This is the web site of the Suffolk Humanist and Secularist Group, providing fellowship, education and ceremonies for Humanists and Secularists in Suffolk, NE Essex, and elsewhere.
A guest post from Melanie Byng, aka @ThetisMercurio on Twitter:
Looking at the Fullfledge Ecology School site I see that: 'Our teachers will be creative, dedicated and both Steiner and State qualified'.
There is no reason for Fullfledge teachers to be trained as Steiner teachers - unless Fullfledge is to be a Steiner Waldorf school. Steiner teacher training courses are based on Rudolf Steiner's religion/belief system, anthroposophy. Here is another example, this time from the UK: The London Waldorf Seminar - Steiner education teacher training.
Does Fullfledge intend to create its own Steiner teacher training course, without the anthroposophy which underpins the entire education system? If so, what exactly would be left? If teachers at Fullfledge are trained on Steiner teacher training courses as they exist now, surely prospective parents should be informed about anthroposophy - especially as Fullfledge is already (in our opinion) describing itself dishonestly as not-a-Steiner school. This lack of honesty, however well-meaning some involved may be, will only make things more bewildering when life at the school goes wrong for staff or families.
As Esther Fidler commented in her post at UK Anthroposophy (and note that Ewout Van-Manen is still listed on the Fullfledge site as one of those responsible for 'Vision and Curriculum', as a Director of School Development at Greenwich Steiner School and - perhaps surprisingly - as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts):
In my opinion, the only thing setting Fullfledge apart from a regular Steiner school is that the initiative is not a member of the UK Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF), a prerequisite for including Steiner in a school’s name. Van-Manen said that many parents felt secure with the Steiner curriculum but that SWSF schools have become ‘associated with dogma’ with which Fullfledge did not wish to be associated, as (he said) “Most of the things you read on the internet about Steiner schools are true".
More on Steiner schools (see last post), and how they might appear child-centred and cuddly, while hiding their true objectives. A comment has appeared on Alicia Hamburg's blog from the parent of a child who attended the Leeds Steiner kindergarten. He or she wrote:
It is imperative now that the very highest education authorities intervene here, and under no uncertain terms ensure that all Steiner establishments publish full and precise disclosure of their beliefs and intentions. It is paramount that the uninformed and unsuspecting are given protection. Personally, we count ourselves among the lucky ones. The number of victims this cover-up has claimed over the past 90-odd years of Steiner schooling doesn’t bear thinking about, but in these times of the nanny-state, litigation, think-tanks and watch-dogs, it is almost inconceivable that this problem can still exist.
You should read the whole post and all the comments. If you don't know what anthroposophy is, click here to find out what Steiner Waldorf teachers learn at college.
The people behind the Fullfledge Ecology School, a Steiner school planned for the Woodbridge area, report:
Our proposal has passed the first stage of approval and we are now on the second stage, which is an interview with the DFE. We are preparing for this now.
Five members of the project team will represent Fullfledge Ecology School at the interview.
The DFE will inform us ‘in the summer’ whether we have the final go ahead to start the school in September 2013.
Click here to read our previous posts on this proposal, any why it's not good news. Click here to read what the Steiner Waldorf critics say.
UK comedian Jake Yapp spent some time in the US watching religious TV, so we don't have to. I've heard you can see stuff like this in the UK, but it's not on Freeview so who cares?
We've had an email from a local organisation, as follows:
I was wondering if you had any more thoughts as to whether Suffolk Humanists & Secularists would like to write a reflection on sanctuary and hospitality to be presented on Sanctuary Sunday which is being held Sunday 24th June 2012, at Ipswich Town Hall?
Looking for an example of an atheist seeking asylum in the UK, I came across Tanjir Sugar's story on the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain website. Tanjir, who has rejected Islam, is seeking asylum here because he fears for his life if he returns to Bangladesh as an apostate. His account of how he was interviewed by a Muslim immigration officer, who clearly disapproved of his rejection of religion, is worrying. I can't use it as an example of "sanctuary and hospitality", so I'm still looking.
A recent blog post reported on some of the articles in the New Scientist's God issue. One or two things have prompted me to write more about this, from a feminist perspective: Men and the religion versus science thing. Feel free to comment, here or there.