While in the pioneering or small school the teachers largely run the school and make most of the decisions, in the differentiated school individuals or groups take on specialised roles and functions.
The question is: has the school consciously differentiated itself according to its underlying archetypal threefold form? Threefolding is not a structure or system imposed on an institution. The task is to understand in a living, dynamic way the threefold nature of the social organism and out of that understanding to create the organisation.
In a differentiated school the three spheres are clearly distinguished in the school structure - the cultural-spiritual, the economic and the legal-rights. The three spheres are emancipated from each other but are intimately related in the overall functioning of the school.
In general terms, in the differentiated school organism we have:
● the decision-making College which is fully responsible for the cultural and spiritual aspect of the school, meaning everything connected with the pedagogical work. The College can be a sub-set of the whole teaching faculty and can have a defined term of office. The College can mandate groups to carry out specific tasks. Because a school belongs to the cultural-spiritual sphere of society, this is the primary sphere in the school microcosm. The College is the heart and meaning of the school and the other two spheres serve it.
● The school's Administration which is responsible for the legal (rights sphere) aspects of operation. It is generally accepted in Australian Steiner schools that a single person is required to focus public relations (dealing with questions of fairness) and as a functionary in terms of the legal relationship with the government. It doesn't matter if this person is called "administrator" or "principal" - the main thing is that in actual practice he or she is not an all-controlling figure in the manner of a CEO in a corporate structure. This person has a leadership function only in relation to the legal-rights sphere.
● The economic or "brotherhood" sphere which is mainly the responsibility of the Trustee Group or Board with input from the Administration and the College in order to serve the pedagogical impulse. The Trustees or Board may be composed of parents and Faculty.
Each school may be unique in the way it develops itself in a threefold way. However no school needs to think they have to start from square one on this journey. Much work has already been done in this direction and much experience gained, of both the pitfalls and the possibilities. Click here to see an example of a carefully thought out threefold structuring of a differentiated Rudolf Steiner school.
“. . . the most important impulses of humanity have been tending unconsciously in the direction of [the] threefold membering for centuries, only they have never gained sufficient force to carry it through . . . the work must now be taken in hand for which preparation has been made
for centuries; the work of bringing order into the social organism”. Rudolf Steiner, The Social Future.