About Our School

ALFA Steiner Secondary School was founded in 2001 as The ALFA Project - Active Learning For Adolescents. Today in its new permanent site our school provides an inspiring alternative to the mainstream secondary model.


ALFA Steiner Secondary School provides a full-time, progressive education for 12 to 17-year-olds in East Clare. This is one of very few settings in Ireland to provide a radical alternative to the mainstream Junior Cycle.

A team of experienced teachers, tutors and artisans offers an authentic, project-based learning programme that develops the hands, hearts and head of our students. They develop key 21st century skills such as collaboration, communication, problem-solving and critical thinking.

Students and teachers show what makes our school special for them.

ALFA's History

2000 ― A group of parents from a variety of backgrounds meet to discuss the possibility of an alternative approach to secondary education for their children.  The group carries out research on different approaches to education from around the world.  After 20 months of weekly meetings, The ALFA Project was launched.

2001 - 2002 ― In a log cabin with no electricity or running water, ALFA opens its doors to a group of 12 students. Modernising the school provides the perfect opportunity for authentic learning and during the first two years. Students are able to apply book knowledge from core subjects to help transform the rudimentary log cabin into a modern school house. Students built a windmill to provide electricity and devised a ram pump to deliver water to the cabin.

2002 ― The founding group of parents and supporters become the sponsors and directors of the limited company, Ard Aoibhinn Community Initiatives Ltd. The company, which has charitable status, supports groups that work in innovative ways for the greater good of the East Clare community. Currently, Ard Aoibhinn supports ALFA, Fishbowl Youth Club and Camphill Community Mountshannon.. Each group is represented by Directors on the board of Ard Aoibhinn. 

2010 ― The ALFA Project and Raheen Wood Steiner National School form a partnership to create a strong foundation for Steiner Secondary Education. The first phase of ALFA's building plan is set in motion.

2013 ― The ALFA community erect the first classroom on their new woodland site at Raheen Wood.

2015 ― A generous donation from Software AG Stiftung is announced providing the funds to build a second classroom. A campaign to raise an additional €10,000 in matching funds is successful, and the new room opens in September 2016. 

2022 ― ALFA Celebrates it's 21st birthday with students past, present and the wider community.

The original cabin in the woods - Mountshannon, County Clare