8pm or at weekends.)
Our ongoing Staff Evaluation and Appraisal Scheme (E&A) enables staff to be part of continuing professional development at work. Our aim is that each member of staff is evaluated every two years. Appraisals are carried out by colleagues and parents may be invited to contribute comments in writing.
All our staff are working to enable Steiner education to flourish in our school. We are committed to meeting the needs of the children in the school to the best of our ability and to a continuously striving to deepen our understanding of children and education.
In-Set Day Training
Teachers work at themes relevant to improving their work as teachers or themes concerning life at school. The dates of these In Set Training days are on the school calendar and reminders are usually in the school newsletter. There are usually five in-set training days spread throughout the year.
Staff also attend other relevant training courses, for example: class teaching conferences, child protection, first aid.
Class teachers hold Parents’ Evenings once a term. It is essential that parents attend these meetings as they are an important form of communication between teacher and parents. The teacher describes the class’s work and current aspects of the curriculum, discusses class issues and any planned outings and projects. Parents’ evenings are also an opportunity for parents to get to know each other better, and to make arrangements for school trips etc. Whilst some of the children’s work will be on display, individual children are not normally discussed at Parents’ Evenings, as teachers often prefer to make individual appointments with parents for this purpose.
The school provides an annual school report for each child, written by the Class Teacher and the subject teachers who teach your child’s class. The Class Teacher writes a summary of the year’s curriculum and reviews other significant class activities which have taken place during the year e.g. camps, outings, plays, etc. The Class Teacher also writes a report on each child in the class, describing their development, progress, and aims for the following school year. Specialist teachers will write a brief account of the work undertaken by the class, and then comments on about each individual child’s work and progress. It is the school’s aim that Class Teachers will send out the report within two weeks of the end of the summer term. A copy of the report is kept by the school for future reference.
We are subject to Ofsted inspections after which the school will publish its report to the parent body or a full copy of the report is available on request from the school office and will be available on the school website.
The school aims to support pupils with specific educational or behavioural problems as far as resources allow. We have a Learning Support teacher and, subject to availability, a school doctor and therapists to support this work.
A copy of the School’s Special Educational Needs Policy is available on the school website or on request from the school office.
Part of the Class Teacher’s work is to be aware of pupils needing extra support. Sometimes a Child Study (see below) is also organised for the College of Teachers meeting or the Teachers’ Meeting, before which the school doctor will meet with the child and the parents. During this in depth study, specific proposals are made with advice for parents and indications for remedial support and therapy work as appropriate.
NB: Due to the limited resources in the school, it is not always possible to provide every child with the resources they need. Specific educational or therapeutic needs may have to be met outside of the school. The school cannot arrange this nor meet the cost of extra private tutoring or assistance.
The healthy education of children is a fundamental principle of Steiner Waldorf Education. To support and reinforce this role of education, a physician has been part of the Steiner Schools from the very beginning 90 years ago.
The basic aim is for children to develop their full potential and a healthy relationship to the world around them. For this to happen we need to be aware of what is health-promoting and what fosters resilience, what will strengthen the abilities of clarity in thinking, a free feeling capacity and the ability of a creative participation in shaping the world in the future.
The role of the school doctor as a specialist in preventative medicine is to support and foster what is health-creating in the educational environment of the children acting as an advisor to the school for the benefit of the children.
In practice this will include visiting each class, observing the children in their physical, emotional and social health within the class environment. Individual sessions with children and their parents are set up to create a better understanding of the children in their current state of health on a physical, emotional and mental level. This can help both the family and the teachers to implement health-promoting changes for the child. Anthroposophic therapies or remedies might be prescribed or referrals to other health care specialists might be suggested. One role of the school doctor is an assessment of the children entering class one.
To continually develop and deepen an understanding of children and their educational needs, the College of Teachers or the Teachers’ Meeting holds Child Studies. These studies aim to build a shared picture of a child with the help of all members of staff so that greater understanding, helpful attitudes, and if appropriate, therapies can be recommended for the individual child. It should also be clear that Child Study is not always for children with difficulties; the College sometimes looks at a child who may characterise a particular age or stage of development.
As parents you are always consulted by the Class Teacher to make sure you are supportive of a Child Study on your child. You will be asked to supply information about the child’s early years which might help a deeper understanding to develop. Although you do not attend the Child Study, you are asked to meet with the teacher (and sometimes the school doctor or a therapist) after the Child Study to discuss the content and recommendations from the study.
The school organises artistic performances for the whole school or individual classes as appropriate. The school also hosts lectures and workshops for parents to learn more about Steiner Education and related aspects. Parents are also invited to class based events and whole school events when space permits.
Our celebrations aim to awaken awe, wonder and reverence for the spirit that lives in our true humanity.
Each September there is an opening assembly to welcome all to the new school year.
An awareness of the rhythm of the year and the changing seasons permeates our classroom work, culminating in the celebration of festivals once or twice a term. These festivals may take place with the whole school, or be separate festivals for certain age groups, as appropriate. This is an occasion for the children to experience the different moods which accompany each festival. Our festivals are usually Christian ones, but it should be noted that our school supports other religious or cultural traditions which may also be celebrated if the teachers think it will meet the needs of pupils. See also the ‘Festivals Handbook’.
The staff of the Bristol Steiner School would like all parents in the school to actively work with the following themes to promote health, well-being and good behaviour.
Children need a regular bedtime, especially during the school term. For young children this rhythm is best supported by doing such things as reading a story, talking about the day so any worries can be shared, having a candle and a verse or prayer. We strongly discourage letting children fall asleep in front of the television or going to sleep with headphones on. Listening to recorded stories and music is no substitute for the warm interest of a parent.
Nutrition is a complex and highly individual matter. That recognised, we expect children to come to school having eaten a wholesome breakfast. A hungry child often cannot concentrate and in general, is less able to join in fully with school life. Regarding food brought to school for break and lunch, we encourage “real” foods instead of highly processed foods which often contain substances which are thought to negatively influence a child’s mood. Our school rules already forbid chewing gum, sweets, chocolate, chocolate covered biscuits and fizzy drinks. Due to potential children with allergies joining the playgroup ALL nuts are banned from Kindergarten.
3) Language and Self-Expression.
In our school rules we say: “Every member of the school is worthy of respect. Please use positive language with children and staff”.
Great confusion arises in a child if his/her parents use words and expressions that are firmly discouraged at school. At school the children are taught that swearing, rudeness and crudeness are unworthy ways of expressing oneself.
We are not aiming for prim correctness; rather that we shall be mindful of the child who is being shaped by the words we use and the tone in which they are spoken. Whether we are speaking to Kindergarten children or adolescents, we aim to use language which respects our essential human dignity.
As teachers, we hope to work with children who are able to love, respect and look up to the guiding authority of their parents. When this attitude lives in the home, children naturally transfer it to their teachers. If at too early an age a child can override his or her parents’ authority, he or she can become argumentative, defiant, uncooperative, withdrawn or sullen. Clear, healthy boundaries provide security and nurture respect for self and others.
5) School Equipment.
Please make sure that your child has the equipment needed to participate at school. Class Teachers will let you know what this means for the year and for specific occasions. Ill-equipped children often feel left out, and it is an extra burden on the teacher to remedy the situation.
Our world is permeated by television, videos, DVDs, personal music systems, computers, computer games, mobile phones and much more. Our school rules already make it clear that many of these things are unwelcome at school. In our parents’ evenings you are encouraged to discuss and explore the known effects of electronic media on childrens’ growth and development.
We also encourage parents to exercise control and guidance over what is being used, how often and for how long and at what age. A film watched as a family event may be a wonderful experience, while open access to television and computer games can get in the way of living relationships.
As teachers, we often witness the detrimental effect on children’s emotional life and creative imagination when they have seen films and TV programmes inappropriate for their age. We encourage parents to discuss with each other what is appropriate, especially if you are hosting a party and planning to show a video; (have you checked with other parents that they want their child to see what you have selected?)
The book “Set Free Childhood” by Martin Large (see reading list), examines important questions about media technology and the growing child.
As teachers, we are not making dogmatic assertions about how you should live at home; we are asking you to think about the effects of electronic media on your child’s development and to act accordingly.
7) Clothing and Personal Appearance.
Our school has never had a uniform; we have trodden the more difficult path of appealing to ‘common sense’ for our guidelines. We expect the children to be comfortably clad according to the season and that their clothing will not be unusually faddish or attention-seeking. (The latter issues are usually pertinent to adolescents.) Our dress code already clearly state our position on hair dye, make up and jewellery and should be noted by pupils and parents.
When celebrating festivals, the school expects festival dress to be worn. Please support your child by making sure he/she is appropriately dressed for festivals or other special occasions.
- Pupils must remain in school until 3.00pm when the school bell is rung.
- The road outside of Redland Hill House is busy and dangerous. Children in classes 1-5 must cross the road at pedestrian crossings, even if accompanied by an older pupil (either further up on Redland Hill or on Redland Road) unless accompanied by an adult. Classes 6-10 are encouraged to cross at the pedestrian crossings, but may cross at the roundabout at the bottom of Redland Hill with caution.
- Under normal conditions, all pupils should have left the school premises within thirty minutes of the last lesson.
- Bicycles, skateboards and roller skates are not to be ridden in the school grounds, but left in the designated area upon arrival.
- Pupils are not allowed to sit or climb on any walls, including the well.
- Do not throw anything out of windows or over walls.
- Always walk in the building and passageways.
- No kicking anything or anyone.
- Respect school property. Any wilful damage including writing on the walls or furniture, will be taken very seriously
- Dispose of your litter in the bins provided and pick up litter if you see it.
- No toys or games, or electronic items of any description may be brought into school, other than at the class teacher’s discretion.
- Mobile phones may not be used in the school grounds.
- No chewing gum, sweets, chocolate, chocolate covered biscuits or fizzy drinks.
- Tobacco, alcohol, and other illegal substances are not allowed at school under any circumstances. Please see ‘Drugs’ Policy.
- NO water fights, nor is it appropriate to pour water on your head or neck.
- Persistent unacceptable behaviour, refusal to work, rudeness and defiance may result in detention. A detention can be a period of time spent working after school. Please see ‘Behaviour and Discipline Policy’
- Appropriate language should be used at all times.
- Pupils are expected to abide by a Code of Conduct, which appears in every classroom and deals with matters of good behavioural practice.
- There is no school uniform, but dress should be neat, clean and appropriate for school, with no rips or tears.
- Types of clothes worn should reflect time of year and weather conditions. There should be no bare midriffs or shoulders (cap sleeves are adequate) and shorts should be appropriate for school. Skirts & shorts should be of an acceptable length (approx 4” above the knee is the minimum length).
- Clothes should preferably be plain, although clothes with small overall patterns are acceptable (e.g checks, stripes, floral prints). Clothing with pictures, logos and writing is not permitted.
- Bare feet are not allowed at school and shoes should be suitable for school activities, no flip flops.
- Gym kit comprises shorts/leggings, loose plain ‘T’ shirt and gym shoes.
- Subtle makeup and hair colour may be used in Classes 7 upwards. Make-up should not be applied during school.
- Jewellery: a small stud in each ear is allowed. 1 or 2 finger rings are acceptable, as is a simple necklace. All other body piercing and jewellery may be worn outside school hours only.
Pupil’s Code of Conduct
The school has a Pupils’ Code of Practice which follows below. Parents can support their child and the school by familiarising themselves with the code and reminding their child of its content if such reminding should seem necessary or appropriate.
Pupils Classroom Code of Conduct
- Be on time – enter the room quietly.
- Respect other pupils’ right to work.
- When in the school building wear indoor clothes only.
- Listen carefully to the teacher. Put up your hand if you need to ask a question or to reply to a question put to the class.
- Remember to eat or drink only during snack or lunchtime, or other specified times as agreed with your teacher.
- Treat your friends, other pupils and all staff with respect and dignity. Try to speak with kindness and consider the well-being of others.
- Stand quietly before and at the close of each lesson.
- Only leave your seat with the teacher’s permission.
- Only leave the room when given permission.
- Make sure you have the right equipment before the start of each lesson.
- Pupils are expected to show respect for teachers, staff and other pupils and property.
School Code of Conduct
- Remember to walk quietly around the school building at all times, but especially when other pupils are still in lessons.
- Open doors gently and carefully.
- Try to keep the school tidy by putting rubbish in the bins provided.
- Keep to the right when walking up and down the stairs.
- Be considerate while playing in the front and back gardens.
When a pupil behaves in an unacceptable manner, the teacher dealing with the pupil at the time will decide what action is appropriate and incidents will be recorded in the Incident Book. Where there is a serious breach of school rules, the school has a clear policy for dealing with such a situation.
The school has no wish to be financially exclusive and so every effort is made to keep fees as low as possible. Compared to other local independent schools our charges are modest and we rely on parents getting involved with practical projects to help make our limited resources go further.
This approach to fees has been central to the school since its beginnings. It was founded in 1973 with the intention of not refusing any family because of their financial circumstances and so there were no set fees and parents decided how much they could afford to pay as a contribution to running costs. Later a system of voluntary and then mandatory means tested payments was introduced. However school finances remained too unstable and in1998 in an effort to get the school on a more secure financial footing it was decided to charge fees.
Fees cover items such as break time food in the Kindergarten, books, regular craft materials, some cultural events and eurythmy shoes. However, camps, special outings and activities, recorders or other musical instruments, pencils and pens etc from Classes 5 and upwards may be charged separately. You will be notified in advance of any of these extra payments.
Fees are due at the beginning of each term. The school usually accepts monthly payment of fees spread over twelve months. The school relies almost exclusively on fee income so it is essential that this income is regular and consistent so the school can function in a healthy way. If at any time you are unable to make your agreed payments to the school you should contact the Finance Officer immediately to discuss your circumstances. If school fees are not paid on time, and no alternative arrangement has been made for payment, the school will charge a late payment fee of £15 per month or part month. If fees remain unpaid at the start of the following term, the school may not allow a child to return if there is no arrangement in place to clear the debt.
On joining the school a deposit per child is payable. This is refundable when your child leaves the school. Fees are still due if a child is absent due to illness or any other reason.
Please refer to the Parent Contract regarding the required notice period.
Early Years Grants.
Children who are 3 and 4 years of age are eligible for this grant. You will need to show the school the child’s birth certificate and to sign a parental registration agreement each term that you wish to claim the grant.
The school does have available a limited scheme of bursary-assisted and concessionary places open to applications from families who cannot meet the full fees. Applications for these places are welcomed from all parents.
The amount of fee reduction will vary by family circumstances, and will be assessed through means-testing, based on information provided by the family applying for the assistance. Please contact the Finance Manager for further information.
The Christmas and Summer Fairs are the two large fund-raising events each year. These two events are usually organised by the parents of a particular class, with plenty of opportunity for other parents to be involved. Working together, both at the planning stage and the actual events can be a great way to be involved in the life of the school and to meet fellow parents. Currently, the proceeds of these fairs go to providing financial assistance for families, as well as projects within the school. Every family is expected to contribute in some way to one of these large fund-raising events.
If anyone does have an idea for fund-raising, please come and talk to the Finance Manager (so that the school has an overview) – as we are a charity, if we raise funds from outside the school there are some procedures we have to follow.
Other fundraising that happens is for particular school or class based projects.
There is a fund-raising group run by parents; if you feel you have a particular interest or skill in this area please contact the office for further details.
The school welcomes contributions from parents in various ways. There is usually one work day per term where parents are invited to come and help maintain and improve the school environment. This may involve working in the classrooms painting walls or building shelves, or working in the garden mending fences, weeding and planting. These days tend to be very social and are a great way to get to know parents from other classes.
We aim to provide a well-structured education based on daily, weekly, termly, and annual rhythms. Some key aspects of these rhythms are outlined below:
Daily: 8.30am Doors open.
10.40 – 11.10am Break
12.55 – 1.30pm Break Time
3.00pm School Ends for Classes 1-5
3.00pm-3.45pm Supervision for Classes 1-5 children by booking system
3.00pm-3.45pm Lesson 5 for Classes 6-8 on specified days – refer to each class timetable
3.00-3.45pm Lesson 5 for Classes 9 & 10 every day
Class 1, 2 and 3 are able to go home from 1pm as follows: –
Class 1 Monday, Wednesday and Friday Children may go home at 1pm.
Class 2 Wednesday and Friday Children may go home at 1pm.
Class 3 Wednesday Children may go home at 1pm.
For those children in classes 1-3 who are not going home at 1pm on the days specified above, the school provides afternoon activities from 1pm until 3pm, supervised by a member of staff. These afternoons should be confirmed with the class teacher at the beginning of the school year. Requests to vary the arrangement must also be made to the class teacher.
Children in Classes 1-5 who cannot be collected at 3pm, must be booked into the supervised session from 3pm-3.45pm. Collection is then from the front playground at 3.45pm. Teachers will maintain a register of children during this supervised period, so please ensure you inform the supervising teacher when you collect your child.
Should you arrive early to collect your child, please wait in the front gardens.
N.B: Please note that children are not allowed to leave the premises at any time during school hours, including lunch-time, except for the upper school students who may leave the premises during lunchtime with parental consent.
ROWAN TREE KINDERGARTEN
PARENT AND CHILD GROUPS: Monday to Friday mornings from 9.30am until 12 noon, during term time – from babies to 3year olds.
PLAYGROUP: Monday – Friday mornings from 8.30am – 12.45pm, for 3 – 5 year olds.
Children attend three or four mornings per week.
KINDERGARTEN: Doors open 8.30 am Monday – Friday mornings from 9 am – 12.45 pm for 5 – 6 year olds. Afternoon care is available until 3.15 pm.
Children under five years of age are not obliged to attend 5 full mornings per week. Parents should discuss their needs and those of their child with the teacher. For more detailed information about the above please refer to the Kindergarten Handbook.
Kindergarten and Main School always finish at 1pm on the last day of term (not half term).
Opening hours: 8.30am to 4.30pm, Mondays to Fridays during term time. Admin staff also work intermittently during school holidays, so any messages left will be dealt with as soon as possible.
The School Office is the hub of communications within the school and is the first point of contact for all matters that are not purely educational.
The Office publishes various documents to facilitate communications, including the annual term dates, a who’s who of staff, a list of contact details for each family in a class and a regular newsletter.
The Kindergarten secretary works from 8am- 1pm each day.
The newsletter provides the most up to date information, and it is especially important to check the diary dates in case there have been any changes, or there are any new events. Parents are most welcome to contribute to the newsletter by sending items to the office, in writing or preferably by e-mail. The newsletter is sent home with children, but parents can choose to receive it electronically.
Reporting unexpected absence
The School Office is the place to report your child’s illness or lateness. These messages need to be reported by 8.45am. Telephone messages can be left before the office opens at 8.30. Please state clearly your name, your child’s name and class, and the reason for the absence. Please do not send your child to school if he or she has been ill in the night as we cannot look after sick children at school.
If your child is late for school, please also ensure that he or she comes first to the office to be entered on the register.
In case of unexpected absence, telephoned messages need to be followed up with a written note, to be sent in to the Office on the first day of your child’s return to school.
Please alert the Office if you are unavoidably detained and unable to pick your child up from school on time at the end of the day.
There is no holiday entitlement for children during term time. Due to the disruption for the children and the class, the school no longer authorises absences for holidays taken in term time. College may authorise requests in exceptional circumstances, and if you do have a request that you feel should be considered then write C/O Chair of College of Teachers, at least one month prior to the requested absence. College will not authorise absences to attend festivals (e.g. Glastonbury).
A holiday that is taken without permission will be recorded as unauthorised this will be noted on your child’s file.
If your child is ill or has an accident at school, the Office will inform you and may ask you to collect your child. Therefore it is essential that we have emergency contact details and that you keep us informed of any changes to this information.
In case of severe weather conditions, such as heavy snow, please do not phone the school to find out whether it will be closed, but listen instead to Radio Bristol who will announce school closures. In addition, an all-school telephone tree will be set up to alert parents to the closure and updates will be placed on the school website: www.bristolsteinerschool.org
Class Representatives & Telephone Trees
Our school has a system of Class Representatives to facilitate communications between parents and between parents and Class Teachers. Each class elects one or more parents to take on the role of Class Rep for the school year. The Class Rep can help orientate new parents in the life of our school, and provides all families in the class with a Telephone Tree. This is an organised method of ensuring that important messages are
passed quickly and effectively to all families. The Class Rep regularly checks with the Class Teacher about upcoming events and what is required of parents, for example, organising transport for an outing or props for a play, or attending a Parents’ Evening. The Class Rep communicates this information to fellow parents via a telephone tree or as appropriate.
(A complete Class Representative Job description plus information on setting up a telephone tree is available from the school office.)
Bristol Steiner School holds a range of information about its pupils and their families. Some is kept on computer; some is in hard format only. All this information is kept securely, according to our Data Protection Policy, and confidential information is only passed to outside agencies where there is a legal requirement.
All parents are asked to sign a consent form for the publication of audio-visual material.
The school cannot prevent photographs of pupils being taken on occasion (school events, fairs, festivals etc) and staff may also occasionally take such photos for individual records. All parents are given an audio/visual consent form to complete and can indicate whether images of their children can be used or not.
In the case of official photos e.g. for the school prospectus etc, the school will comply with the Data Protection Act.
Items found around school will be placed in the basket located in the entrance foyer. If you are able to clearly label items it is more likely that we can return them to their owners. At the end of each half-term any unclaimed items will be sent to the local charity shop.
Redland Hill is a fast and busy road. Please read the information below for coming to and leaving Redland Hill House.
- Redland Hill may only be crossed if supervised by an adult (during school hours i.e. 8.30am-4pm) see School Rules in Section 5.
Redland is now part of the Residents Parking Scheme, with Permit Parking, and Pay and Display bays. These are operational between 9am – 5pm with free parking available outside of these hours. Within these hours there is an option for 30 minutes free parking.
Please do not attempt to use the small school car park, or park on yellow lines, double-park on Redland Hill or park in front of the school or neighbours’ driveways.
Many of our children cycle or scooter to school and we try to make sure bicycles and scooters are safe while at school; please ensure that you provide a lock for your child’s bikes and scooters as the school’s insurance does not cover theft of pupil’s personal equipment while on school property or while being used as part of school events or outings. Bicycles may be left in the front tunnels, accessed from the North Garden which is open between 8.30am and 8.45am each morning.
Public Transport options
- Rail – Redland Station or Clifton Down Station.
- Bus – 8 and 9 go along Redland Hill and Clyde Road; 1, 41, 42, 43, 54 go along Blackboy Hill.
Parental Consent Forms for School Outings
Written parental consent is required for trips and outings. If there will be a series of trips as part of a particular study, one consent form can cover the series of outings. For example, if Class I is to be driven to a farm or woodland area for a weekly outing, one consent form will cover all the proposed outings.
Parents are asked to sign and return the forms promptly. Please note that the teacher will rightly refuse to take a child on a trip if a parental consent form has not been returned to the school prior to the beginning of the trip.
Using Your Own Car to Carry Children on School Outings
Parents may be asked to drive children as part of a school outing. If you are going to carry children in your car it is your responsibility to make sure that you and your car meet all legal requirements. Special attention should be given to seat belt provision for each passenger, and for children under 12 years of age or under 4 feet 5 inches in height, booster seats must be used. Please ensure that your insurance covers you whilst taking part in a school outing. You must not allow more passengers in your car than it is legally designed to carry.
Classes may go on camp from Class 3 (1 night only) if appropriate, or Class 4. Class camps and trips are chosen by the Class Teacher and may vary from year to year. Camps take place during term time towards the end of the Summer Term and children’s attendance is compulsory as different pedagogical and social themes or challenges are explored in each year. Parents are billed separately for camp costs. Older pupils help to fund-raise specifically for their camps.
Parents/Volunteers on Trips/Camps
Parents may be asked to join a trip/ camp to fulfil different roles:
- Additional support/supervision with pupils
- Additional functional support, not involving supervision (driving, cooking etc.).
- Additional support/supervision solely for their own child only.
It is left entirely to the discretion of the group leader/class teacher to choose which parents are best suited attend to a trip/camp. A parent will not be invited to attend a visit/camp if the group leader/class teacher feels that their child may be distracted from the pedagogical or social aims of a trip/camp through their presence.
Parents asked to attend a trip/camp are expected to take and follow instruction from the group leader/class teacher and conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect the confidentiality of the pupils and teachers.
No parent can attend a trip/camp without DBS clearance.
Class outings from Redland Hill House that require cars or a coach
Pupils will walk to Redland Green to be collected and dropped off as it is safer there than at Redland Hill itself. If you are involved in helping to transport a class please remember that the outing will not be starting or finishing at the school.
DBS Checks (Disclosure and Barring Service)
The school follows a clear DBS policy and procedure. All parents acting as volunteers in the school or on school trips and who will be unsupervised with the children must undergo an Enhanced DBS check. Ask in the School Office for application details. NB It can take up to one month for this process to be completed so please apply well in advance of any activity you planned to be involved in.
Health and Safety
There is a school Health and Safety Policy in operation which is supported by staff, parents and pupils. We have a school Health and Safety Officer.
All pupils’ general medical care is deemed to be the responsibility of their parents. There are no regular medical checks and no inoculations are arranged. An emergency contact form will be required for each child containing medical and dietary information and consent for first aid and emergency treatment.
The parents of pupils who need to carry emergency medication e.g. inhalers, must complete a Medical Alert form. An Individual Health Plan may also be required for some conditions. The school needs to be aware of all medication, (prescription and non-prescription), on school grounds. Therefore it is essential that parents complete the necessary form to ensure the school staff can support and understand the treatment and medication the child needs during the school day, whether this is short term or long term. All non-emergency medication must be delivered to the office in its original packaging, with instruction leaflet and clearly labelled with the pupil’s name. A record will be kept of any medication given to a pupil.
There are trained first aiders on both school sites. Staff will offer first aid only. In the event of continued illness or the need for a hospital visit, parents will be notified to take over. A copy of our First Aid Policy can be obtained from the office. Also see Section 3 re: School Doctor
All of these titles, and many more, may be ordered via the School Office, or they may be borrowed from the Rudolf Steiner Library, Westbury Lodge, St. Christopher’s School, Westbury Park, Bristol BS6 7JE. Open Tuesdays 11am – 4pm and Saturdays 10am – 1pm. Contact Pauline Curnow, Librarian, Tel: 0117 962 4731.
Waldorf Education. Christopher Clouder & Martyn Rawson. Floris Books, 2003.
A concise introduction to Steiner education and philosophy, providing examples from Kindergarten to Upper School.
Adventures in Steiner Education: An Introduction to the Waldorf Approach. Brien Masters. Sophia Books, 2005.
A vivid picture of Steiner Education in practice, bringing theory to life through many personal stories and anecdotes, by a very experienced teacher and teacher trainer.
An Introduction to Steiner Education: The Waldorf School Approach. Francis Edmunds. Sophia Books, 2004.
Explains in a clear and lively style many aspects of Steiner’s educational theory, the stages of childhood development, and how the Waldorf curriculum allows for a healthy understanding, nurturing and support of these phases.
Education Towards Freedom. Franz Carlgren. Lanthorn Press, 1993.
A beautifully illustrated, well written, and comprehensive guide to what Steiner Education is all about! It contains an outline of Steiner’s biography and philosophy as well as explanations about the Kindergarten years, the eight year journey with a Class Teacher and the Upper School curriculum.
School as a Journey. Torin M.Finser. Anthroposophic Press, 1994
A personal account by an experienced Steiner teacher of his eight year odyssey with his class.
Rudolf Steiner on Education: A Compendium. Roy Wilkinson. Hawthorn Press, 1993.
A handy guide to what Steiner said about education, including the first Waldorf school, child development and health, Steiner’s life and work, school organisation, behaviour and moral education, and subjects in the curriculum.
Steiner Education in Theory and Practice. Gilbert Childs. Floris Books, 1992.
A detailed account of Rudolf Steiner’s view of children, and the role of education in their successful development.
The Spiritual Basis of Steiner Education: The Waldorf School Approach. Roy Wilkinson. Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996. An overview of Steiner education, its spiritual background and its aim to develop the whole human being, rather than simply dispense knowledge.
Childhood: A Study of the Growing Child. Caroline von Heydebrand. Anthroposophic Press, 1995.
A study of the growing child, and the roles of rhythm, play, education, temperaments and festivals.
Phases of Childhood: Growing in Body, Soul and Spirit. Bernard Lievgoed. Floris Books, 2005.
A comprehensive study of the stages of physical and spiritual development and the child’s evolving sense of self.
A Guide to Child Health. M. Glöckler and W. Goebel. Floris Books, 2003.
Written by two Anthroposophical doctors, this text covers all aspects of childhood illnesses, the immunisation debate, and social and developmental issues.
Set Free Childhood: Parents’ Survival Guide to Coping with Computers and TV. Martin Large. Hawthorn Press, 2003. Explains how to counter screen culture and create a calmer, more enjoyable family life.
The Children’s Year: Seasonal Crafts and Clothes. Cooper, Fynes-Clinton and Rowling. Hawthorn Press, 2005.
Festivals, Family and Food: Guide to Seasonal Celebration. Carey and Large. Hawthorn Press, 1982.
All Year Round: Christian Calendar of Celebrations.. Druitt, Fynes-Clinton and Rowling. Hawthorn Press, 1995.
Festivals Together, a guide to Multi-cultural celebration. Fitzjohn, Weston and Large. Hawthorn Press, 1993.
Tania Masters – Administration Manager:
Tel 0117 9339995
Neil Campbell – Finance Manager:
Tel 0117 9339998
Anne Koerber – Kindergarten Secretary:
Tel 0117 734399
Georgina Borrows – School Receptionist – Main School
Tel 0117 9339990
Pauline Tilbury and Kirsty Forman – School Secretary & Admissions officer – Main School
Tel 0117 9339990
Bristol Steiner School
Redland Hill House
Bristol BS6 6UX
Tel: 0117 9339990
Fax: 0117 9339999
12D Cotham Road
Bristol BS6 6DR