Private faith schools are resisting British values, says Ofsted chief | The Guardian

Significant report and issue:

Private faith schools run by religious conservatives are “deliberately resisting” British values and equalities law, according to the chief inspector of schools in England, who appealed for school inspectors to be given new powers to seize evidence during visits.

Source: Ofsted

Amanda Spielman, the head of Ofsted, listed a string of disturbing policies and literature used by private faith schools, detailed in the school inspectorate’s annual report published on Wednesday.

“We have found texts that encourage domestic violence and the subjugation of women. We have found schools in which there is a flat refusal to acknowledge the existence of people who are different, so for example lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

“We also find well-meaning school leaders and governors who naively turn to religious institutions of a particularly conservative bent for advice about religious practice, not realising when this advice does not reflect mainstream thinking,” Spielman said at the report’s launch.

The chief inspector – who took over running the watchdog from Sir Michael Wilshaw at the start of the year – said the discoveries made for uncomfortable reading, denying it amounted to criticism of faith schools in general.

“When I see books in schools entitled Women Who Deserve to Go to Hell; children being educated in dank, squalid, conditions; children being taught solely religious texts at the expense of learning basic English and mathematics, I cannot let it be ignored,” said Spielman, who argued that inspectors should be able to remove such texts from school libraries.

The Ofsted report detailed its recent inspections of private faith schools, with 26% rated inadequate and 22% as requiring improvement – Ofsted’s two lowest categories.

Of the 140 small Muslim private schools inspected by Ofsted in the year, 28% were graded as inadequate, along with 38% of Jewish private schools and 18% of Christian schools.

Spielman had praise for the bulk of state schools, noting that 90% of primaries and nearly 80% of secondaries were rated as good or outstanding.

“If this speech generates any headlines, I doubt they will be ‘English education is good’,” Spielman said.

But the report also focused on a group of schools that Spielman said remained “intractable” to improvement, including a group of nearly 130 that had failed to achieve a good rating in inspections this year or at any time since 2005.

via Private faith schools are resisting British values, says Ofsted chief | Education | The Guardian

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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