Waldorf Education - One family's story

Richard still excluded

Joanna was begining to settle at the local primary school, but this was almost jeopardized. Her younger brother was now out of school and we were being chased by the educational authorities.
During the Christmas holidays we had been visited by the home education people. This was as a result of the meeting where educational welfare had learned that Richard was now excluded from the Waldorf School. I had pleaded with the school at the end of the autumn term to allow him back into Kindergarten and had offered to help in Kindergarten myself so that I would be on hand to change him if necessary. The Kindergarten teacher had seemed quite happy with this and it had seemed a mere matter of routine for the school council to OK it.
Because of this I had told educational welfare that Richard would almost certainly be returning to the Waldorf School after Christmas. During the Christmas holidays, though, I received a letter from the chairman of the council telling me in no uncertain terms that it was against school policy to allow a child who was not toilet trained to remain at school. To quote part of the letter -
"It is no part of a Kindergarten teachers job to toilet train."
A week or two later I received a letter from educational welfare accusing me of having lied to them and ordering me to register Richard at a school.
We were in a big quandry. We had always been Waldorf parents and we truly believed that early academic education was damaging to children, and we were being ordered to register our child at a state school.
Then I took Richard to a different psychologist who suggested a physical examination. It was found that he had a blockage in his bowel, caused initially by stress but now developed into a physical problem. He was not soiling. His bowel was blocked and matter was leaking round the edge of the blockage. After treatment he was fine.
During those two terms that Richard was excluded from Kindergarten because of his 'soiling problem', we had been in a very difficult position. He was five years old and of compulsary school age, but Waldorf education had taught us that it was very bad for children to begin their academic education at too earlier an age. Nevertheless, according to law he had to receive education. Since we were intending to return him to the Waldorf School as soon as his problems were sorted out it seemed the best solution would be to educate him at home according to Waldorf methods.
Our local education authority insisted that this would not be legal. I was pretty sure they were wrong in this and I refused to bend to their demands to either teach him at home according to the National Curriculum or register him at a state school. This all caused considerable stress on our family. I remember going for two weeks having a migraine headache every day. This was during the time we were trying to settle Joanna into the local primary school. 
During this time we received no support or advice from the Waldorf school whatsoever, even though they knew our position and we were fighting for the right to home educate our child according to Waldorf methods. When the education authority rang them, they told them that Richard was no longer registered there, even though we had been told he was only excluded until the soiling was sorted out.
Looking back, I am pretty sure that some of the teachers were hoping we would remove Richard as well. I think they were hoping we would leave the school altogether. Then there would be less chance in the future of us discovering the real truth about Joanna. I may be totally wrong here but I don't know how else to explain the school's apparently not caring what was happening about Richard's education



After a great deal of effort we managed to get Richard back into the school at the beginning of the summer term. His 'soiling' problem had been resolved following treatment.
We had at one point considered sending Richard to the same state primary that Joanna was now attending, but we still totally believed in Steiner education. In fact we still had hopes that one day Joanna may return to the Waldorf school.