Ofsted quiz kids at Christian school on ‘what lesbians do’
Wed, 14 Jan 2015
Primary-aged pupils at a leading Christian school faced questions about homosexual practice as they became the latest target of controversial ‘British values’ rules.
The principal of the school, Chris Gray, has written a formal complaint to Ofsted accusing their inspection team of adopting a “hostile” stance against the school’s Christian ethos.
Children aged six to eighteen at Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland faced intrusive questioning by Ofsted inspectors about transsexualism, homosexuality and religious festivals.
The school was discussed on BBC Radio Newcastle this morning.
In his complaint Mr Gray said, “the tenor of the inspection was negative and hostile at every stage, as if the data collected had to fit a predetermined outcome”.
Citing feedback he has received from pupils and parents, he expressed concern that “the manner and content of questioning of pupils crossed the line into harassment”.
Mr Gray continued, “several parents complained to me about what they saw as intrusive and deeply personal questioning of their children”.
Parents objected to questions their children were asked, including if they knew what lesbians “did” and if their friends felt trapped in the “wrong body”.
Another question asked by inspectors was: “Is there anyone in your school that’s a tom boy?”
According to Mr Gray, one parent was “very angry” as the “inspectors seemed unaware that girls could interpret a question about “tom boys” as a comment on their own appearance”.
“The offer of a one to one meeting with an inspector”, Mr Gray continued, “in order to discuss personal matters of sexuality was also viewed with alarm by some parents”.
One mother said that her daughter felt “disturbed” and “upset” by the “wholly inappropriate” manner of questions asked.
Children aged ten and eleven were asked if they celebrated other religious festivals such as Diwali, while sixth form pupils at the school complained that inspectors appeared to be “manipulating” their responses to questions.
One student wrote that an inspector “seemed to have the view that since we are a Christian school we don’t respect other religions and views”.
Another added: “It felt like she wanted a certain answer from us and wouldn’t be satisfied until she got that answer.”
A third indicated that the inspector was “manipulating the conversation to make us say something to discredit the manner of teaching in school”.
New ‘British values’ regulations for schools were introduced in September last year by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan in response to the Trojan Horse scandal.
Their application has already had negative outcomes in a number of faith schools.
In October last year a small Christian school in Reading was threatened with closure when Ofsted said it was failing to promote other faiths in assemblies.
And Jewish school pupils were left “traumatised” after Ofsted inspectors asked whether or not they had a boyfriend and how babies are made.
The official complaint made by Grindon Hall School, dated 11 December, has not yet been replied to by Ofsted.