The Chief Inspector of Schools was forced to deny allegations that Ofsted inspectors asked a young girl at a Christian school whether she was a virgin.
John Denning MP raised a series of questions including the claim by a 12 year old girl who was allegedly asked the intrusive question when inspectors were visiting Durham Free School, the Daily Mail reports.
Sir Michael Wilshaw told the education select committee that he had conducted a ‘thorough’ investigation into the claims into whether children were asked inappropriate questions and found them to be false.
But the chairman of the school’s board of governors indicated it was taking the allegation seriously, saying ‘There is something in it.’
The allegations come fresh off the back of another inappropriate school inspection at Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland which has been put in special measures after children an official report found that discrimination ‘persisted’ at the school because of ‘homophobic language’
Ten year old Ariella Wilkinson said she came home in tears after being quizzed by inspectors about lesbians and asked if she felt ‘trapped’ in her own body.
Mr Denning told Sir Michael it was ‘clearly the case that inspectors are asking questions that most people would think of as inappropriate for the age’. He warned the Chief Inspector not to make himself a ‘hostage to fortune’ by denying there was a problem.
Durham Free School is scheduled to close after inspectors also branded children ‘intolerant’ in another disastrous Ofsted report for a North Eastern school.
But parents have spoken out against the decision, accusing Sir Michael of being ‘condescending’ and saying he had not spoken to them or taken their concerns seriously.
They say their children, aged 11 to 13, were asked ‘inappropriate’ questions about gay people, Muslims and sex.
Labour MP for Stockton North Alex Cunningham said he had been “inundated” with communications from concerned parents at Durham Free School.
He told fellow MPs the families felt that ‘Ofsted had got it in for Christian schools’.
‘Some parents claim that there were some inappropriate approaches to the inspection,’ he said.
While Sir Michael rejected many of the allegations, he did admit that inspectors may ask children whether they call each other ‘gay’ or ‘lesbo’.
With the Government’s new ‘British Values’ drive, which requires all schools to teach tolerance of other faiths and lifestyles, there are concerns that good teaching and a happy learning environment will be passed over by box ticking officials more concerned about playground banter or children being uninterested in whether a classmate is homosexual.
Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute said: ‘Parents are disappointed Ofsted has not taken their allegations seriously.’