School's not out yet after 70 years for the first pupils
THEY first met as fresh-faced six-year-olds in a school with only seven pupils.
The Rudolf Steiner School's first ever class met in 1939 when the school opened in Edinburgh.
Two of the original pupils loved it so much that they went back years later to become teachers – and even in their 70s are still heavily involved with the school.
The Spylaw Road school is this year celebrating its 70th anniversary, and former pupils have come back to the school to share memories and talk to youngsters.
Surprisingly, not a lot has changed since the first went through the school gates all those years ago.
Rudolf Steiner – which has more than 1000 schools across the world – has its own curriculum, which has remained relatively unchanged over the years.
It works on the principle of "head, heart and hands", giving children classes in everything from traditional maths and English to farming and house-building.
Although technologies have moved on, the ethos is the same.
Shirley Noakes, now 76, was one of the first pupils who started in 1939 and graduated in 1950.
She had a traumatic time at an all-girls' school before her mother moved her to Rudolf Steiner.
She said: "I remember having nightmares at night at the girls' school and the matron ended up telling my mother that it was making me unwell.
"She found out about Rudolf Steiner through a chance remark at the dentists and before I knew it I was going to school with children who were babbling with excitement and it was the same for me."
In fact, she loved her time at the school so much that she returned as a teacher years later, as did her former classmate Dennis Wright, now 74.
Miss Noakes added: "It was a mixed experience going back as a teacher. People who were my teachers became colleagues. One of the teachers even apologised for using my first name in front of a class because I had been his pupil and that was how he knew me."
Former teacher Karla Kiniger, 88, has also been celebrating the school's 70th anniversary, and was invited to a special lunch on Friday, which was prepared by the pupils.
Miss Kiniger – who founded the Rudolf Steiner teacher training course – only retired two years ago and is still involved with training new teachers.
Despite her age, she says she wants to continue to be a part of the Edinburgh school, which she joined in 1954.
The pupils had a turbulent first few months at the school as war broke out and they were evacuated to Kelso in the Borders.
But the outbreak of war had a positive impact on Steiner schools across the world, as after Germany's schools were closed by the Nazis, their teachers moved to other countries to teach.
This is said to be responsible for the sharp rise in popularity in Steiner education in Edinburgh, with pupil numbers rising from seven to 300 in just 15 years. The birthday will be marked throughout the year.
EDUCATION FOR UNIVERSAL HUMAN VALUES
STEINER education is based on the work of Dr Rudolf Steiner, a philosopher and scientist who lived from 1861 to 1925.
The first Steiner school opened in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919 for children of workers at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory.
Dr Steiner inspired what has become a worldwide movement of schools that promote universal human values.
Steiner schools are always co-educational and fully comprehensive. They take pupils from the age of three to ideally 18, and welcome children of all abilities, and from all faiths and backgrounds.
The Steiner ethos aims to provide an unhurried and creative learning environment, where children can find the joy in learning.
There are more than 958 Steiner schools, 1600 early years settings and 60 teacher training centres worldwide.
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