Ofsted head rides roughshod over parents concerns

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of schools’ regulator Ofsted, has claimed that parents’ complaints about the conduct of inspectors are false.

Parents of pupils at Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland and The Durham Free School have branded Sir Michael “patronising”.

They feel that he failed to address their concerns when speaking at an Education Select Committee hearing earlier this week.

Parents claims ‘false

Responding to allegations of inappropriate questioning of children, the Ofsted chief said that they had been “thoroughly” investigated and found to be false.

Sir Michael said: “We looked at the evidence base thoroughly and we found no evidence to suggest that inspectors used inappropriate language”.

He then went on to accuse parents of simply reading their complaints in the Daily Mail.


Dr Tim Dunnett, who has four children at Grindon Hall, said that parents see Ofsted’s response to their concerns as “patronising”.

Dr Dunnett added: “Michael Wilshaw is adamant he has made a full investigation, but how can this be when he has not spoken to any of the staff or parents involved and addressed our concerns?”

Parents at both Grindon Hall and The Durham Free School have stood by their schools in the face of accusations by Ofsted.

Just incredible

Hundreds of parents gathered at Grindon Hall after an Ofsted report rated the school inadequate.

Speaking to the BBC after the meeting, one mother said that Ofsted’s claims of racism and homophobia were “just incredible”.

She spoke of a parent who stood up at the meeting and described how their child had been bullied in five different schools because they were thought to be gay.

Aggressive’ questioning

She added: “They’ve come to our school and it’s the only school they’ve never been bullied at for being gay.”

At The Durham Free School, inspectors were also said to have adopted an “aggressive” questioning technique when talking to pupils.

Questions asked to 11 to 13-year-olds included: “Have you had ‘The Talk’?” and “How have you learned how to make a baby?”

Children aged 6 to 18 at Grindon Hall Christian School faced questioning about transsexualism, homosexuality and religious festivals.

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