The Christian Institute

News Release

Muscular liberalism must not mean aggressive secularism

Responding to today’s front page story in The Times, Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said:

“My concern is that some Ofsted inspectors will misinterpret the Chief Inspector’s call for ‘muscular liberalism’ as a call for inspectors to enforce more secularism. Muscular liberalism must not mean aggressive secularism.

“I genuinely hope that the Chief Inspector of Schools can lead Ofsted in a way that promotes the Great British tradition of liberalism.

“At its heart liberalism means the freedom to disagree.

“And The Christian Institute has disagreed with the way in which some Ofsted inspectors have gone about their work. For example demanding that Vishnitz – an Orthodox Jewish School – should be promoting transgender rights to five-year-olds. Anyone reading that inspection report will see how inspectors can be unhelpfully ‘muscular’.

“There have also been cases of unprofessional conduct where inspectors have asked teachers their personal views on same-sex marriage.

“Clearly there is a problem of religious literacy. Just because you have socially conservative views doesn’t mean you’ve got a foot on the first step of an escalator leading to violent extremism.

“Social liberalism is a particular viewpoint, whereas the tradition of British liberalism is about the freedom to disagree. Ofsted inspectors need to know the difference.”