The case of a Christian school under threat from new ‘British values’ regulations has been raised in Parliament by a Christian MP.
David Burrowes questioned whether advising the school to invite representatives from other faiths to lead assemblies – as was recommended by a recent inspection – really promotes ‘British values’.
He also raised the issue of Orthodox Jewish schools where girls have been asked about same-sex marriage during Ofsted inspections.
However, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan dismissed his concerns.
Speaking on Monday, Burrowes said: “There are reports that Ofsted is demanding that a Christian school invites an imam to take collective worship and that Jewish schoolchildren have been asked intrusive questions about their views on sexuality. Does that really promote British values?”
Morgan replied: “I thank my honourable Friend. That is clearly a matter for Ofsted and it is investigating exactly what was said to the school.
“I think we would all agree that the fundamental British values of respect, democracy and tolerance are shared by all schools and all people of all faiths.”
The Christian Institute is supporting the school involved – Trinity Christian School in Reading.
Trinity Christian School has written to the Education Secretary about the issue, saying that the comments made by Ofsted as a result of the new regulations, “undermine our aims and would prevent us from teaching in accordance with our Christian foundation”.
During an inspection earlier this month it was told that representatives of other faiths should be invited to lead assemblies and lessons.
It was also informed it should ‘actively promote’ other faiths, the principles of the Equality Act 2010, and warned not to promote a “particular lifestyle”.
The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director Simon Calvert said: “This is a small Christian school which has previously been rated ‘good’ overall and ‘excellent’ for its spiritual, moral, social and cultural provision.
“Christian schools like Trinity have a reputation for high standards and well-rounded pupils and they should have the freedom to continue doing what they’ve always done.”