Ofsted chief grilled over push to exert ‘muscular liberalism’

Amanda Spielman, who leads schools’ watchdog Ofsted, has been challenged on the BBC over her efforts to promote “muscular liberalism”.

In February Spielman referred to The Christian Institute as she warned against “conservative voices” and called for her particular brand of liberalism to be enforced.

And speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme, she continued to back the idea.

Changeable British values

Spielman was repeatedly asked by presenter Emily Buchanan over her desire to ‘exert muscular liberalism’ to promote British values.

Buchanan noted Ofsted’s clash with the Institute, but Spielman said the regulator was merely seeking to “properly apply the framework of law and policy that we have to apply”.

The presenter also pointed out that part of the problem Spielman had in giving “British values more clout” is that they “change all the time”.

She gave the example of a Christian school teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman, which could now be seen as “against British values”.


Spielman responded that in her view ‘only a few faith schools’ had difficulties with applying the Government-backed values.

Earlier in the year, the Ofsted leader came in for criticism for her comments on muscular liberalism.

Institute Director Colin Hart said: “Muscular liberalism must not mean aggressive secularism”, while the Safe at School Campaign said the comments were “very sinister”.

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