Natural Path School - Logistics

The school serves its community. No matter what your curriculum content, education must serve the needs of the community. A school does not impose on the community nor should the community interfere with curriculum or education matters, and if the school serves the needs of the community then neither happens.

Would it be appropriate to put a Steiner school in the middle of Africa? No, even if there were enough students the school would never be accepted locally. Another Summerhill in rural England? Unlikely, why should the village suffer the discipline problems? A crammer school in the Himalayan mountains? Possibly - influx of money and jobs - perhaps a few scholarships for local kids; if the groundwork were established this might survive. The people need to protect the school.

But then is a crammer school natural?

BEFORE you consider your curriculum (or at least at the same time), consider the community location. If your curriculum is geared towards self-realisation, the community involvement of parents is less of an issue. If your curriculum is open, then the parents choose through the payment of fees as self-realisation is not going to occur in a state setup because of the hijackers.

There needs to be some sort of accountability to parents but day-to-day involvement has to be prevented. This is interference and is unacceptable in any school. You don't pay a plumber and then half-way through a job demand that he do it in a certain way. You pay the experts and then you let them get on with it. You need mechanisms of communication to avoid misunderstandings to prevent the occasional divisiveness amongst even the best-willed adolescent. But this is not to encourage parents to question the authority of the teacher, that has to be sacrosanct as an internal matter.

The finance of such a school has to be firm. Private schools lose control because of finance. Parents gain too great an influence through the power of withdrawal of children and therefore their fees. As it is a self-realisation school then the benefactors have to ensure financial solidity. This requires an appropriate financial plan - not a business plan as the fees and possible profit have to be a secondary consideration. The benefactors cannot have control over the purchase of books, and yet at the same time their good-heartedness should not be tested by a contingency request for desks.

Staffing is the most important financial issue as it is the major ongoing cost. But the success of any school depends on the quality of the staff - unity ought not to be an issue in a school of self-realisation. Welfare has to be primary - financial and otherwise. It is often the case that such independent schools offer lower salaries as teachers are motivated. In the long run this creates problems as these teachers might have to seek elsewhere for money. In a school of self-realisation teacher vocation needs to be strong, but misusing vocation always causes dissension.

One aspect of community that needs to be considered is state inspection. This needs to be researched and factored into the finance plan; a regulation should not defeat self-realisation.

With an appropriate plan in place and the numbers in the bank then the curriculum can viably be considered.