Christian schools claim Ofsted's discriminating against them

Sun 18 Dec 2016
By Aaron James

Christian schools across the UK have claimed the schools watchdog has targeted them unfairly during inspections.

They're part of a network called Christian Education Europe (CEE), which incorporates a teaching style and curriculum called Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), originally created in the US but now present in other countries.

According to the Sunday Times, ten schools within CEE were inspected by Ofsted on October 19. Nine were rated inadequate or requiring improvement and two have since closed.

The schools are appealing against Ofsted's ratings with support from the Christian Legal Centre.

Criticisms of the schools included failure to meet statutory safeguarding requirements, a science curriculum which was too narrow, failing to promote understanding and tolerance for people with different cultural or religious views and low pupil attainment.

Chris Oakey, principal of Luton Pentecostal Church Christian Academy which was rated inadequate by Ofsted, told the paper the watchdog was attempting to seem equally harsh on all faith schools after coming down hard on some Islamic ones in Birmingham found to be promoting an extreme form of Islam.

He said: "I think they have done it to show they will do it to everyone and not just the Muslims."



Andrea Williams, from the Christian Legal Centre, said: "These schools produce children who are kind, tolerant, interesting and go on to do good jobs. Most of all, they are happy.

"Those not following the political ideology of Ofsted are now liable to be punished.

"Ofsted is critical of the Christian belief system within the schools and yet it is this very belief system that is the foundation of schools across this country."

Ofsted said in a statement: "[We] found them to be failing to meet government standards in a number of areas, including safeguarding, leadership and governance, and the quality of the curriculum.

"In addition, a number of these schools were not promoting British values effectively enough.

"It is perfectly legitimate for schools to hold firm a particular set of values and belief systems. However, they also have a responsibility to prepare pupils for life in multifaith Britain..."

Premier has contacted Christian Education Europe for further comment.

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