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.
We have recently had four new trustees join us:
Hollie Meddings, Finance Trustee, joined the trustees October 2019
Alessandra Tosi, newly appointed December 2019
I have been part of the school community for over 15 years; our two older children (Anna, 20, and Nico, 17) have gone through the Kindergarten and Lower School and our youngest, Sofia, is currently in Class 4. We have seen the school develop from a tiny initiative to its' present state. In my professional life I'm the Co-Founder and Managing Director of a social enterprise Open Book Publishers (www.openbookpublishers.com.) OBP is a leading non for profit publisher of academic books and textbooks which are free to read and download worldwide. Prior to founding OBP I was a scholar specializing in nineteenth-century Russian fiction, reception and gender studies.
Karin has worked in Boston, the Silicon Valley and now in Cambridge. She has over 25 years of experience in successful leadership roles within the life sciences, biotech and drug discovery industries. Karin trained as PhD scientist in Molecular Biology. She currently holds the position of Chief Business Officer at Mogrify, a new Cambridge-based start-up company. In her work, she combines a deep scientific understanding, commercial, legal and financial acumen, with strategic leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit. Karin is an executive board member at Mogrify Ltd, and has for many years served as a Director at the local German School. In her free time, Karin very much enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, as well as spending time with her family.
I am a father of two, Emily and Dan, who are now 35 and 31 respectively. My children went to local state schools in London.
Shortly after Dan’s 5th birthday I became a governor at my children’s primary school, Streatham Wells, which was the centre of our community. After two years I was asked to become chair, and served in this role for a further 15 years. During this time the school had four head teachers (three permanent appointments and one temporary). The school received an Ofsted rating of satisfactory for its first inspection, and outstanding features for its last.
As well as being chair of governors, I was also chair of finance. The school managed to balance its books throughout my period as chair, never having either an end of year deficit, or a surplus large enough to incur Local Authority clawback.
I currently work as a Professor of law at Queen Mary, University of London, which I joined in 2006, having previously been a lecturer, senior lecturer and then Reader at the LSE from 1981 to 2006
I expect to retire from QMUL in 2021.
Joel Chalfen - Chair of Trustees
Responsible for: HR/Professional Development; Quality of Education: Assessment/Pupil Outcomes; Safeguarding
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 and this was further formalised in 2018 with the establishment of discrete leadership roles for Education – Early Years and Lower School Coordinator. In November 2019 the Senior Leadership Team was expanded to further facilitate the needs of the school and provide a broader platform.
Management and governance 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 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