Rudolf Steiner’s indications on how Steiner-Waldorf schools should be run could be summarised as:
- modern self-governing learning communities
- based on shared leadership and consensus decision-making;
- with self-development based on reflective practice at the heart of professional development.
At Cambridge Steiner School we strive to hold by these aspirations whilst adapting them to meet the demands of our contemporary legal and regulatory context. It does this through having strong governance and management to ensure there are clear lines of responsibility and accountability, but throughout the school staff are encouraged to share in the responsibility for pedagogy, collegial working and the safe and effective running of the school.
The School has a board of trustees who are responsible for matters of school governance and oversight and who maintain a strategic overview of the School’s activity and development. Each trustee has their appointed area of responsibility. They are accountable to the School Association by whom they are elected, as well as external regulatory bodies.
Jacob (Jake) Dunn Secretary
Responsible for: Quality of Education : Curriculum; Pupils Personal Development
Link trustee for Lower School Coordinator
Jake is an academic at Anglia Ruskin University and at the University of Cambridge. His work is focused on studying the biology and evolution of communication systems in humans and other animals (mostly primates). However, he has a general interest in the behaviour of all animals - including little humans. Jake is interested in learning and teaching, particularly in the sciences, and has recently completed a PGCE. He hopes to be able to bring this experience to the Steiner school working as a trustee, and his area of responsibility in the school is within Quality of Learning, Teaching and Assessment. Other interests include music, bridge, and Mexican food. After living in Latin American for several years, he met his wife Gaby 10 years ago in Mexico. Jake is father to Liliana in Class 3. Liliana was born in Mexico City in 2010, and in 2011 the family moved back to his native UK.
Responsible for: Finance, Parents/Community
Link trustee for Resource Coordinator
Kristian was born in the former GDR in 1976. He grew up in Dessau, a little town with quite some history. In 1995, he started studying veterinary medicine at the University of Leipzig, where he qualified as a vet in 2001, and where he also obtained a PhD in physics in 2007. He then came to Cambridge, where he first worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. In 2011, Kristian and Nicki got married. Also in that year, he became a lecturer at the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience and a Fellow at St. John’s College. Since then, Kristian teaches vet as well as biology students and is leading his own research group. His research integrates biology, physics and medicine to understand how nerve cells grow and regenerate, and perhaps one day to contribute to finding a cure for spinal cord injuries. His pride and joy are his kids, Kimi and Lauri, who were born in 2012 and 2015, respectively.
Responsible for: Safeguarding, SEND
Link trustee for Compliance Coordinator
Claudia studied Classical Archaeology and Prehistory at the Universities of Hamburg and Cambridge. She now works as a freelance archaeologist and is currently involved with the Australian-Serbian Archaeology Project Glac in Sremska Mitrovica/Serbia. Claudia also coaches rowing for the Leys School and St Faith’s School in Cambridge. She has two children at the Cambridge Steiner School. Joined the board of trustees in 2017.
Toby Carter Deputy Chair of Trustees
Responsible for: Estates; Health and Safety
Toby has worked as an academic for over 20 years. He trained as a zoologist in Aberdeen and is now working at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. His area of academic interest has moved over the years from science to education and he has also moved from teaching and research into managerial roles. Toby has been a trustee at the school for four years. He is the father of two children in the school, one in Kindergarten and the other in Class 4 and Tina, his wife, runs the parent’s craft group in the school. In his spare time he keeps bees, listens to music and enjoys history and natural history.
Joel Chalfen Chair of Trustees,
Responsible for: HR/Professional Development; Quality of Education: Assessment/Pupil Outcomes
Joel lectures in Drama at the Faculty of Education, Cambridge University and is Director of Studies at Homerton College. He is also Founder and Chair of Trustees of Polygon Arts – a charity set up in 2004 to develop community and school arts programmes – and a steering group member of Cambridge Culture Card, a county-wide initiative to support young people’s cultural engagement. Joel holds a PhD in performance and heritage studies and has worked previously as a community engagement officer and as a museum development officer both in local government. Joel moved to Cambridge when his wife, Maggie, took a position as Kindergarten Assistant at the School. She now continues her interest running Woodmice, the parent and child woodland group. There is a common theme throughout Joel’s work in arts and education and a specific interest in how together they can prepare children and adults to confront the multiple challenges of the 21st Century. It is with this interest that he has identified Steiner education as an exciting journey for his three children who all attend the Cambridge School.
The School has been led by a senior leadership team since 2012 but this was only fully formalized in 2018 with the establishment of discrete leadership roles for Education – Early Years and Lower School Coordinator – as well as Resources (Business) and Compliance. The members of the School Coordination Team therefore collectively carry the role of a Headteacher and are accountable to the Trustees. However, the leadership team is also constituted as a representative group to allow each department to potentially take responsibility for their own governance and for how they interact with other parts of the organisation (pace Frederic Laloux’s ‘Teal’ Organisations).
Management and governance only serve to support and guarantee the sustained delivery of the School’s educational purpose. The challenge is always to keep the education of the whole child at the centre of every decision. As such, core to the school’s governance is still the Faculty of Teachers, which retains oversight and leadership for pedagogy and ethos. The pupils’ own voice is included through the School Council.
Further information can be found in these documents:
Governance and Management: Plan
Governance and Management: Meeting Schedule and Purpose
Governance and Management: Trustees’ Code of Conduct
Governance and Management: Memorandum and Articles of Association