Jan 4 2015
New rules intended to combat the teaching of Islamic extremism in British schools is now adversely affecting Christian and Jewish schools
Christian group warns ‘British values’ rules imposed after Trojan Horse scandal is leading to Christian and Jewish schools being marked down by inspectors for failing to promote ‘tolerance’ of Muslims by inviting imams to preach at their schools.
UK Telegraph A successful Christian school has been warned it is to be downgraded by inspectors and could even face closure after failing to invite a Muslim imam to lead assemblies, it is claimed.
The small independent school in the Home Counties was told it is in breach of new rules intended to promote “British values” such as individual liberty and tolerance in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal, involving infiltration by hard-line Muslim groups in Birmingham.
Details of the case are disclosed in a letter to the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, from the Christian Institute, which is providing legal support to the school. The group warned that the new rules intended to combat extremism are already having “disturbing consequences” for (non-Islamic) religious schools and forcing Ofsted inspectors to act in a way which undermines their ethos.
In the latest case inspectors are understood to have warned the head that the school, which was previously rated as “good” that it would be downgraded to “adequate” for failing to meet standards requiring it to “actively promote” harmony between different faiths because it had failed to bring in representatives from other religions, specifically Islam.
They warned that unless the school could demonstrate how it was going to meet the new requirements there would be a further full inspection which could ultimately lead to it being closed. A Government consultation paper published in June, explaining the new rules, makes clear that even taking children on trips to different places of worship would not be enough to be judged compliant.
The Institute, which is already planning a legal challenge to the consultation, says it fears that the new guidelines could be used to clamp down on the teaching of anything deemed politically incorrect on issues such as marriage. “The new requirements are infringing the rights of children, parents, teachers and schools to hold and practice their religious beliefs.”