The Chief Education Officer for the Church of England (C of E) has defended the principles of faith schools, after schools’ regulator Ofsted hit out at a Sunderland school for its Christian ethos.
Nigel Genders stressed that good education involves more than receiving positive feedback from Ofsted.
He also highlighted the importance of teaching children about religion in order to prevent extremism.
Mr Genders said, “good education is not defined in terms of what will achieve the best outcomes from an Ofsted inspection” but “it will have the broader interests of children at heart”.
The Education Officer warned against removing religion from the classroom.
He said: “Extremism thrives when religion is banished to dark corners. If we reject religion from our schools, we are failing to prepare young people for the realities of life in a modern and globalised world.”
He defended the approach taken by faith schools where teachers and leaders share a common vision and are committed to the same goals.
Mr Gender’s comments coincide with recent controversy over an inspection of the highly successful Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland.
A draft report on the school by Ofsted contained a paragraph, that was later removed, targeting the Christian ethos of the school.
It read: “The Christian ethos of the school permeates much of the school’s provision. This has restricted the development of a broad and balanced approach to the curriculum.”
The schools’ regulator has been accused of targeting several faith schools in recent months as it enforces new Government defined ‘British values’ rules for schools.
Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute said: “Removing a statement slamming the school’s Christian ethos from their final report tells us all we need to know about what is really behind the downgrading of the school.”
The head teacher of Grindon Hall, Chris Gray, has written to Ofsted complaining of inappropriate conduct by inspectors.