top of page


Non-government schools in Australia have options as to how they are run. To see the government regulations regarding the governance of non-government schools in NSW, click here. It is evident that no school is legally obliged to have a principal (chief executive officer) and that one person can act on behalf of all teachers to discharge legal obligations (this person may for practical reasons be called the principal or administrator. 

For more on this point click here).

Whether Steiner schools are set up as a trust or as a charitable

company (which they normally are in Australia), there is considerable flexibility as to how the governance structure is organised. There is no necessity for a company to be structured using a corporate model with its hierarchical power arrangements. A school is primarily an organ of the cultural-spiritual sphere of the threefold social order, and not a business (that is, it doesn't belong primarily to the economic sphere).


This means that the company or trust (which is the school proprietor) can be set up to reflect in every way the threefold ordering of school life and the significance and place of the economic sphere within that. Thereby the trustees or board of directors can work with the cultural/spiritual sphere and the legal/administrative sphere on the basis of shared responsibility and collaboration with the college of teachers and the parent community, not from the point of view of being the highest authority in the school structure.

A fundamental task of school governance is to consider each issue or task which arises in the life of the school and to determine which of the three spheres it primarily belongs to and how each issue or task involves a balancing of the ideals of freedom, equality and fraternity. An example is teacher evaluation; click here. For more on this point, click here.

If the threefold governance arrangements are detailed in the 

company constitution or other governance documents then an 

anchor point can be established for times of crisis from which 

creative solutions can be found. Click here for an example of a 

relevant governance document.

School governance.
Teachers and parents are jointly responsible for the Waldorf/Rudolf Steiner school. They organise and structure it in accordance with their common intentions. . . Managing the school means always having a clear awareness of the task and mission of the Waldorf school and to continue working on it. This is only possible through the joint study of the anthroposophical foundations of this system of education. The governance of the school is therefore based in the unifying spirit of the Waldorf school which comes about when colleagues and parents work on the foundations.

The school community. Coexistence.

. . .  Everyone involved can together develop important non-hierarchical forms of collaboration. In this context transparency and clarity (instead of personal and institutional power) are aspired to in all processes of school governance as well as in the decision-making.

From: "Key Characteristics of Waldorf Education",  International Forum For Steiner/Waldorf Education (owners of the legal rights to the name "Steiner education" and "Waldorf education"). Click here



Steiner Education Centenary Revival

A booklet of specially selected excerpts from Rudolf Steiner's thoughts on education and the threefold social order. All proceeds are donations to the Education for Social Renewal Foundation. Click here to make an order. 

bottom of page