A Christian school with some of the best exam results in its area has been given the worst possible grading by Ofsted in a report blasted as ‘defying logic’.
Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland was told that its performance is inadequate in a report by the schools’ regulator, a draft version of which also included a paragraph attacking the school’s Christian ethos.
The principal of the school, Chris Gray, had recently written a formal complaint to Ofsted because of the inappropriate nature of questions asked by inspectors.
The case was discussed earlier today on BBC Radio Newcastle.
In a statement on the school website Mr Gray wrote: “To issue a report that grades the best performing secondary state-funded school in Sunderland (latest published GCSE results) as the worst defies all common sense and logic.”
In May last year the school was told that it required improvement in some areas but in September Ofsted noted the school had been taking “effective action” to address those issues.
However, the report released this month contradicts these findings. The difference is attributed by Mr Gray to the “widely discredited” ‘British values’ regulations introduced last year and “the aggressive attitude of the inspection team”.
Caught in the crossfire
Mr Gray said: “Pupils, parents and staff are deeply concerned that, because of the widely reported breakdown of trust between the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted, schools like Grindon Hall are being caught in the crossfire.
“Playing politics with the new regulations on ‘British values’ is not acceptable and does little to help our children prepare for life or achieve good exam results.”
Mr Gray said that during the recent inspection, Ofsted’s approach to the school was “negative at every stage, as if the data collected had to fit a predetermined outcome”.
In his formal complaint to Ofsted, the principal said that inspectors had sought to discredit the school because of its Christian ethos.
In the statement, Mr Gray drew attention to a paragraph in the draft report which is missing from the final version.
It read: “The Christian ethos of the school permeates much of the school’s provision. This has restricted the development of a broad and balanced approach to the curriculum.”
According to Mr Gray this statement reveals “unwarranted skepticism on the part of the inspection team” about the school’s Christian ethos.
Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, responded to Mr Gray’s statement saying: “For Ofsted to give the best performing state school in the area its worst possible rating defies common sense.
“Removing a statement slamming the school’s Christian ethos from their final report tells us all we need to know about what is really behind the downgrading of the school.”
The official complaint made by Grindon Hall, dated 11 December, has not yet been replied to by Ofsted.
Parents objected to questions their children were asked in the Ofsted inspection, including if they knew what lesbians “did” and if their friends felt trapped in the “wrong body”.
One mother said that her daughter felt “disturbed” and “upset” by the “wholly inappropriate” manner of questions asked.