A FORMER Steiner school forced to shut after its building was destroyed in a fire has launched a landmark bid for state funding.

The board of the Glasgow Steiner group has sent a submission to the Scottish Government to become a publicly-funded autonomous school.

Securing public funding for the alternative philosophy of Steiner education would be a first for Scotland, with current costs being met by parents through fees.

Loading article content

The bid is also significant because it is the latest in a number to the Scottish Government by schools seeking state-funded autonomous status.

Simone Landwehr Traxler, the chair of the Glasgow Steiner group, said they were currently going through a process of re-registering as an independent school with Education Scotland after losing their previous school in a fire in 2013.

Since then, pupils and teachers have been operating under a home schooling arrangement from premises in Queen's Crescent in the west end of Glasgow.

Mrs Landwehr Traxler said: "There is a much broader education available to parents in other parts of Europe so you have a choice, but in Scotland still you don't have an alternative education.

"It is really overdue in Scotland to look at different ways of educating children and I think there is enough demand in Glasgow to open a Steiner school, although it is very difficult without government funding.

"We will be starting the school with a small group, but if we get government funding that would help to attract more people because we would be able to offer an education to all regardless of family income."

The Scottish Government already funds several schools which are not run by local authorities including Jordanhill, in the west end of Glasgow, and a number of specialist schools such as Donaldson's School, in Linlithgow, which caters for deaf pupils.

However, the move to create more autonomous schools would be controversial because of opposition to the concept of free schools and Academies in England which critics argue undermine control by democratically elected councils.

The business case is the third to be lodged with the Scottish Government in recent months. Families in East Dunbartonshire have launched a bid to take over the running of the Catholic St Joseph's Primary in Milngavie, which is being shut by the council.

The Al-Qalam private Muslim school in Glasgow has also submitted a proposal to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to expand into secondary education with the help of public funding.

Bill Nicol, a director of the Hometown Foundation charitable trust, which is supporting schools in their bids for autonomous status, said parents should be given the right to set up their own schools.

He said: "Many types of alternative education are widely available and state-funded across Europe, including England, and we believe Steiner education would provide greater diversity and parental choice within the Scottish state-funded education system.

"The Steiner group is one of a growing number of educational establishments that have approached us proving that there is a developing interest from parents and teachers to introduce greater variety into the state-funded education system in Scotland."

Steiner education is based on the principals of Austrian philosopher, author and social reformer Rudolf Steiner who believed children should be educated in a nurturing environment which valued each child as an individual and developed their physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual needs.