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Islamic school Ofsted report censored

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In this piece, Christian Concern's Director of Islamic Affairs, Tim Dieppe, discusses news that an Ofsted report about an Islamic faith school is being censored. 

A taxpayer-funded Islamic school has been rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, partly because of gender segregation concerns. We do not know what other concerns are raised in the report because it has been censored. Media have been banned from naming the Islamic school by a judge after the school challenged the report. The judge said that identification of the school would be likely "to generate a media storm." This is in spite of general agreement that this case is clearly of public interest to parents and the wider community.

Labour MP Khalid Mahmood has criticised the secrecy, arguing that parents have a right to know what is going on. Secrecy should only be used in cases of national security or where there is a risk to a person’s life, he said.

There appears to be double standard being applied here. Christian schools that have been criticised by Ofsted have been very publicly named and shamed in the media. One Christian school was put into special measures last year after inspectors allegedly asked ten-year-old pupils what lesbians did. Another was told to close after a pupil gave the wrong answer when asked what a Muslim was. Ofsted came under criticism for interpreting ‘British values’ to mean that ten-year-olds should know what lesbians do. It is unclear why it is appropriate to censor a critical Ofsted report of an Islamic school, while reports critical of Christian schools have been widely commented on.

At the root of this problem is confusion about the values that schools should promote. Not long ago schools would have promoted Christian ethics and family values. Indeed, it was illegal not to do so. Section 28 prohibited the promotion of homosexuality or "the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship." Now schools are doing the opposite, with open promotion of homosexuality.

Gender segregation is hardly the worst thing a school can do. We still have taxpayer-funded single-sex schools after all. One has to assume that there is more to the Ofsted report than that. We will have to wait and see. The ban on naming the Islamic school remains in place until the judgement is published, expected next month. If the court finds in favour of the school and against Ofsted, then we may never know.

Related Links: 
Pupils at Christian school branded 'bigots' because one boy didn't know what a Muslim was - and now inspectors have ordered it to CLOSE (Mail) 
Fury at Muslim school's bid to censor highly-critical Ofsted report: Backlash over judge's decision to allow institution to not be named (Mail)  



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