Alder Bridge School


School Guide Rating

Not Rated

This school has 2 parent reviews

Bridge House
Mill Lane
3 - 12
Other independent school
View Report
Independent inspection report

Independent preparatory schools do not have to follow the National Curriculum or submit test results to the Department for Education so there is no individual school performance data or star rating.

Visit the school's website to learn more about their unique curriculum, policies on testing and common leaver destinations (a good indicator of pupil progress). See our About page for information on Choosing A Prep School.

School Description

: Alder Bridge Steiner-Waldorf School was founded in 1987 and currently offers education for pupils aged between three and fourteen years. It follows the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner and the curriculum developed from his thinking. It is located in Padworth, near Reading in West Berkshire. It is in a semi-rural location and beside outdoor play areas there are woodland, vegetable plots, willow structures and a wide range of outdoor facilities. There are 61 pupils on roll. Besides the two Kindergarten classes there are four combined classes which each contain two age groups covering Classes 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6, and 7 and 8, respectively. Admission is non-selective and one pupil has a statement of special educational needs. The school ‘strives to help the child meet and address the challenges and demands of modern life. By educating the children in a more holistic manner, we nurture and develop head, heart and hands, awakening and encouraging independent thought, confidence in themselves and skills necessary for future life.’ Steiner class names Kindergarten Class 1 Class 2 Class 3 Class 4 Class 5 Class 6 Class 7 Class 8 National Curriculum Nursery, Year R, Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Kindergarten Lower School Ditto Ditto Ditto Ditto Ditto Ditto Ditto Summary of main findings: Alder Bridge Steiner-Waldorf School provides a good quality of education for its pupils. Overall, they make good progress but there are inconsistencies in some classes. The quality of teaching is good. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good with some outstanding features, notably community links and the range of cultural visits, outings and trips undertaken. The classrooms and 3 grounds provide excellent and varied opportunities for learning. The school has sought to address the issues raised at the last inspection, but some of these have not been met consistently. The school has devised a policy for assessment and recording across the classes, but this is not as yet applied rigorously enough to be fully effective. Teachers know the pupils very well to good effect, and consequently behaviour is good. Especially in the older classes, a strong sense of being in a team has been built up and includes both pupils and teachers. Pupils’ speaking and language skills are developed effectively throughout the school, as is work in the creative and aesthetic areas. Parents who responded to the inspection questionnaire indicated that they are very happy with the school. Provision in the Kindergarten classes is good; they provide an outstanding quality of care and the children’s personal and emotional development is excellent. What the school does well:  it provides a good quality of teaching;  it enables pupils to make good overall progress;  it promotes particularly positive relationships between adults and pupils which support learning;  it develops pupils’ speaking and listening skills well, along with their creative and aesthetic achievement.

Alder Bridge School Catchment Area Map

This school is independently managed and its admission criteria may be selective. There is no set catchment area as pupils are admitted from a wide variety of postcodes and, in the case of boarding schools, from outside the UK. Contact the school directly or visit their website for more information on Admissions Policy and Procedures.

Alder Bridge School Reviews

Average Rating:


“Education as it should be”
Alder Bridge Steiner Waldorf School provides an unhurried approach to education in the early years and allows children to develop physically, socially, and academically. The focus on is on nurturing the child, its imagination, creativity, thinking, and social interaction. Rather than apply pressure children are able to explore and experiment. They gain confidence and develop a joy of learning that are invaluable life skills. As they grow older the curriculum becomes more demanding, always oriented at the children's ability and development. Alder Bridge school goes up to Class 8, and most teenagers who then leave will go into mainstream education. The curriculum takes account of this and the transition they will face. Anthroposophy is reflected in this holistic approach. Being a Steiner-Waldorf school it goes without saying that many principles of Rudolf Steiner's pedagogy apply. There are some who see this as an outdated approach and imply religious bias. I have never seen this at Alder Bridge and my child could not be happier. Quite contrary to many schools, religion as a lesson introduces the main world religions, and although primarily Christian in outlook, no indoctrination in any way takes place. Rudolf Steiner's work went beyond education into the fields of philosophy and politics in terms of wider social reforms. Many of his findings have to be seen in the context of time, and not all apply to education. I hence believe that Steiner-Waldorf schools have to adapt and make some of the principles more applicable to modern times, and I think they do. Alder Bridge School certainly does as far as I can say (and I did not go to a Steiner School myself). Alder Bridge School provides more than just teaching. The community is warm and welcoming. It is a small school and as such state of the art facilities are not easily affordable and hence introduced but it is continuously improving and the children have a lot on offer, including a vast woodland area with a hut/outdoor classroom, a woodwork room, veg patches, play areas, etc.
Not a good or positive experience. Alder Bridge is a Steiner Waldorf school which claims to offer an alternative and creative style to education. What parents are not told is that a religion called 'anthroposophy' (invented by Rudolph Steiner over 100 years ago) underpins everything that is said and done here. Some people may not be comfortable with his beliefs or approaches to education. It's my suggestion prospective parents MUST research this subject thoroughly, by looking at websites, such as Waldorf Watch, Waldorfcritics and Quackometer, written and contributed to by people with first-hand knowledge of these schools. I wish I had found this out before sending my child to this school as it was not a good or positive experience. Having realised this, it cost over £1,500 to pay for intensive private tutoring to get my child up to a reasonable educational standard in order to return her to a mainstream school - even though she is naturally very bright she was placed a year below her peers because she was so far behind academically. Overall my child hated the experience of going there and was frustrated by the slow pace of learning and style of teaching, I also had concerns over some of the festivals, including St John's fire jumping!! However, this style of school may suit some children. In my opinion, this school is not in a good state of repair, most of the maintenance to the buildings and grounds is funded and carried out by parents in their spare time
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