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Private faith schools over twice as likely to be rated inadequate than other private schools, new data shows

Humanists UK has expressed serious concerns that private faith schools are more than two and a half times more likely to be rated inadequate by the education inspectorate Ofsted compared to other private schools.

A quarter of private faith schools (23%) were rated inadequate at their last inspection, markedly higher than the 9% for other schools.

The data, published by the government, related to 1,011 of the 1,076 non-association independent (private) schools that Ofsted inspect.

Of the total number of private faith schools inspected, 34% of Jewish schools, 25% of Muslim schools, 14% of Christian schools and 50% of other religious schools were rated inadequate.

Safeguarding measures designed to protect the safety and welfare of students were a key concern: 50% of religious schools listed as ‘other’ had inadequate safeguarding, as were 20% of Muslim schools, 15% of Jewish schools, and 13% of Christian schools.

Humanists UK Education campaigns Manager Ruth Wareham said:

‘These figures show an alarming trend. A very high number of private faith schools are not providing pupils with an adequate education and, in some cases, are failing to meet their most basic duties to keep pupils safe by implementing adequate safeguarding measures.

‘This data also indicates that, contrary to the widely held view that a faith ethos makes for a better school, when compared to other schools, private faith schools are in fact significantly worse at providing students with an adequate education.’

‘Private schools are already subject to less rigorous inspection regimes than state schools and are more free to base various aspects of school life, as well as their science and relationships and sex education (RSE) curricula on their religious beliefs. If they can’t even meet these reduced standards, this gives us good reason to be very worried indeed.’

The government data found that many religious schools failed to adequately meet the Independent School Standards (which cover, amongst other things, the curriculum and the extent to which a school adheres to legislation regarding the promotion of British values).


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at or phone 020 7324 3078.

For more information about our private faith schools campaigning, visit

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At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

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