‘Ofsted and DfE have ignored anti-Christian intolerance’

Ofsted and the Department for Education have given “inadequate attention” to the “bullying of Christian pupils”, The Christian Institute has told Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.

A letter, from Institute Director Colin Hart, criticises the Ofsted response to schools which were involved in the Trojan Horse scandal.

Mr Hart said it is “striking” that official reports listed examples of anti-Christian intolerance, but none of these were mentioned in Ofsted reports about the schools.

Anti-Christian intolerance

Referring to reports by former Police chief Peter Clarke and Birmingham City Council’s Independent Chief Advisor Ian Kershaw, Mr Hart wrote:

“You will see they include anti-Christian chanting in assemblies, GCSE pupils who opted to learn Christianity being left to teach themselves, and Christians being called ‘ignorant’ or ‘liars’ by teachers.”

He added: “It is striking that, while the official reports by Peter Clarke and Ian Kershaw listed a number of examples of explicitly anti-Christian intolerance in several of the ‘Trojan Horse’ schools, not one of these are noted in the Ofsted reports on those schools.”

Inadequate

The letter goes on to suggest that schools regulator Ofsted may itself be preventing anti-Christian bullying from being properly tackled:

“Ofsted’s system for detecting intolerance is clearly inadequate if it is not picking up on anti-Christian sentiment. In fact, Ofsted may be part of the problem.

“Whilst guidance from your department says there is no obligation on schools to promote gay marriage, there have been Ofsted inspections in several parts of the country where Ofsted inspectors have implied via questioning of pupils that they ought to accept gay marriage.

“We are aware of several cases of this approach being taken with primary age pupils, some as young as six.”

Problem

The letter concludes by stating that Ofsted “must learn that the mistreatment of Christian pupils is a problem that deserves its attention”.

A spokesman for Ofsted said: “Ofsted deplores bullying in all its forms. We expect schools to promote British values including mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

“However, it is nonsense to suggest that an Ofsted inspector would expect a school to have taught six year old pupils about same sex marriage.”

Past criticism

Earlier this year, Ofsted came under fire from parents and teachers after inspectors asked children as young as ten at a North-East school about gay relationships.

During a subsequent Education Select Committee hearing the head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, dismissed parents’ concerns and failed to provide evidence that the allegations had been properly investigated.

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