More freedom in education
Our main goal?
More freedom in education
Steiner Waldorf education is best delivered in flexible education systems that promote freedom and educational choice.
Following our recommendations, the European Parliament adopted amendments to its 2018 report, “Modernisation of education in the EU”. These amendments promote parents being able to choose their children’s school, freedom to establish independent schools, and public funding for independent non-profit schools.
We were also involved in the drafting of the report, “European ideas for better learning”, produced by the European Commission ET 2020 Working Group Schools in April 2018. Our intervention ensured that the needs of the independent school sector are better reflected in the report (see p3‑4 of the report for more details).
Our vision is for Steiner Waldorf education to thrive in Europe.
This means flexible rules governing education systems, which allow different teaching approaches and types of school to peacefully coexist.
Governments should limit themselves to ensuring educational quality and defining a general framework of learning outcomes. Schools should be able to enjoy full autonomy and freedom in how they meet these standards.
Freedom for parents to choose a school
According to Article 14 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the right to education includes the right of parents to ensure their children’s education is in accordance with their religious, philosophical, and pedagogical beliefs. We encourage national and regional governments to ensure parents from all financial backgrounds can fully exercise this right.
We therefore welcome the explicit references to this right in Article 14 in the European Parliament report, “Modernisation of education in the EU” (2018, paragraph J).
Freedom for schools to define their own curricula
All schools in Europe should have the right to define their own curricula.
Overly detailed national curricula reduce the potential for schools and teachers to innovate. These should be replaced by general objectives and learning outcomes guiding school-based curricula design.
In the “Modernisation of education in the EU” report, the European Parliament highlights the benefits of school autonomy, affirming that “granting schools more autonomy regarding curricula, assessment and finance has been shown to result in increased pupil performance” (section 42, page 11, 2008).
Freedom requires public funding for independent schools
To increase inclusiveness and ensure freedom of educational choice, there should be full public funding for independent education across all European countries. We particularly encourage national and regional governments to implement section 76 of the report, which “encourages… the provision of adequate financial support for schools of all categories and levels, both state schools and not-for-profit private schools” (section 76, page 14, 2018).