Equality lessons row: Schools watchdog Ofsted alienating religious communities

Equality lessons row: Schools watchdog Ofsted alienating religious communities
News
Posted on 26 Feb 2020

A think tank has said that schools watchdog Ofsted is in danger of fuelling extremism by alienating law-abiding religious communities over LGBT lessons.


The report by Policy Exchange comes after months of conflict at two Birmingham primary schools, which has seen predominantly Muslim parents and activists protesting against the teaching of LGBT-inclusive lessons.

The Policy Exchange report reads: ‘We welcome the fact that Ofsted has confirmed that it should be an organisation which acts impartially towards those of all faiths and of none. While we accept that is their intention, there have been too many occasions when a secularist bias has been displayed.


'It is also important for Ofsted to recognise that, however unintentionally, some of the language they have used has created a perception amongst some faith communities that Ofsted has a secularist agenda. The term ‘muscular liberalism’ was repeatedly cited to us as a concern by individuals of many different faiths, as was the perceived suggestion by Ofsted that freedom of religion should be limited to the private sphere.’

The report continues: ‘If parents of faith feel their children cannot receive an education that respects their belief in regulated schools, they are more likely to seek out alternative unregistered provision, where they will be more vulnerable to radicalisation.


‘By alienating peaceful, law-abiding people of faith, Ofsted makes it harder to work with these communities to tackle radicalisation.’

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