asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if it is his intention to exercise his powers under section 19(c) of the Education Act 1981 to make special provision for recognition of (a) teachers and (b) teacher training within Steiner schools; and if he will make a statement.
[pursuant to his reply, 20 March 1985, c. 493]: My right hon. Friend has been considering the advice of the Advisory Committee on the Supply and Education of Teachers, contained in its report on teacher training and special educational needs, which included recommendations about Steiner-trained teachers and Steiner schools. While he recognises the excellent work done by many Steiner schools in teaching and caring for those with special educational needs, and would not wish to undervalue it in any way, he has decided that Steiner training should not be admissible for qualified teacher status, and that Steiner schools should not be exempt from the general conditions (including those regarding an adequate number of qualified teachers) governing the approval of independent schools which take local education authority placements of children with statements of special educational needs. Qualified teacher status entitles the holder to teach in any school within the maintained system; it is the view of my right hon. Friend that the training received by teachers under the Steiner system (including that of the Camphill schools) is not such as to prepare them for teaching in maintained schools, and he is not prepared to grant a limited form of qualified teacher status which applies only to Steiner schools.My right hon. Friend acknowledges the valuable contribution which the Steiner schools have made and continue to make to the care of severely handicapped pupils, many of whom have gross learning and emotional difficulties; he hopes that these schools will flourish and that local education authorities will continue to use them when appropriate. I can assure the right hon. Member that local education authorities will still be able to place pupils with statements of special educational needs at these schools if they wish, subject to my right hon. Friend's consent, and that he will be ready to give that consent in all cases where the placements are suitable.