Former Hawthorn Junior School to reopen as Steiner School

October 15, 2012 17 Comments »

Local residents Stefanie Wilkins celebrates after winning a community campaign to bring the former Hawthorn Junior School back into use..

Community campaigners are celebrating after a much-loved former school building was saved from the bulldozer.

For the past three years the old Hawthorn Junior School, in Llandaff North, has been threatened with demolition.

Following the amalgamation of the infant school and junior school, the building was empty while local residents lobbied Cardiff council to ensure it remained a focal point for the community.

And it has now been confirmed the Victorian-era building will be given a new lease of life – as a school.

Cardiff Steiner School – which focuses on the importance of learning to play, socialise and listen rather than reading and writing – is set to move in after Christmas.

Stephanie Wilkins, chair of the Llandaff North Residents’ Association, said: “I’ve just been e-mailing a gentleman who lives in Shrewsbury, who’s from the area, and he saw our posters on a visit and he got in touch and sent us money. I’ve also had someone from Australia who was back for a visit and saw it was all boarded up, went on Google and found our campaign website.

“People feel very strongly – it’s part of their history, part of the history of the place. It’s very important to people.”

She said the Steiner school appeared to be good candidates to takeover the building, because residents were already used to it operating as a school, and also because they were keen for community involvement.

The school, which is currently being renovated, is accepting applications for January 2013 for children aged three to 10. Cardiff Steiner also run a parent and toddler group and is exploring the possibility of opening an extra class for children aged 10 to 12.

Miranda Knight, from Cardiff Steiner, said: “We are over the moon to be making Hawthorn Junior school our new home, and look forward to building on our close links with the fantastic Llandaff North community who have worked so hard to save this beautiful building.

“It’s great news for us that we’ll be growing our Steiner school in such a supportive community, where locals have fought and won this brilliant campaign. There will be dedicated spaces in the school that will be available for community use, and we look forward to forging a strong relationship with the residents of Llandaff North over the coming years.”

Llandaff North councillor Siobhan Corria added: “Hawthorn Junior School has always been at the heart of Llandaff North and the fact that the building has been saved is testament to the residents who fought hard to ensure the building remained.”

Anyone who wants to find about more about Steiner education can visit Cardiff Steiner at its current home St Anne’s School, in Croft Street, Roath. A harvest fair takes place on October 20 from 12pm to 4pm and an Open Day on November 17 from 10.30am to 2pm.

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  1. Paul Morgan October 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    Given the choice between having the site bulldozed or having a Steiner school open, I would go for bulldozing the site EVERY time. Steiner schools are renowned for their anti-science teachings and liking for quackery such as homeopathy. Oh – mustn't forget the gnomes. I am actually shocked and appalled that there is such a school already in Cardiff. I am only thankful that this is at least not state-funded ( a la Michael Gove's plans in England).

  2. @undefined October 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    How utterly ridiculous. Steiner schools are well known for being anti-scientific. This is not a good thing at all.

  3. acleron October 15, 2012 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    I cannot imagine that the good residents of LLandaf North realise quite what they have invited into their midst.

    Steiner adherents have various weird beliefs including gnomes!

    And Rudolf's own words.

    "[W]e have to remember that an institution like the Independent Waldorf School with its anthroposophical character, has goals that, of course, coincide with anthroposophical desires. At the moment, though, if that connection were made official, people would break the Waldorf School’s neck."
    Rudolf Steiner, Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner (Anthroposophic Press, 1998) p. 115

  4. Julie Badoa October 16, 2012 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Great news for the local community and families of Cardiff. We attend the Steiner Parent & Toddler Group in Pontcanna and love it, so are really pleased to have the school opening right on our doorstep. Hopefully they will be running parent and toddler groups there too? Well done to the community for saving the building and to the Council for listenin to the people of Cardiff.

  5. Nigel Thomas October 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Aren't there enough schools already in Cardiff teaching reincarnation?

  6. Felicity Draper October 16, 2012 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    I'm pleased for the steiner school to find a home and keep the building being used as a school. This can only be a good thing for our local community. The steiner school has been very welcoming to the local community in Llandaff North and is set to have a have a good relationship with us.

  7. Nigel Draper October 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    Thankyou to the Steiner School for welcoming your new community into your building and allowing us the pleasure of seeing the beginnings of your refurbishment works last weekend. We look forward to seeing the finished school and once again the rooms and playground being filled with the sounds of children playing and learning.

  8. Teifion October 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    I assume that those who attack Steiner schools are in favour of the dreadful gradgrinding National Curriculum through which our politicians try to control us. What a miserable time many of our children suffer. Witness the dying of Humanities in recent years and the overwhelming homage paid to Mathematics, Science and Technology.
    You do not need to be a Steiner disciple to commend the remarkable importance of creativity and self -fulfilment in these places. The children are happy and successful and actually enjoy school!

  9. grumpy October 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    As a resident of Llandaf North and living a stones throw from the school site, I welcome the Cardiff Steiner movement with open arms.
    How wonderful that an educational organisation is coming to join us here in Cardiff's (secret) best village.
    Much better to use the building to help develop and create the caring, sharing, capable, understanding, thoughtful adults of the future, rather than use the site to provide dwellings that would have assisted the selfish consumption of even more of our precious resources.
    I am looking forward to hearing the wonderful sound of children playing in the schoolyard every lunchtime, and maybe getting the opportunity to taste some of the amazing food I hear so much about that is served at all the many open and festival days the school holds throughout the year.

    Bring it on!

  10. dave October 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm - Reply



    We are the best campaigners in the word! Well done everybody. If this was anywhere else in Cardiff it would have been 60 flats by now.

    Right, whats next? Are there any political prisoners from Llandaf North that need releasing?……

  11. Brigid - Trustee October 16, 2012 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Well done to the Llandaff North campaigners. It’s a brilliant win for them. They can be proud that Cardiff – like every other major European city – will now have its own fully-fledged Steiner school, at the heart of their community.

    It's wrong to say that Steiner Schools are anti-science. In fact, Steiner schools are strongly pro-science. They are also pro-enquiry and pro-academic rigour. In Steiner schools, all science teaching begins with the close observation and direct experience of physical phenomena in order to gather evidence, rather than with a description of prevailing theories and models. Steiner pupils are encouraged to question everything, including orthodoxy.

    This is the way in which science has evolved over the centuries: do; observe; reflect; build theories; and then start all over again. It is an approach that resulted in the 2006 Pisa study into Austrian Steiner schools concluding that state schools could learn from Steiner methods.

    We aim to offer a first class education – for both budding scientists and artists (and for those children who are both) – and will be holding a number of talks during 2013 at Hawthorn for anyone who wants to find out more: keep watching the website for more details

  12. Mrs LL. N. October 16, 2012 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    Great news that this beautiful building has been saved from redevelopment (ie. yet more unwanted flats) and will be used as a school once more. My son attended the Steiner Kindergarten in Cardiff and now attends the school where he is thriving and happy. As Llandaf North residents,we are thrilled that the school is moving here where it will be a wonderful addition to our warm and welcoming community.

  13. Happy October 16, 2012 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    As a parent of of 2 children that went to the Steiner Kindergarten in Cardiff and now go to a Steiner School in England it is wonderful to see that my former home of Llandaff North can host in this beautiful building what will be a vibrant and forward thinking school and a credit to the community. I very much look forward to visiting in the future to see what a wonderful school this will become. I wish the children, teachers, staff, parents and friends every success.

  14. Open Minded October 16, 2012 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    I pity the critics children because displaying the level of ignorant short sighted prejudice sourced from deeply flawed information is not a good example to set. Those critics of Steiner Education should take a long hard look at the many faults of the national curriculum and mainstream education system and actually get their facts right about Steiner education before disrespecting and trying to undermine people's right to make an informed choice about what is the most appropriate form of education for their children.

  15. Sophie Durnan October 17, 2012 at 9:27 am - Reply

    So happy to have my daughter enjoying this wonderful education, we are really excited about moving into our new home, cant wait, thanks to everyone who has helped make this happen!!

  16. James October 22, 2012 at 11:00 am - Reply

    At last, a school for those of us who believe in reincarnation, bullying as a form of karma, the evils of modern technology and that children shouldn't be able to read until their teeth fall out.

    Well done everyone.


  17. scott March 9, 2013 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Better than a Welsh education! Much better!!!!!!!

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