Michael Hall (school)

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Michael Hall
Priory Road

, ,
RH18 5JA

Coordinates 51°05′29″N0°01′28″E / 51.0915°N 0.0244°E / 51.0915; 0.0244 Coordinates: 51°05′29″N0°01′28″E / 51.0915°N 0.0244°E / 51.0915; 0.0244
Type Independent
Established1925 (1925)
FounderDaphne Olivier, Cecil Harwood amongst others
Department for Education URN 114625 Tables
Head teacherCollege of Teachers
Gender Co-educational
Age3to 18

Michael Hall is an independent Steiner Waldorf school in Kidbrooke Park on the edge of Ashdown Forest in East Sussex. Founded in 1925, it is the oldest Steiner school in Britain, it has an enrolment of over 500 students aged between three (Kindergarten) and eighteen (6th Form).


Predominantly a day school, boarding is arranged with families of children at the school. It offers a broad education to boys and girls from pre-school to university entrance, based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner. The curriculum embodies cultural studies, sciences, general arts and humanities, crafts, music and movement and foreign languages. EFL is available in term time. The school explains its educational ethos, curriculum and approach to prospective parents at open mornings. A range of sports, games and extra-curricular activities is offered. Entrance is non-selective and no streaming; for sixth-form entry an interview and GCSE grade C (preferably higher) in sixth-form subjects. [1] [2]


The school was founded by a group of five people on the initiative of Daphne Olivier after she had attended one of Rudolf Steiner's educational conferences in Stuttgart in 1923. [3] She approached Rudolf Steiner, asking for his support in founding the first Waldorf school in the English-speaking world. As she was speaking on behalf of three other women, Steiner asked if they could not include a suitable male teacher. This prompted Daphne to recommend her friend and future husband, Cecil Harwood, who met Rudolf Steiner in this manner for the first time and remained connected to the school for the rest of his life. It was founded in South London and named "The New School", until moving to Kidbrooke Park in Forest Row after World War II, whereupon it took on the name Michael Hall. [4] [5]

In November 2014 a book titled "A Good School" was published by Blue Filter [6] documenting the first ninety years of the school's history. With an original manuscript by Joy Mansfield and edited by Brien Masters and Stephen Sheen, the book provides an overview of the school from its beginnings in Streatham to its current home in the Sussex countryside. [7] [8]

Kidbrooke Park

Michael Hall - Rudolph Steiner School at Forest Row - geograph.org.uk - 21220.jpg

Kidbrooke Park is a grade II* listed house built for the Earl of Abergavenny at the time when Eridge Castle was in ruins and occupied by the Nevills until 1825. [9] [10] Date of construction is 1735 and stands on 60 acres of parkland landscaped by the landscape architect Humphry Repton, which is separately listed at grade II. [11]

A number of its facilities are available for hire including the reception hall (The Great Hall), The Long Room, The Round Room, The Terrace Room and The Oak Panelled Room for weddings, conferences, parties, film shoots and memorials. There is a theatre seating 450 persons, an expansive and modern gym and additional lecture studio capable of seating 80 people.

Former students

There is an association of former students run by the school's administration. Former students include:

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  1. Michael Hall – Guide to Independent Schools retrieved 2014.10.09
  2. Michael Hall – The Good Schools Guide.
  3. Owen Barfield: Romanticism Comes of Age : A Biography – Simon Blaxland-de Lange. Temple Lodge Publishing 2006 P.91
  4. A.C. Harwood, Article in Forschungsstelle Kulturimpuls
  5. C. S. Lewis, My Godfather: Letters, Photos and Recollections by Laurence Harwood, IVP Books 2007 ISBN   978-0830834983 P. 42
  6. "A Good School". Blue Filter. Blue Filter.
  7. New book details the history of a remarkable Sussex School
  8. "A Good School" in the East Grinstead Courier newspaper.
  9. British Listed Buildings reference: TQ4186834404
  10. Historic England. "Kidbrooke Park Michael Hall Rudolf Steiner School (1028377)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  11. Historic England. "Kidbrooke Park (1000305)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 6 July 2018.Includes detailed description and history of house, gardens and park