Back ‘British values’ or face closure, Christian school told
Mon, 20 Oct 2014
A successful Christian school could face closure for failing to uphold “British values”, The Daily Telegraph has reported.
The school was warned after an inspection by schools regulator Ofsted, in the wake of new regulations introduced by the Government last month.
Ofsted criticised the school for not promoting other faiths, and it was told to invite a leader from another religion, such as an Imam, to lead assemblies.
The Telegraph reported that the small independent Christian school was told that it was not in step with new rules intended to promote “British values”.
It was then told that unless it could demonstrate how it was going to meet these new rules, it could ultimately be closed.
The regulations state that academies, free schools and independent schools must ‘actively promote’ the rights defined in the Equality Act 2010, including sexual orientation and transsexual rights.
Details of the case are disclosed in a letter to the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan from The Christian Institute, which is providing legal backing for the school via its Legal Defence Fund.
The Institute warns that the new rules are already having “disturbing consequences”.
Responding to the news, Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of the Christian Institute, said: “Worryingly, evidence is already emerging of how the new regulations are requiring Ofsted inspection teams to behave in ways which do not respect the religious ethos of faith schools.
“The new requirements are infringing the rights of children, parents, teachers and schools to hold and practise their religious beliefs.”
Mr Calvert went on to say that the wording of the new requirements “inevitably results in these kind of outcomes”.
Last week, Jewish school pupils were left “traumatised” after being questioned by the schools’ regulator, according to a school association.
’Invasive and unjustified’
The National Association of Jewish Orthodox Schools (NAJOS) said it was “appalled” by questions asked during recent surprise inspections.
The pupils were asked whether or not they had a boyfriend, how babies are made and whether they knew that two men could marry.
Leading barrister John Bowers QC believes the new rules may “affect the freedom of speech of teachers”, with inspectors being drawn into policing equality law.
The Christian Institute is preparing a judicial review of the regulations, saying they are “invasive and unjustified”.