11 schools rapped after snap visits

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Published: Tuesday 25th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Eleven schools have been censured by inspectors after unannounced visits found that “pupils were not being well prepared for life in modern Britain”, Ofsted said today.

The Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, said the schools, among 35 which received “no-notice” visits in September, were failing to teach students respect for faiths and communities other than their own.

However, he has written to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, saying he stands by his October decision to rule out snap inspections at all schools, which was considered in the wake of reports into the alleged “Trojan horse” takeover plot by hardline Muslims at a number of Birmingham schools.

Sir Michael criticised those who suggested the findings were “political correctness”, adding that Ofsted would not penalise a school just because a certain heritage or religion was predominant.

He said: ” It’s nonsense, for example, to suggest we would mark down a school for being ‘too white’. We simply want to ensure children are receiving a good education and are being prepared for life in modern Britain.

“This is not about political correctness. It’s being realistic about the diverse society we now live in.

“Above all, it’s about being fair to every school we inspect – whether it’s a faith school, a secular school, or whether it’s located in an inner-city or rural location.

“Of course, inspectors should take proper account of the school’s context but they should also apply the same high expectations of every school when it comes to preparing our young people for the world beyond the school gates. The guidance from government is very clear on this.

“It would be wrong for inspectors to only criticise certain types of schools and not others if we find they aren’t doing enough to promote respect and tolerance of others and an understanding of the core values that bind us together as a nation.”

In his advice note to Mrs Morgan, Sir Michael said inspectors were concerned about the curriculum at 17 schools inspected after complaints of a fall in standards.

Two were Catholic schools, one was Church of England, one was a joint Catholic/Church of England school, one was a Jewish school and the rest had “no religious character”, he said.

Of the 17, 11 were “not teaching respect for and understanding of the various faiths found in Britain today” or “not developing pupils’ awareness and tolerance of communities different to their own”.

But Sir Michael concluded: “This exercise has confirmed that we have the regional intelligence and the appropriate powers to conduct inspections without notice where serious concerns have been identified.

“Nevertheless, inspectors reported that there were logistical drawbacks to inspecting without notice because of difficulties in effectively engaging with school leaders, governors and parents.

“This view is consistent with Ofsted’s previous consultations on the use of no-notice inspection and supports my decision that we should not move to routine no-notice inspections for all schools.”

Published: Tuesday 25th November 2014 by The News Editor

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