Ofsted backs down after ‘British values’ inspection

Ofsted inspectors have backed down after accusing a Roman Catholic secondary school of failing to safeguard pupils from extremism and radicalisation.

The schools regulator had told St Benedict’s School in Bury St Edmunds that it was failing to uphold “British values” under controversial new regulations which came into force in September.

However, in a revised version of the report, published last week, there is no mention of the issues previously raised by Ofsted.


The original report about St Benedict’s School said that younger children “show less awareness of the dangers of extremism and radicalisation”.

The report also questioned whether pupils were prepared for “life and work in modern Britain” and the school was downgraded from a rating of “good” to “requires improvement”.

St Benedict’s is one of over 30 schools which were subjected to no-notice inspections in September.


A number of Jewish schools as well as a small Christian school in Reading have already criticised the standards for their damaging effect in faith schools.

Ofsted’s director for schools, Mike Cladingbowl, has warned that the conflict between faith schools and the new regulations may continue.

Speaking at the National Governors’ Association annual conference last week, he said that schools and governors may feel trapped by “the rock of their faith, and the hard place of the law”.

British values

Ofsted’s climb-down comes as criticism of the new standards by the Church of England (C of E) was recently released.

Last week the Daily Telegraph reported on a response to the regulations from the Church of England, which described them as dangerous and divisive.

Nigel Genders, Chief Education Officer for the C of E, cautioned that: “‘British values’ cannot be allowed to become a test or an assessment of whether somebody in a community is ‘safe’ or ‘loyal'”.


Genders argued that the new standards of equality are being upheld by “policing” through an “ever increasing inspection regime”.

He went on to say that “extremism thrives when religion is banished to dark corners”.

The Christian Institute is preparing a judicial review of the regulations, stating that they are “invasive and unjustified”.

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