NAPLAN at a Steiner School

It is a requirement for all Australian schools to offer NAPLAN. However, the broad national testing is out of step with the timing of delivery of the Steiner curriculum.

Nevertheless, students at Steiner schools, as compared to students at all Australian schools, typically perform at the same level or better in all NAPLAN areas with the exception of Year 3.

NAPLAN measures numeracy and literacy skills which are ahead of our teachings in Year 3, but by Year 5 we are performing better than our mainstream counterparts.

Key highlights of Steiner students NAPLAN results include:

  • In reading, in all years, Steiner students perform significantly better than their mainstream counterparts.
  • In writing, by Year 9 Steiner students are performing as well as their mainstream counterparts.
  • In spelling, at all years, Steiner students perform comparably to their mainstream counterparts and by Year 9 are performing in the top three NAPLAN bands.
  • In grammar and punctuation, at all years, Steiner students perform as well as or better than their mainstream counterparts, with many Steiner students by year 9 performing in the highest three NAPLAN bands.
  • In numeracy, by Years 7 and 9 Steiner students perform as well as or better than their mainstream counterparts, catching up with them from the primary years and then exceeding their performance.

Insight into NAPLAN at Tarremah Steiner School, Tasmania

After Steiner education

There is an ever-increasing number of pathways available for our students who wish to undertake university studies to gain entry without sitting for the Year 12 exams.

As a result, tertiary institutions have shown a keenness to accept students from Steiner schools, recognising the potential they display to succeed in this environment.

We are very proud of the academic and post school achievements of our graduates.

Across the country, our Year 12 students achieve well in standardised testing. In NSW for example many of our students achieve Band 6 results in their subjects in the HSC. This placed them in the top 10% of NSW students. In other States there are similar achievements.

Recent examples of graduate outcome data in Victoria show that graduates have pursued a variety of degrees which translate into interesting, ethical and socially responsible career opportunities. These include medicine, paramedics, music, outdoor education, geology, international relations, politics, information technology, environmental science, engineering, communication, psychology, law, journalism, photography, performing arts, screen writing, and criminology.

The Spiritual Basis of Steiner Schools

Steiner schools are grounded in understanding that the human being is comprised of body, soul and spirit, and that spiritual development is critical alongside physical, intellectual and social/emotional development.

Whilst recognising the spiritual dimension of the child, Steiner education does not include instruction in religious creeds, but draws instead on the diverse literary traditions associated with the world’s leading religions to inform the festival celebrations and the rich narrative elements of the broad based, culturally rich curriculum.

Special Needs Children at Steiner Schools

Steiner schools cater for all students – every child is unique, and we work with each individual throughout their development and education.

There is not a higher level of special needs students at Steiner schools than at any other schools.

Popularity of Steiner Schools

Steiner Schools have been operating in Australia for more than 60 years and are growing in popularity locally and globally. In Australia, 17 new schools opened in the last decade, and Steiner-based streams have been introduced to several state schools in South Australia and Victoria. There are over 50 Steiner schools across Australia with more scheduled to open.

The surge in interest is expected to increase further with Gonski 2.0 placing great emphasis on critical and creative thinking, social skills and problem solving – capabilities which the Steiner philosophy has long since cultivated.

While each Steiner school is uniquely adapted to its community, Australian schools draw on the rich and collective history of more than 1,200 Steiner schools worldwide in 60 countries.


Steiner schools in Australia follow state health regulations and public health orders in regard to vaccinations.

Use of Technology

An important underpinning principle of Steiner education is that young children need to communicate and learn deeply without the mediation of complex technology.

This ‘unplugged’ experience is seen as crucial for children to develop an uncluttered self-image and self-efficacy.

On the basis of their rich communication skills and ability to produce original creative work, students are well placed to master digital technologies in high school. Many of the skills children learn holistically are transferable to digital technology:

  • How digital technologies work – sequential steps, algorithms, and data recording and analysis.
  • Creative use of digital technologies – activities to meet challenges, communicating ideas, and technological safety.
  • Research and analysis – creating complex patterns and representing that using pictures, charts and diagrams, and understanding how numbers and symbols can represent data.

The 21st century skills they learn in the Steiner primary curriculum are transferable to a digital world – critical  thinking, problem solving, creativity and collaboration, for example. What this education avoids is the adverse impact that technology can have on early memory development – research demonstrates that calculators, spell-check and Google search have been implicit in developing skills at the expense of memory. 

When students then enter high school education they embrace digital technologies effectively, creatively and ethically.