Ofsted head will meet faith leaders over promoting British values in schools


The head of inspection service Sir Michael Wilshaw today said he is to meet faith leaders as part of its drive to ensure that schools promote British values.

In a statement, the Ofsted head said: “It would be wrong for inspectors to only criticise certain types of schools and not others if we find they aren’t doing enough to promote respect and tolerance of others and an understanding of the core values that bind us together as a nation.”

It follows unannounced visits to 35 state-aided schools and academies into two Jewish secondary schools.
Sir Michael noted that in 23 cases, inspectors had downgraded the schools from previous ratings.

Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School in Hackney, North London dropped from outstanding to good, while Beis Yaakov High School in Salford, previously rated good, was placed into special measures.

In the case of Beis Yaakov, inspectors said that “the school does not promote adequately students' awareness and tolerance of other communities which are different to their own. As a result, the school does not prepare students adequately for life in modern Britain."

Sir Michael’s statement comes a week after widely publicised criticisms of a number of Muslim independent schools in the London borough of Tower Hamlets for the narrowness of their curriculum.

Ofsted, he said, “would never criticise or penalise a school just because of its intake or because children of one particular heritage or religion predominate over another.”

But, he stressed: “We simply want to ensure children are receiving a good education and are being prepared for life in modern Britain”.

Representatives of the National Association of Orthodox Jewish Schools met Ofsted officials earlier this month to express concern over the way some of the inspections have been carried out. Najos had last month accused the inspection service of bullying pupils with “anti-religious” questions.

In a letter to Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, Sir Michael said he planned to meet educational leaders from different faiths to discuss Ofsted’s guidance

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