Our work to renew our mission reflects the changing conditions in education and the need for a modern Waldorf Education offering that is integrated, and fully engaged with, the wider collective of creative pedagogies worldwide that serve children’s healthy development. This takes place within a global context of educational systems, communities and cultures of learning undergoing intense transformations including, but not limited to, questions around social and ecological justice.

Teaching and learning are often at the heart of cultural and social change and need to be closely aligned with educational research as we collectively navigate cultural values and political currents. The first ten years of the 21st century saw a ‘creative decade’ of policy and practice in the UK, heralded by Sir Ken Robinson, who in his celebrated TED talk of 2006 laid down the provocative gauntlet of “Do schools kill creativity?” Whilst ‘creative thinking skills’ are now integrated into the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)’s 2021 framework, creativity itself has a far wider potential within education. Finland, which for many years has served as a beacon for high levels of training and trust in teachers as professionals, demonstrates how it is the cultural coherence and embedding of evidence-based educational policy that has a significant impact on children’s outcomes.

Amidst the industrial model of mainstream education systems, a vibrant discourse on creativity is continuing to offer a potential renewal of education itself, and alternative models such as Waldorf Education, alongside Montessori and Reggio Emilia, are contributing to this discourse.

There are a range of exemplary Waldorf settings worldwide serving their communities within varied contexts of formal education systems, regulatory infrastructures, and economic frameworks. In the UK, Waldorf Education provision is predominantly independent and fee-paying and underwent a particularly challenging period over 2018-2020 with several schools (including Wynstones) closing due to inadequacies across all areas of provision. The reasons for these failures are complex, but at their heart were a failure to sufficiently engage with the highest professional and regulatory standards; a lack of long-term investment in teacher standards, and leadership and governance; and challenges to the financial sustainability of the fee-paying school model, that sought to serve a socially- and economically diverse pupil and parent community.

Since 2019, Waldorf UK (until October 2023 the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship), has been working systematically to support the professionalisation of the Waldorf Sector in the UK with a significant milestone achieved in 2020 in the publication of the Waldorf Teachers’ Standards. Waldorf UK’s programme of school improvement has been accompanied by better Ofsted ratings in many schools, but the long-term lack of quality assurance in Waldorf teacher training programmes has been a significant gap in the sector and constrained recruitment and succession planning for schools.

Waldorf Learning Foundation’s principal work as a charity over these past two years has been the development of a partnership with Bath Spa University culminating in the Postgraduate Diploma in Waldorf Education and Creative Pedagogies. This course was the first to receive accreditation from Waldorf UK (in 2022) and so become both an academically validated and professionally accredited programme. The course is for qualified teachers to develop their practice, including through the demonstration of the Waldorf Teachers’ Standards. It has an innovative online and residential design, including Landcraft Retreats in rural Herefordshire. The course remains a keystone of the charity’s commitment to the sector and the establishment of a future school provision as part of its future direction.

The Charity holds a determination to engage with this future direction with energy and ambition, and to deliver our purpose and work towards the vision it has set out. We must, and will, prudently steward the resources available to us and ensure that they are focused in the best possible ways on delivering the Charity’s Objects. Subject to investment conditions we aim to fund the core operating costs of the Charity from  investment return, while using our capital resources prudently to achieve strategic priorities. Our strategic goals set out these priorities over the next three years.