Steiner Waldorf schools are the only educational establishments in the UK that do not start formal learning until children are in their seventh year, which is the norm in most European countries and around the world.

Their school in Scotland’s capital is one of the oldest, founded in 1939 with just eight pupils. Its alumni include Joel Kenrick, Sam Heughan, Elise Cartmell and Albert Watson.

Following £600,000 investment in extending its curriculum spaces over the last five years, it recently began the new academic year with a record roll of 307 pupils.

With a flourishing need to create a dozen classrooms with a 25-pupil capacity and expand its playgroup and kindergarten buildings to accommodate 80 children a day, fundraising efforts are underway to raise a further £0.2m.

As part of the largest international network of independent schools from Durban to Darwin, Silicon Valley to Shefa’amr, Embu to Edinburgh, Waldorf schools are state-funded in many countries around the world. The kilted cost in both Scottish schools, however, require parents to rummage around for up to £11,208 per year per child… unless their child is 3 – 5 years old that is.  

It is one of the few schools in the independent sector to continue to offer ELC-funded early years education when the provision almost doubled to 1,140 hours this time last year. All of its enrolled four-year-olds eligible to defer entry to P1 successfully did so, honoured by the Council a year ahead of this parental right becoming statutory across Scotland.

Here, a child starts formal education if they have turned six by the first day of school, in line with 1,200 Steiner Waldorf schools in some 80 countries; and all bar 12% of nations worldwide.

A 12-minute film, Now We Are Six ( by award-winning filmmaker, Saskia Asley-McCallum may make interesting homework on the train up to Aberdeen in October ahead of the SNP’s next party conference where Toni Giugliano will present his motion to raise the school starting age to six.

Providing a rare window into a living example of how a later start to schooling is working, this school’s roll shows demand is increasing for a distinctly different standpoint on education.