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Dr Phil Wright
Earth Sciences, English & Mathematics Teacher and Upper School
After studying geography at Exeter University and LSE, I travelled through Asia and the Middle-East before taking a PGCE at Keele University. After three years teaching A-levels at an inner-city sixth-form college in Birmingham I embarked on further travels through India and South-East Asia. On return, in 1994, I volunteered as a co-worker at Delrow Camphill Community and began to study the work of Rudolf Steiner. This eventually led me to train as a Steiner teacher at Plymouth University, followed by class teaching at Brighton Steiner School. I then taught as a peripatetic teacher in the upper schools at Wynstones and Kings Langley, and then at Bristol Steiner School where I taught maths, English and Earth Sciences for 8 years.
I have an active interest in the Steiner curriculum, including a research PhD in Steiner education from Bristol University. My main subject interests are geography, ecology, philosophy, religion and research. I also have a strong interest in Eastern philosophy and meditation. My motivation for teaching is to encourage students to think freely, see the world and follow their own muse.
Games & Movement Teacher
After studying BSc (h) in Sports and Exercise Rehabilitation, I joined HM forces for some ten years. I then joined Exeter City football club as a Sports Rehabilitation Therapist for a period of 2 years, after which I set up a private clinic in Totnes. I hold a Foundation Degree in Exercise and Fitness Science in addition to my initial degree and I have continued to expand my knowledge by undertaking many additional qualifications including FA Emergency Trauma Level 2, Level 4 Sports Massage/Soft Tissue Practitioner, VTCT, GP Referral Consultant, The Wright Foundation and NVQ II (CYQ) Gym Instructor and Exercise and Fitness Knowledge.
I am currently studying Bothmer Movement. (Bothmer gymnastics formed the basis of the curriculum of the first Steiner Waldorf School in Stuttgart. The exercises trace, enhance and strengthen the developing consciousness of the growing person through the various stages of development). It is this course which has inspired me most deeply in my teaching journey. During the course we learn many games to play with specific age groups and a philosophy of movement as a way of life.
I have been a parent at South Devon Steiner School for around a decade and so, when the opportunity arose to become a teacher of Games, it felt like an exciting and natural next step in my career; I knew I had a lot to offer the students. I have played Rugby for most of my life, boxed and played many other sports within the forces; Sports and Movement have been a hugely positive part of my life and something I am passionate about. This background gives me the confidence to help students improve on a technical level, alongside developing their understanding of movement, anatomy and variations on games.
I grew up in Devon by the sea and studied mathematics, philosophy and cosmology at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. After training to teach English as a foreign language and enjoying a couple of summer jobs I decided to train as a school teacher. My PGCE was in middle school education with a specialism in Mathematics. I then taught mathematics and science in a middle school in Northumberland and then in a British school in Barcelona.
Returning to the UK I began teaching mathematics in a special needs secondary school in Hackney, London. Whilst working there I came to realise the disconnection between the national curriculum that I was employed to deliver and the actual needs of the students I was teaching. I felt I was doing them a disservice. At that time I was also studying a post-graduate diploma in philosophy of education at the Institute of Education and, through writing about authenticity in education and examining a number of alternative educational styles, I became interested in Steiner education.
Once my children were born I visited a number of Steiner schools in London and signed them up for Greenwich. For several years then, whilst watching them blossom at school, I taught Philosophy and Mathematics in a local sixth form college. Although I loved my subjects and students I became more and more disillusioned by the values of the institution and the structure and purpose of the examinations. Eventually it became clear that I needed to train to be a Steiner teacher and I took the teacher training course at Steiner House in Baker Street.
In looking for my first job in Steiner education I was very excited to see that South Devon was not only expanding its upper school but also using the innovative Certificate in Steiner Education that I had heard about in my training. This seemed a fantastic opportunity to put into practise my faith in this holistic and opening form of education and I brought my family down to South Devon.
At South Devon Steiner School, the Upper School staff share a deep commitment to teaching and a genuine interest in guiding you on a path of academic achievement and self-discovery.
Teachers encourage you to think independently by developing skill in making judgements and inferences based on what you have observed or experienced. They challenged you to stretch your imagination and develop new perspectives.
Our teachers are notable for more than their commitment and compassion. As specialists in their subject areas, most hold advanced degrees and some have PhDs.
Many are active in their fields and bring years of experience to the classroom. Teachers here don’t simply teach from textbooks, but rather draw from their expertise and enthusiasm to make a subject come to life for you.
You and your teachers also have the benefit of working together for more than one class. Most instructors teach multiple classes and levels. Mutual respect naturally develops when you and your teachers share a journey of learning throughout all four years.