Education Chief Demands Schools Promote ‘Muscular Liberalism’ to Fight ‘Religious Extremists’

Schools watchdog head Amanda Spielman cited mainstream Christian campaigners in a speech stating that religious extremists are using schools to “pervert” education.

In a speech on Thursday, the Ofsted chief urged headteachers to promote a “muscular liberalism” which “holds no truck” for religious ideologies seeking to “narrow young people’s horizons” and “indoctrinate impressionable minds”.

“Occasionally, that will mean taking uncomfortable decisions or having tough conversations,” she said, explaining school leaders should not assume “that the most conservative voices in a particular faith speak for everyone — imagine if people thought the Christian Institute were the sole voice of Anglicanism”.

Ms. Spielman said teachers must “tackle those who actively undermine fundamental British values”, declaring that Britain should be proud of having faith schools which are “exemplars in promoting tolerance, not just of different faiths, but also lifestyles and cultures as well”.

Asserting that promoting tolerance and instilling “the right values” is something which “matters more than ever in these turbulent times”, the Ofsted chief appeared to recommend schools teach children to hate U.S. president Donald Trump.

“In an era of ‘fake news’ and tweeting presidents, we need young people to develop the moral fibre they need to flourish in an unstable world and – dare I say it – to correct some of the mistakes of the generation that has come before them,” Ms. Spielman said.

Speaking at a Church of England education conference in London, she also said a school which recently banned small children from fasting and wearing hijabs but had to reverse the policy after accusations of Islamophobia has Ofsted’s “full support”, stating: “Schools must have the right to set school uniform policies as they see fit, in order to promote cohesion.”

Director of the Christian Institute, Colin Hart, expressed concern that the call for “muscular liberalism” will result in Ofsted inspectors enforcing “aggressive secularism” rather than promoting “the Great British tradition of liberalism, [the heart of which] means the freedom to disagree”.

The head of the Christian organisation, which has recently been highlighting risks associated with the promotion of transgender ideology and lifestyles to young children, also dismissed the way in which Ms. Spielman’s speech appeared to equate Islamic extremists with ordinary Christians.

“Just because you have socially conservative views doesn’t mean you’ve got a foot on the first step of an escalator leading to violent extremism,” he said in a statement, which notes that “the Christian Institute has disagreed with the way in which some Ofsted inspectors have gone about their work”.

It continues: “For example demanding that Vishnitz – an Orthodox Jewish School – should be promoting transgender rights to five-year-olds. Anyone reading that inspection report will see how inspectors can be unhelpfully ‘muscular’.

“There have also been cases of unprofessional conduct where inspectors have asked teachers their personal views on same-sex marriage.

“Clearly there is a problem of religious literacy. Just because you have socially conservative views doesn’t mean you’ve got a foot on the first step of an escalator leading to violent extremism.

“Social liberalism is a particular viewpoint, whereas the tradition of British liberalism is about the freedom to disagree. Ofsted inspectors need to know the difference.”

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