Education Secretary challenged over 'downgrading' of Christian school
The Chair of Governors of a small Christian school that was told by Ofsted inspectors that it should bring in leaders of other faiths, such as an Imam, to take lessons and collective worship, has written to the Education Secretary raising his concerns.
'Our Christian foundation'
In his letter, John Charles writes: "It is an explicit aim of ours to encourage pupils to serve and respect other people, appreciate different cultures and ideas and equip them for life in society. But the comments made by Ofsted, as a result of the new regulations, undermine our aims and would prevent us from teaching in accordance with our Christian foundation."
'Life in modern Britain'
Responding to media interest in the story, a spokeswoman for Ofsted said:
"The independent school standards are set by the Department for Education. Inspectors must check that independent schools follow these.The standards have been strengthened since this school was previously inspected in November 2013. One of Her Majesty’s Inspectors visited the school at the request of the Department for Education and found it had further work to do to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain."
The matter was also raised in Parliament this week. David Burrowes MP (pictured) addressed his concerns to the Education Secretary, saying: "There are reports that Ofsted is demanding that a Christian school invites an imam to take collective worship and that Jewish schoolchildren have been asked intrusive questions about their views on sexuality. Does that really promote British values?”
But Nicky Morgan simply responded, "I thank my honourable Friend. That is clearly a matter for Ofsted and it is investigating exactly what was said to the school. I think we would all agree that the fundamental British values of respect, democracy and tolerance are shared by all schools and all people of all faiths."
Concerns have also been raised about the behaviour of Inspectors in Orthodox Jewish schools, with girls reportedly being asked whether they had boyfriends, knew about same-sex marriage and used social media.
Related stories from Christian Concern:
Christian school 'downgraded' because of worship
Trojan Horse Bill would stop help for people 'choosing' identity
'Trojan Horse' code of conduct shelved
Read more here (Telegraph)