Nearly four fifths of independent ‘faith’ schools formerly inspected by the now defunct Bridge Schools Inspectorate (BSI) have been judged to be failing by Ofsted, it has been revealed. In a letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw stated that following the re-inspection of 22 schools for which the BSI had previously been responsible, nine were ruled ‘inadequate’ while a further eight ‘require improvement’. The BSI was formerly responsible for inspecting schools belonging to either the Christian Schools’ Trust (CST) network or the Association of Muslim Schools (AMS). Prior to its closure the British Humanist Association (BHA) had called for it to be investigated and disbanded after its inspectors were found to hold creationist, misogynist, homophobic, and anti-apostate views.
The BSI subsequently ceased operations in September this year having been repeatedly dogged by concerns over the independence of their inspectors. It is widely believed that the body was forced to close after changes lobbied for by the BHA were introduced, requiring inspectorates and their inspectors to be independent not only from the schools they were inspecting, but also from any association representing the school.
In his letter detailing the outcome of Ofsted’s re-inspection of some former BSI schools, Sir Michael said that a number of the schools were not adequately preparing children ‘for life in modern Britain’, a situation he described as ‘deeply worrying given our national focus on this work over the past year’. In one school, for instance, the lone female governor was being made to sit out of sight of male governors in an adjoining room during meetings, and in another pupils said ‘they had a limited view of the world because their education was not providing them with sufficient opportunities to learn about people with differing backgrounds and perspectives to their own’.
BHA Faith Schools and Education Campaigner Jay Harman commented, ‘Last year we called on the BSI to be shut down, and in light of Ofsted’s recent findings we’re incredibly glad that we did. The blinkered education that the pupils in these religious schools are receiving is evidently not acceptable, and it demonstrates once again that unless our inspection regime is absolutely robust, children will be at risk. If we really care about preparing pupils for life in a diverse and multicultural society, private schools should be inspected just as rigorously as state schools, and we hope both Ofsted and the Department for Education will now take further steps to ensure this is the case.’
For further comment or information, please contact BHA Education Campaigner Jay Harman at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7324 3078.
Read our previous news item on the Bridge Schools Inspectorate ‘Controversial schools inspectorate reportedly forced to close following successful BHA campaigning’: https://humanism.org.uk/2015/06/16/controversial-schools-inspectorate-reportedly-forced-to-close-following-successful-bha-campaigning/
Read our news item from May 2014, ‘Creationists and religious hardliners found to be inspecting private Christian and Muslim schools’: https://humanism.org.uk/2014/05/12/creationists-religious-hardliners-found-inspecting-private-christian-muslim-schools/
Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on ‘faith’ schools: http://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/schools-and-education/faith-schools/
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.