Bristol Steiner School celebrates its 40th anniversary

The Bristol Steiner school
The Bristol Steiner school celebrates its 40th anniversary later this month

The Bristol Steiner School will be celebrating its 40 year anniversary later this month.

To mark the milestone, the Clifton-based school is holding a festival on Saturday, June 21 for past and present students and teachers.

It expects alumni from “around the world” to attend and share a picnic in its grounds. Present pupils will be wearing fiery colours of red, yellow or orange to reflect the Midsummer festival.

The Bristol Steiner school
The Bristol Steiner school celebrates its 40th anniversary later this month

The event, which will be held in the garden at Bristol Steiner School, Redland Hill, will begin at 3pm and is expected to last around an hour.

Each class will give a performance and there will also be speeches, cake, followed by a ‘bring your own’ picnic and games on the Downs for families who are interested in taking part.

The school, which has a rolling admission and places available, is also creating a memory wall featuring memorabilia of “everyone and everything connected to the school past and present”.

Janet Parsons, the school’s education coordinator, said: “This event marks the culmination of our anniversary year and we want to make it a wonderful celebration for our whole extended community.

“In addition to our current pupils and staff, we are expecting alumni from around the world to descend on Bristol especially to attend the celebrations.

The Bristol Steiner school almost 40 years ago
The Bristol Steiner school almost 40 years ago

“We are very proud of our achievements over the past 40 years and are looking forward to providing quality Steiner education to families in Bristol for many more years to come.”

The school, which combines academic achievement with first-rate creative endeavour, has been at the heart of Bristol’s education system since its foundation in 1973.

Originally located in Cotham, it was the first inner-city Steiner school in England.

Following the research of philosopher and educationalist Rudolf Steiner, the school forms part of a world-wide education movement, which focus on exploring and understanding the spiritual nature of the human being.

This ethos embodies a practical, active and artistic approach to learning, and offers a wide variety of subjects and experiences appropriate to differing age groups.

Within the school, pupils learn traditional academic skills but these are taught at different times and in different ways to the curriculum found in other independent and state schools.

Above all, the focus is upon individuality, and on getting a child to develop their own personal qualities and potential, as opposed to making them ‘fit’ into existing social constraints.

This creative outlook does not diminish academic attainment, however. At GCSE level, Steiner schools in England perform far higher than their state school counterparts.

Both Oxbridge and the Department of Education also recognize the value of Steiner, praising it for producing “well-rounded and confident children” with exemplary social and communication skills.

The whole package also comes at a fraction of the price of most private schools.

Currently the Bristol Steiner School and its Rowan Tree Kindergarten in nearby Cotham, has 210 pupils, ranging from three to 16, who will be attending the 40th celebration.

It’s hoped that local alumni, such as Merlin Crossingham, creative director for Aardman Studios, and Tom Spencer, artistic director of the Tobacco Factory will also attend.

Janet Parsons added: “The Steiner education system is noted for developing children’s academic and creative potential, and many of our former pupils have risen to the tops of their chosen professions.

“We have invited as many alumni and former staff as we can to the celebrations, including Merlin and Tom, and it will be wonderful to welcome them all back to the school for our special day.”

As well as proving a hit in Bristol, the Steiner movement, sometimes known as the Waldorf movement, is also growing across the UK and the world.

There are currently more than 1,000 Steiner schools and 2,000 kindergartens in 60 countries around the world. They are open to all, regardless of race, religion or social background.

Those who wish to attend the 40th by emailing anniversary event are asked to kindly contact the school in advance


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