Upper School update: A clear pathway for GSS

As many of you already know, GSS is actively working towards opening Class 9 from Sept 2020 and continuing up to Class 12. This will mean that all the children currently in the school will be able to continue their educational journey at GSS right through to age 18. We are convinced that this complete approach will prepare and educate them in the best possible way for their places in the future. Once Upper School is established at GSS children will no longer need to transition to a different school at age 11 or age 14.

There are many aspects to this exciting Upper School project and, as work and preparations continue, we want to keep you updated. So here is a brief review of where things currently stand:

GSS has selected the New Zealand Certificate of Steiner Education (NZCSE) as our preferred qualification (rather than GCSEs, A-Levels or the International Baccalaureate) because it is unique in offering a qualification that is specifically designed to realise the Steiner curriculum without compromise. All other qualification routes require the children either to leave the school, to carry out additional qualifications alongside their Steiner education, or would mean that the curriculum would need to be changed to fit the examinations. By offering the NZCSE we can work with the curriculum that we believe in and also provide a recognised qualification. As part of their quality assurance processes, GSS will need to demonstrate to the NZCSE that we can deliver the curriculum and that we are ready to embark on this exciting new phase of education at GSS. The NZCSE representatives will return to GSS in the Autumn to review our progress and to continue to advise us. For more information about the NZCSE please see other posts on this Upper School blog.

The Upper School curriculum will span a broad range of subjects including sciences, humanities, arts, crafts, and sports. Forthcoming posts on the blog will highlight how Upper School is delivered elsewhere in the UK so that you can see why we think Upper School is such an exciting prospect. GSS staff are currently working to develop an Upper School curriculum that is unique to GSS, can be effectively staffed and delivered, and which draws on the strengths of our school, our location and our ambition to provide a robust and transformative education.

Alongside this work on the curriculum and the intended qualification, we need to prepare for an application to the Department of Education to obtain the necessary permissions to extend our teaching to this older age group. A requirement for this will be to demonstrate that we have the premises necessary to deliver the Upper School. This is a challenging requirement, but we are currently looking at three alternative space options with a view to selecting the best option by the end of this year.

It is important that Upper School at GSS is visible beyond our own community; we will be publicising the Upper School to other London Steiner Schools, and are hoping to reach out further. If you have contacts who you think may be interested in this project, please do encourage them to join you in bookmarking the Upper School blog and subscribing to our new Upper School mailing list, which will allow us to communicate future events and developments to all those who are interested in the Upper School, within and beyond GSS.

The two recent Upper School events/ talks were very positive, and we will continue to host regular events, inviting speakers and updating on progress as work continues.

Upper School team:

Trudy Coutinho (Class 7 teacher), Mirna Pettengell (Class 4 teacher)

Assisted by: Lucy Beverley (Parent), Rita Haw (Parent); Tim Hoe (Parent); Niamh McInerney (Governor); Julie Peterson (Parent) + new members to be confirmed shortly!

Please do get in contact if you have any queries or suggestions for issues that should be a focus of the upper school blog or suggestions for speakers or talks.