Ofsted will try to give its ‘British values’ drive a new lease of life, despite it being mired in controversy for the last three years.
An annual report by the schools’ regulator, released today, reveals that spreading “shared values” will be one of Ofsted’s key priorities in the coming year.
The report also suggests that home-schoolers should have to register with the state.
In the coming months, the schools’ regulator will champion the same values which led to a series of damaging inspections in faith schools.
In November 2014, Ofsted inspectors asked primary-aged children at Grindon Hall Christian School, Sunderland, if they knew any boys or girls who thought they were in the wrong body.
Following the inspection, the school was rated ‘inadequate’, with Ofsted stating that the Christian ethos of the school restricts “the development of a broad and balanced approach”.
This year, it emerged that an Orthodox Jewish school was punished by Ofsted for failing to endorse homosexuality and transsexualism.
Vishnitz Girls School, a private school in Hackney, North London, failed three Ofsted inspections.
In its reports on the school, Ofsted attacked Vishnitz for not giving pupils a full understanding of British values.
John Denning, the Institute’s Education Officer, described the ‘British values’ approach as “sinister”.
Mr Denning said: “There has been a litany of controversial ‘British values’ inspections in the last few years, which are billed by Ofsted as a solution to extremism. In reality, these inspections have been a tool for promoting political correctness.
“Christian schools have suffered, Jewish schools have suffered, just because they don’t endorse secularism.
“Against this backdrop, Ofsted’s renewed commitment is quite sinister.”
Ofsted’s report also complains that there is “no requirement to register a child who is home-educated”.
Under UK law, parents have the final decision on how to educate their children.
However, concerns have been raised that Ofsted wants the law to change so that families who home-school have to register and be subject to inspection.
The report also raises the discredited idea that holding socially conservative values places people on a conveyor belt to “violence”.
Last year, former Cabinet Minister Liam Byrne, warned that this idea – at the centre of the Government’s extremism strategy – needs to be “reset”.
Byrne told BBC Radio 4, “we have got to drop what’s at the heart of the Government’s policy, which is this notion there’s a conveyer belt between religious piety and violent extremism”.