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Odds & Sods(3)

Too long for a Tweet, too short for an article, Odds & Sods posts carry a mix of short notes/newsy items about the UK Anthroposophy scene.

First up, here’s an update about the collapsed Mercury Provident Pension Scheme (MPPS), a scheme established by and for the UK Anthroposophy community, primarily its Steiner ed workers. Earlier coverage of the story can be found here and here on the blog. So, the latest estimate of the MPPS deficit is £16.8 million, a sum the scheme’s participant employers are obliged to draw down over the next 15 or so years. Their payments vary according to the level of involvement they had with the scheme and payments are monthly. This can get to be quite a hefty sum over the course of a year. Take the UK’s first ever Steiner school, Michael Hall, for example. In its 2019 accounting year the school’s share of the deficit reduction payments came to a whopping £257k. This, combined with a fall in pupil numbers, was enough – as the 2019 accounts note – to tip the school into the red. Other schools might well be at risk of ‘Mercury poisoning’ and I hope to assemble a full list of the MPPS participants for a future update on this story.


Speaking of Michael Hall, it has been interesting to see it and some other Steiner schools reporting a small drop in pupil numbers. Fall-out from Ofsted’s report revelations during the recent Steiner schools crisis, widely reported on in the local and national media, must have played some part in this decline. Not all schools report a drop but then not all schools have reported and so any analysis has to be tentative for now. What we can say is that where there is a decrease reported by schools it’s typically been somewhere in the order of a 10% decrease in pupil numbers. The financial impact of decreased revenues due to falling school rolls has for some schools been offset by financial help during a greater crisis, the covid pandemic. This has come in the form of government grants, loans and payments to businesses via the government’s covid furlough scheme. However, the scheme is due to finish this Autumn which will leave some schools financially exposed, at least for the short term.


French Steiner critic Grégoire Perra has been subjected to yet another mischievous legal action by Anthroposophists. Their intention appears to be to wear him down and bleed him of money rather than win – this will be the 4th time French Anthros have taken him to court for pretty much the same reasons they have previously. He hasn’t lost a case yet and why should he anyway for speaking the truth. We won’t know the outcome of this most recent case for a few months and he would welcome your support by tweets or email in the meanwhile, contact info is on his blog. Even better, help him with his court costs if you can. His crowd-funding thingy to help with legal costs is


There have been revamps and relaunches in Steinerland lately, none of them very convincing and one of them a complete cock up. Wynstones, for example, is a Steiner school so unsafe it was shut down during the Steiner schools crisis. A heavily publicised overhaul ensued as Steiner acolytes refused to let the school die. A major change saw its collegiate style of governance ditched and replaced with a head teacher or ‘lead’ as they term the position. A man reminiscent of 1960’s IBM managerial level staffers was hired, sharp suit and all. Sylvie Sklan – ex boss of SWSF – was bussed in as part of the overhaul team. Other team members were headhunted. Its website was revamped. Slick videos were produced extolling the vision and purpose of the school. Safety of pupils was a priority. An Ofsted ‘outstanding’ rating within 7 years was aimed for. That ambitious aim may well be achieved but you do need a functioning school for this to occur, right? Well, yes you do but nobody involved in this over-hyped relaunch bothered to do any basic market research –  Wynstone’s scheduled reopening for September of this year will not happen due to a lack of interest, the school couldn’t attract sufficient numbers to be financially viable. SWSF had “been supporting Wynstones on a number of levels” throughout and so the responsibility for this fiasco lies with the new SWSF boss, Fran Russell. Oh well, it did look good on vid, Fran.


Elsewhere, the Biodynamics Brigade, oops I mean Association, is quite excited about its rebranding exercise which includes a new on-line directory where you can find biodynamic producers, processors and traders. I find the new website a chore, all that scrolling, but the new directory though, yes! I love it! It makes it easier to find data for my research aha! Otherwise, though, the website is just lots of frothy marketing.


The venerable PLANS critics forum might not be as busy as it once was but it is still ticking over nicely with its discussions, information and news. Occasionally there’s a complete and utter surprise such as this gem of a post about the Steiner Misraim Rite. Apparently the rite is a blend of Egyptian and Masonic rituals which has been given an esoteric Christianised makeover by Steiner. Steiner is known to have been active in Freemasonry, Lodges, initiation rituals and the like but the details of what he got up to is unclear, reliable sources of info being hard to come by. Some of the Misraim content is said to inform current Anthroposophy Society rituals and ‘performances’. Here’s a quote from the UK Misraim website
“small elements of the Steiner Misraim Rite can also be found in Steiner’s Four Mystery Dramas, which are still performed by Eurythmists: (I) The Portal of Initiation [1910], (II) The Trial of the Soul [1911], (III) The Guardian of the Threshold [1912] and (IV) The Soul’s Awakening [1913]”
If you would like to verify or add anything to this then why not chip in to the PLANS discussion. Steiner critics, neutrals and Anthroposophists, whatever you are all are welcome, so long as you behave respectfully.


The Raphael Medical group of companies won’t be known to many of you but they were until very recently a successful multi-million health and care operation controlled by neurosurgeon Dr Gerhard Ulrich Florschutz and (I presume) his wife, Elizabeth Florschutz. I say were recently successful because the Raphael group has been put into administration, it’s being wound up as it couldn’t pay its creditors. I’ve been taking a keen interest in the group as it operates at least one explicitly Anthroposophical entity, a hospital no less. Called the Raphael Medical Centre, it is a private hospital specialising in neurological conditions, diseases, and rehabilitation. The Raphael companies will continue to operate under new management but I wonder if the Medical Centre will retain its Anthroposophic underpinnings. It’s unclear if there was any financial wrongdoing at Raphael or if its closure is down to ineptitude or some other perfectly innocent reason. The administrators are currently investigating and will report in due course. I’ll keep you informed. Meanwhile, having left the Raphael group to be replaced by the creditors/administrators on May 1st, 2019, Gerhard Florschutz maintains his connections with hardcore Anthroposophy and is, for example, currently a trustee of the Peredur Centre, a charity with a long history of associations with Eurythmy performance and training.


My research into the UK Anthroposophy movement’s charities and businesses is trundling along. I’m currently double-checking a batch of logged organisations before moving on to network visualisations of the movement. There are around 50 orgs left to examine before we get to that stage. Just over 300 organisations are recorded to date, 186 of these are active and another 15 or so are dormant or near-death orgs, the others are ceased, dissolved or in administration. About 1300 individuals are actively running these orgs as trustees or directors or by performing both roles. The financial cost of undertaking the research is negligible these days because near all the data used can be gotten for free. Now you can all have a go, easy! Majorly good additions to the free data sources are businesses registered at Companies House which now covers all of the UK and includes recently dissolved companies too. The Mutuals Register is now freely accessible online. This enables us to acquire data on credit unions, community benefit societies and other ‘social’ oriented businesses, something that wasn’t possible ten years ago.


One of the success stories in the UK Anthroposophy scene over the past ten years has been the rise and rise of Ruskin Mill Ltd and its associated organisations in England an Wales. Ruskin is very much an education cum social care player in an Anthroposophical sector dominated by Camphill’s ‘curative education’ and its specialist Steiner ed schools. Ruskin’s alternative to this is a novel form of therapeutic supportive education dubbed Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (PSTE), an Anthroposophically derived method of supported learning of traditional craft skills. This would be fine if PSTE only constrained itself to John Ruskin’s anti-industrial/capitalism, pro environmentalist stance and William Morris’ Arts and Crafts movement as Ruskin Mill’s acknowledged inspirations. Unfortunately these fine ideals are tethered to Anthroposophy – PTSE is framed and underpinned by Anthroposophy and the people it educates and helps will be viewed through a Steinerian lens. Not that this has hampered Ruskin’s onward march, the recently formed Seol Trust is Ruskin’s first venture in Scotland, Camphill’s heartland.


Hmmm…things don’t look good for Wynstones. It used to be home to one of the few Steiner teacher training programmes in the country, but I’ve just come across this announcement – dated May 2021- that the programme from this year (not ‘for this year’) will be taught at the Ringwood Steiner school. Sounds as if the entire Wynstones site has been mothballed then, ready for sale perhaps? Probably not, given the significance the site has for Steiner acolytes. Maybe it’ll morph into a college instead, or a university, the Anthros have for a long time wanted their own university here in UK.


And that’s it for this Odds & Sods. Here’s wishing you all a safe, peaceful, languid Summer.


  1. Margaret Sachs Margaret Sachs August 1, 2021

    Thanks for these odds and sods. While reading the paragraph about the Raphael Medical Group, which I presumed was solely a British entity, I suddenly remembered having long ago ordered some expensive but useless so-called medicine from a mail-order pharmacy with that name here in the US. I googled “Raphael Pharmacy, California.” I got only one hit: Yelp, a site where people can post reviews of all sorts of businesses. Good news! A banner at the top of Yelp’s Raphael Pharmacy page reads, “Yelpers report this location has closed.”

  2. ukanthroposophy ukanthroposophy Post author | August 2, 2021

    Thanks for your kind words Margaret:)

    Well if the Raphael you tracked down was the one selling quack medicine yeah, good riddance to bad rubbish. Though as Raphael is a name used in all kinds of innocent enterprises we’d need to have some documentation to be sure it was an Anthopos business…if I find time I’ll see what I can fish out for you. Also while I’m here, thanks for the retweet btw, it does bring a few visitors to the blog and it all helps!

  3. Margaret Sachs Margaret Sachs June 13, 2023

    It was an Anthroposophic pharmacy, filling a prescription from an Anthroposophic doctor.

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