Faith schools criticised for Middle East bias

By Jessica Elgot, October 22, 2009

Muslim schools are likely to use “inflammatory language” and bias when teaching pupils about the Middle East, an Ofsted report has found.

Inspectors visited 51 private faith schools to investigate the spiritual and cultural lessons that the schools provided. They found some schools displayed posters in favour of a certain religious or political group.

They also found that many of the schools used teaching materials which had incorrect information about other religions.

Schools minister Ed Balls ordered the report in March after concerns were raised about teaching standards at independent faith schools.

In the report, inspectors expressed concern over posters in a Muslim school which referred to the “Israeli occupation of Palestine”. They found the school had failed to teach the other side of the debate.

They were also critical of an unnamed Jewish school they visited for teaching the Middle East conflict through the eyes of pupils’ Israeli relatives.

The inspectors expressed concern that Jewish pupils in the school showed “a reluctance to move from pre-formed ideas.”

Last updated: 4:07pm, October 22 2009