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Community Life


We love to read testimonials from current parents, former parents, and former pupils and hear how The Iona School has changed their lives. 

Share your experiences 



April 2024 (Family in their 2nd Year) 

The initial tour of the school was positive to the point my son really wanted to come. Both children were excited and loved the atmosphere and the set-up of the classrooms, and to be fair, as a parent, it ticked all the boxes. I loved the ethos of no computers, given the link to addictive tendencies in children who are neurodiverse of screens used to avoid dealing with others; this removes the option which allows them more opportunities to work on those relationship difficulties with support from teachers if they are eager to look at how to support the children in a compassionate understanding manner. 

I loved the classroom set ups as did both my children in the visit. The wooden chairs and desks, the blackboard, the plants, crystals, art work on the blackboard really stood out, the old spinning wheels, wooden knitting needles made by children themselves. 

However, once the transition period was helpful for my daughter, and once the class was sorted, it had a positive effect on her well-being. I noticed on her first report card the colour in her work changed dramatically, her writing, drawing so full of colour, the pictures of her in a tree, smile on her face. I so appreciated how personal it was. But Definitely, the first clue to her happiness and change from the mainstream setting was how colourful her artwork was in comparison to what she produced in mainstream school. 

My daughter's education hasn’t been fully focused on academics but more on her creative intelligence. The reduction in stress from expectations linked to academics, the ability to move and especially access to the land. Has all meant so much to her and had positive effect on her wellbeing. 

She loves handwork and looks forward to those classes the most. The approach of the school is Holistic; the educational approach is more suited to her special educational needs, interests and passions, which mainstream schools were suffocating. She isn’t school-avoiding. 

Her need to move is easily incorporated into the day so doesn’t create a sense of difference or shame. How school supports her extracurricular activities and celebrates her achievements means a lot to her. She is always keen to go in and share her success. 


March 2024 (Pupil update)

I just wanted to let you know that our child has had a second fabulous school report and is making great progress. He is now working a year ahead of expectations in 5 subjects ( Maths, music, French, Spanish and PE) and meeting all expectations in the others. His attitude to learning scores have all been excellent or very good as well. We couldn’t have hoped for better! 

Clearly, all the effort that you put in is paying dividends, and we have no doubt that his time at Iona built firm foundations for this next chapter. Thank you! 


March 2024 (Recently enrolled family) 

The open morning and enrolment process:

Initial communication and enquiries with the Iona Team were friendly, professional and prompt. The open morning was highly valuable, well-organised and thorough, and it was pivotal to our decision-making around moving our children to Iona. Observing lessons and having a one-to-one meeting with the teacher helped us understand the ethos of the school, the staff, the children and the facilities. The option to have a trial period was also highly helpful as this enabled our children to experience the environment for themselves before we made a family decision, which was important to us.

Enrolment was straightforward, and the Iona Team were responsive and supportive throughout the process.

How have you been welcomed by the other parents and staff?

The staff have been kind, approachable and professional in their welcome to us as a family. They have displayed good insight and understanding of our children, even though they have only been with the school for a few months, which I feel is a key difference between Iona and their previous school.

 The other families have been warm, welcoming, and supportive. There is a strong sense of togetherness and a willingness to do things collectively for the best interests of the school and families. It genuinely feels like a positive community to be part of, with opportunities to get involved in activities and events so you can contribute as you are able.

How has our education helped your children?

Our family has only recently joined the school, but we have already seen significant improvements in their interest and enthusiasm for learning. They are coming home excited to sing us songs, read independently, explain what they have been making with their class and absolutely love going out on the land. In the first 2 weeks, one of my daughters said that she found the lessons ‘really easy’ at Iona but then followed it up with ‘actually, it’s really easy to learn’, which I felt summed up how the educational approach taps into their natural curiousness and enquiry, and learning is at an appropriate pace. We have seen clear improvements in their level of reading, spelling and timetables since they have been learning them through song and a non-tested, less pressurised environment. 

What changes have you seen in your children and as a whole family? 

There have been significant changes in the anxiety levels and sleep patterns of both my daughters since we started at Iona, and this was evident from just the first week, which I was surprised by. This has had a big impact on us as a family and helped us break a cycle of imparting stress between ourselves. Previously, we had significant issues with my daughters going into school, and now they go in independently without the need for them to be supported physically when going into class, which is a great improvement to the start of the day. I also see my daughters getting on better together, using more imaginative play and have an increased interest in the outdoors, which has helped improve the family dynamics.

 Any other comments 

We initially thought that moving schools would be one of the hardest decisions we would have to make as a family, but once we had met the team, teachers, and families, it turned out to be a straightforward and easy decision due to the swift and positive impact it has had on our family.


2017 - 2023

As a family of academics, it is important for us that our children are independent thinkers, have long concentration spans and enjoy life-long learning.  We sincerely hope that our children develop into happy, caring and responsible human beings.  I already knew about Steiner/Waldorf education from growing up in Austria.  Our daughter was in the local community nursery and school from a young age, but we realised that we wanted a Steiner/Waldorf and European educational approach for our son and found Iona Nursery and Kindergarten.  We could see the way our son developed into a content, caring and confident person and moved our daughter to The Iona School in Autumn 2011.

Since starting school in September, our daughter has become a happier person and with this our family life has improved considerably.  She beams and does not need anymore as many plasters for injuries, due to being more balanced and one with nature.  She has school friends who play games for their age group and do not need to behave like mini-adults.  Like our daughter, her friends are creative, bright and happy.  Academically, we are sure that a consistent logical approach in the main lessons helps to have long concentration spans which are one of the things standing out in Steiner education in comparison to state schools.  It is fascinating to watch this in school performances, with theatre plays and songs lasting well beyond and with a higher quality to what we have experienced before.

Albert Einstein: The aim of education must be the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, can see in the service to the community their highest life achievement.

Overall, it seems that this education is able to bring up children who are happy, bright and resilient for life. We are now much happier that we know that our children will be able to deal with the challenges of life and to respond to them with grace, logic, heart and empathy.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————Deciding to commit to being part of The Iona School was easy once we heard some ex pupils say that the thing they remember about Iona was that it gave them a real childhood.  If I was convinced by that then seeing both my daughters go through the Nursery, Kindergarten and Main School has filled our family life with a greater appreciation of learning, both academically, emotionally and socially.  They are able to question and debate with their peers and adults alike.  They are stronger individuals for being given the space and respect to adapt and respond to various challenges in all aspects of classroom teaching and learning.  As a family we all value and have great faith in the journey we have all undertaken and continually appreciate the wealth of knowledge and expertise that the teaching staff as a whole share so freely.


Iona was the only real choice of school for our son Gabriel.  We wanted him to experience a learning and loving environment without any imposed pressure for teachers to meet targets and other government-driven criteria.  Iona will nurture his love of learning, creativity, and wonder of the world around him.  The fact that parents are also full members of the school community means that we all, in a way, are going through the school together.  All schools should be like this.


Our five year old son started his Steiner education at The Iona School approximately a year ago at the age of four.  As parents we have noticed a huge transformation in him.  In such a short space of time he is now showing some invaluable life skills.  Our son will now spend hours using his imagination, he’s happy to play with sticks and stones, no more computers or expensive toys are needed or wanted.  We’ve noticed a deep sense of contentment, ease, calm and happiness within him, which has brought out another level of his confidence and most importantly has enabled him to be happy just being.  We’ve also noticed him becoming more self reliant and independent.

Steiner education really does do what it says, it reaches the essence of a child.  We feel the deep enthusiasm and love he has for the school will enable him to flourish academically as well as on a personal level.  As parents Iona has given us great support and has filled us with ease, happiness and confidence about our son’s schooling.  We have learnt that Steiner education deeply instils great fundamental life skills within children that not only serves them with their education but also serves them for life.

Before starting at Iona our son went to a mainstream nursery for three years, within this time he was generally unhappy to go and quite unconfident and quiet when there.  At home he generally liked a lot of entertaining and was quite demanding and needy.  We now have a different child, who asks in the school holidays if he can go to school!

The best way for us to explain our son’s transition from mainstream nursery to The Iona School was his first day when we asked him, “Did you like it?”, he replied “It’s the best place in the whole world, I loved it more than Nana Bic’s”. (Away from home, Nana Bic’s has always been his most favourite place to stay).  When asked what it is that we love most about The Iona School, we would say, we love the whole experience.  What the Iona School is doing for children and families is something exceptionally special and priceless; we highly recommend it to any parent.


My son has been at The Iona School since joining the nursery at two and a half.  Now he is almost ten.  I see a real blossoming in all areas of my child’s life: emotional, physical, academic and to see how keen he is to get there every morning is enough to make me a very happy parent!


Our original intention wasn’t for our son to stay at Iona all the way up to age 11.  We had ‘stumbled upon’ the nursery when he was 2, transferred to the kindergarten at 3, and by the time he was due to start at our local infant school we were hooked!  There is something special that happens at this school that you simply wouldn’t find elsewhere…. We love the fact that the child’s early ‘green shoots’ of academic readiness at age 5 aren’t mistaken for true readiness, and that the children are given those precious extra years to play.  Once formal tuition starts at ‘rising 7’, though, it is amazing what rapid progress the children make – because they are truly ready.  Our son is now 9 and has more than caught up with his peers at other schools in terms of reading ability.  He has a passion for books that has not been dimmed by any early experience of being pressurised to read, an innate understanding of numbers and mathematics, and he has been ‘rounded out’ by receiving skilled tuition in subjects that we wouldn’t necessarily have expected him to have a natural  propensity for – e.g. drama, painting, music, and handwork.  The school expects a lot of their pupils (contrary to some perceptions of Steiner education) but they achieve this with a respect for the nature of the child and, importantly, the needs of the individual child.  As parents we have found that the community of the school is friendly and supportive, and having children at Iona ( – our youngest child has now started at the school too!) has been a journey for all of us.  We have probably benefited as much as our children have!  We have learned so much during our time at the school, and are eternally grateful for the insights and experience that the staff have shared with us.


We have two children at The Iona School and as far as we are concerned there is no better place for them (why wasn’t it there when we were young)!  Their needs are so well met in every way; by the teachers; the educational philosophy; the kindness of all the staff; the warm, vibrant classrooms filled with all that they need.  Both of our children are supported in their own educational development, but also in their own personal development, helping them to become the fully rounded people that they are.

The community aspect of the school brings together staff, parents and pupils.  This is most obvious perhaps on Land Days and festivals – we really don’t like to miss them!


We have two sons at The Iona School, one in the nursery and one in the kindergarten.  We are incredibly pleased with the holistic and nurturing environment for growth that the school provides for our children.  In both the nursery and the kindergarten there are lots of beautiful natural objects, such as pine cones and wooden toys.  Our eldest son is encouraged to find his own way through the gift of learning through play.  It is wonderful to watch how he is developing confidence in himself and a strong ability to work cooperatively with other children.  Thank you to all of school staff for providing such good quality of care and support.


We see The Iona School as an environment which allows our child to become herself, grow at a natural pace and truly learn to respect others.  She progresses without being squeezed into a competitive mould.  The school also manifests a true community spirit in which parents are invited to play a key role.


Our story begins with our child, lovingly raised, who started state school aged 4 years.  Within about six weeks of starting we saw changes in him.  He went from being a calm considerate boy to angry, depressed, hating school and quite clearly telling us that he didn’t want to go to this school.  We listened…. and started our journey with The Iona School.  Within weeks we had our happy son back, and even now years later he tells us how the first school was silly to expect four years olds to enjoy reading!  Our children loved this school and quite often we hear them sing the songs they learnt there, spontaneously, with real joy at the top of their voices. Really happy times.


I am always so pleased that we took the decision not to educate our children in mainstream school for their primary years.  I always believed in Steiner education 100%.  Even though we were not able to continue their education within the Steiner system, the start they had there has always helped them in mainstream school.  I have often been asked by teachers ‘what is my secret?’  They are all nice, rounded, good at listening, helpful, kind and well-grounded kids.  The ‘secret’ is Steiner schooling and its whole community!

Thank you, Iona, for the care, support and education you gave our whole family.


I think the approach of The Iona School encourages children to develop better self-control, good analytic skills and independent thinking.  This has been supported by research from Oxford University that looked at ways of teaching children.  My children have all subsequently done very well in mainstream school.

I am very grateful for the education that my children received at The Iona School and believe it gives children a fantastic foundation for life that stays with them always.


“Post Graduate Steiner students are hard-working; self-aware and thus stable in their interests” quotes Professor Marie Harder

“I have come across Steiner students many times while a Professor at the University of Brighton, and always enjoyed their robustness and perseverance in their work. But now that I am working in China, I am actually acutely aware of the value of the special characteristics that Steiner students bring: grounded in themselves and thus robust to external drivers; hard-working; self-aware and thus stable in their interests; wanting to be of service to humanity generally. These are characteristics that allow students to get the utmost out of opportunities in China and research, and to contribute to both.”



Professor Marie Harder, Professor of Sustainable Waste Management, University of Brighton, and National China Thousand Talents Professor, Department of Environmental Science & Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Contact Us

The Iona School
310 Sneinton Dale

0115 941 5295