News - November 2009

‘Classroom’ thanks to the Schaffhausen model.

How Steiner education has been able to have a future

The Foundation for Furthering Rudolf Steiner Education in Switzerland celebrates its 20th anniversary, an occasion to review its tireless activity.
During the 20 years of its existence, the Foundation for Furthering Rudolf Steiner Education in Switzerland has contributed in a decisive way to relieving the debt problems of Steiner schools. 

Successful, but hard going.
The contributions of parents are the only source of finance for the 31 Steiner schools in Switzerland, which means they have very limited financial means. Their buildings have always therefore been one of their principal financial considerations; with the payment of loans and interest often a source of great preoccupation. Many schools could hardly amortise their debts.

The Schaffhausen model.
To help schools confronted with such problems, the founder of the foundation came up with a clever idea and a generous deed: he gave to the foundation, created in 1989, a sum of capital that was then lent to the schools in the form of interest free loans. As a result, the schools could afford to make regular monthly debt repayments, at an annual rate varying between 4% and 6%.

Thanks to this method of long-term debt relief, called ‘the Schaffhausen model’, the Steiner schools have been able to pay down debt in the past 20 years.

The classes are the image of the foundation : active and confident.

Actively supporting the school movement.
The foundation has also financially helped the schools to organise various public acts. It has participated in establishing teachers’ pensions, encouraged their on-going training in different ways and promoted quality standards. From a financial point of view, it helps schools collaborate. Finally, the schools furnish the foundation with annual statistics that help it in its overall planning.

The foundation is at the heart of the development of Steiner education and of the schools in particular, from the welcoming of infants to the end of secondary education. Its main aim is to serve in a disinterested manner through its financing ideas.

– Ursula Piffaretti, President of the Board of the Foundation.


Shared seminars strengthen collaboration.


In Switzerland, future Steiner school teachers can take a training in specific centres at Dornach, Berne and Lausanne. They work in close collaboration thanks to shared seminars that allow discussion of pedagogical concepts and questions concerning accreditation. They have enjoyed a long and fruitful tradition, with those responsible always informed by the anthroposophical image of the human being, meaning that education begins with understanding the child. Concrete research keeps the education up to date. 

For fuller information: 

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The Steiner Schools Coordination Office

Coordinating the demands and needs of Steiner schools, supporting them in their communication with the public, and bringing the movement together with its international counterparts.

Steiner schools are independent schools with a particular pedagogy. The aim of the Coordination Office is to help their development by way of shared projects.

Office of Coordination
Carmenstrasse 49
8032 Zurich
Tel: 044 262 2501
Fax: 044 262 2502

The Zurich Atelier School is ready for recognition of its graduation diploma

In July 2009, the 4-year secondary education programme of the Zurich Atelier School was recognised by the education authorities. The Atelier School is a joint secondary education project of the Silham and Zurich Steiner schools, and the first of its kind in Switzerland.

In 2008, 20 students from its top (13th) class received their diplomas; 26 in 2009. The special feature of this school is its teaching in ‘workshops’, based on practical projects for certain subjects such as chemistry and biology, the plastic arts and music, which are offered to all students.