A SCHOOL based in an idyllic part of the North York Moors is set to celebrate its 60th anniversary - and is hoping to track down as many of its past pupils as possible for a big reunion.

The Moorland Waldorf - formerly known as the Botton Village Steiner School - has sat nestled in the idyllic setting of Botton Village, near Danby, since 1960.

In the decades since, at least 600 children have been educated at the school.

But the story goes back slightly further, to 1955, to the founding of Botton Village itself.

The village was first founded to provide opportunities for adults with learning disabilities to live and work in a community setting. The settlement contained houses and a range of community buildings.

The school was founded to educate the children whose families were co-workers in the village. Over the intervening years it has changed in many ways, with fluctuations in the number of pupils being educated there.

Now, the pupils are set to look into the history of their school as part of a new campaign.

The ‘600 for 60’ campaign will see Moorland Waldorf celebrating the life and achievements of the Botton Steiner School in an online campaign to try to find as many former Botton pupils and staff as possible.

At least 600 children have been through the doors since the school opened in 1960, and the goal is to find them and connect with as many as possible.

The children currently at Moorland Waldorf will be spearheading this “600 for 60” campaign and leading the search for their predecessors.

Linda Parker, chairman of the trustees, said: “Our ex-pupils now live around the world and are engaged in all kinds of activities and careers – politics, music, medicine, marketing, the digital creative industries.

“Some have made the journey back to the village and support today’s disabled villagers.”

The aim of the campaign is to bring as many old pupils as possible together for a big reunion in the village in 2020, to celebrate its history and to inspire today’s children.

Back in 1960, when Botton Village School began, there was just one teacher and eight pupils, all in one class, whose families were co-workers in the village. The school started life around a kitchen table.

But as the village expanded, so the school grew quickly, soon taking both day pupils and boarders. Within ten years there were 30 students in two classes with purpose-built huts as classrooms.

Over the next 30 years it continued to grow. By the late 1970s there were almost 50 children in the school and 75 by 1990 when Botton Village College opened.

It had large purpose-built facilities which were suitable for use by both children and adults.

By then the school had three full-time teachers, with a thriving kindergarten and pupils’ ages ranged from three to 14.

By 1998 the school was in its heyday, and had 90 children.

But times change.

Botton Village is still a home for adults with learning disabilities. Fewer live in family settings, although a number of “shared lives” houses do remain.

Much-publicised legal wranglings over recent years - now resolved - have resulted in a change in how parts of the village community are run.

More recently a new Steiner-Waldorf school, called Moorland Waldorf, has been launched, which has replaced the original Botton Village School.

Waldorf education, also known as Steiner education, is based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner.

The first Waldorf school opened in 1919 in Stuttgart, Germany. It is an educational philosophy which aims to develop students’ intellectual, artistic, and practical skills, with the cultivation of their imagination and creativity being a central focus.

Nowadays, as the number of families living in Botton Village has declined, Moorland Waldorf describes itself as a small - but still just as vibrant - school once again.

If you are a former pupil or staff member of the school you can get in touch by emailing info@moorlandwaldorf.org