The New Zealand Certificate of Steiner Education was developed in New Zealand by a group of dedicated Steiner Educators and other individuals strongly carrying an anthroposophical impulse. Originally it was developed to meet the needs of New Zealand Steiner schools allowing their senior students to graduate with a recognised senior qualification, without having to compromise the integrity of their Waldorf curriculum. The European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE) had been trying for many years to achieve something similar in Europe and when the NZCSE (formerly known as the Steiner School Certificate) came to their attention the NZCSE became a credible option for European countries and schools. SEDT sought, and was granted, approval by the NZQA, through a credit recognition and transfer procedure, to offer the certificate outside New Zealand. And so began the international or transnational journey of the Certificate of Steiner Education! The NZCSE is now being delivered in schools across New Zealand, Switzerland, the UK, Germany, Austria and 3 schools in Queensland – Samford Valley, Noosa Pengari and Cairns Hinterland Steiner Schools.
The unique value of the CSE continues to be recognised by schools around the world, and currently there is significant interest from India and South Africa, and of course Australia. I spoke recently to Melanie Allan (NZCSE Coordinator) and Delaney Crawley (High School Education Administrator) at Samford Valley Steiner School, now in its fourth year of delivering the CSE at levels 1, 2 and 3, about their experience implementing the certificate. Mel shared that she sees major benefits for students including: “direct university placements through participation in an authentic Steiner education curriculum.” She said, “Students have a comprehensive foundation for leaving school as life-long learners who have developed a strong sense of personal responsibility and ambition.” In relation to benefits for staff she stated, “There is excitement and dialogue within the staff around meaningful assessment. Internal moderation practices enhance the teaching and learning experience.”
Delaney Crawley said, “I think the CSE is great. The students can see the rigour that is involved at each of the different levels and have remarked that they are starting to recognise what it takes to achieve excellence results at each level, as the emphasis is on research skills and the ability to critically analyse a range of material. For teachers having a broad scope of learning outcomes allows a great deal of flexibility in being able to create interesting and engaging assessments for the students to fit the LO (Learning Outcome). Creativity in assessment design is essential to avoid the student tendency to ‘point count’ that exists with any grading system”. Delaney is excited about the possibility of more Australian schools coming on board as it will enable scope for schools to work together to develop more LO’s and create further exemplars that can be shared across schools through SEDT. The possibility for subject cluster meetings, a forum in which subject teachers can come together and share resources and ideas, is another benefit of broader engagement with the certificate in Australia.
Two Class 12 students from Samford Valley Steiner School, Morgan Perry and Nishka Varghese, are excited to be graduating with their Level 3 CSE in 2021. Morgan said of the certificate, “The CSE means that our education won’t be compromised in order to gain university entry. The work we do will finally be recognised nationally, and the certificate provides a clear framework through which schools can structure their final three years of education, while retaining the flexibility that makes Steiner education as wonderful as it is”. Nishka also spoke highly of her experience undertaking the certificate, “I have been working on my Certificate of Steiner Education for nearly 3 years and am close to completing my Level 3. Each assignment and project that we do for the CSE, has such depth, and allows us to explore personal interests and important topics in a very engaging way. I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to carry my Steiner education into an official certification that is really moulded to each student’s individuality and strengths.”
If any Australian schools, currently offering or moving towards at least Class 10, are interested in further information, please contact me any time to discuss your school’s specific needs on either 0410 385 287 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively schools can contact Mark McGavock, Systems and Moderations Director and Educational Lead for Australia at email@example.com.
Steiner Education Development Trust