Some UK ‘Faith Schools’ Not Teaching English Language, Says Chief Inspector

Indian Muslim girls read the Koran at the Madrasatur-Rashaad religious school in Hyderabad on June 19, 2017, during the holy month of Ramadan. Muslims are encouraged to pray and read the Koran during Islam's holiest month. / AFP PHOTO / NOAH SEELAM (Photo credit should read NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)
NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images

An increasing number of private UK faith schools are being judged as inadequate, a report by the national inspectorate has found, calling some “squalid” and stating that in a number of establishments English is not taught properly.

Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector, said that some institutions were deliberately remaining unregistered to avoid scrutiny and children are occasionally left with limited or no ability to read and write in English, The Times reports.

The report talks about Muslim and Christian schools as a single problem, despite a higher proportion of Islamic schools failing, leading to UKIP claiming the report unnecessarily “attacks” Christianity.

“Imparting British values can sometimes go against community wishes or norms and we’re seeing this tension play out in some of our schools,” Ms. Spielman said.

“We’ve found schools that are deliberately resisting both British values and the requirements of equality law; texts encouraging domestic violence and the subjugation of women; schools with a flat refusal to recognise people who are gay.”

The report found that too many private faith schools were spreading intolerance, adding: “We have found an increasing number of conservative religious schools that are spreading beliefs that clash with British values and equalities law.”

“The proportion of independent schools judged less than good increased this year from 31 per cent to 40 per cent.

“A number are highly conservative Christian, Jewish, or Muslim faith schools. In some of these schools, the premises are unsafe or squalid. The most basic checks are not always in place. Inspectors have also found sexist and sectarian literature in some schools.”

David Kurten AM, the UKIP Education spokesman, commented: “What the report does not make clear is that the majority of failing faith schools are Muslim schools. It tries to conflate Christian and Jewish schools with Muslim schools where there are real problems.

“The vast majority of faith schools are Christian schools which often teach that marriage is between a man and a woman according to their faith and resist gender confusion theories sticking to the science that children are boys and girls.

“The idea of ‘modern British values’ has been used for several years to advance progressive left wing ideologies in schools while ignoring the real issues present in many Islamic schools, where materials have been found advocating domestic violence against women.”

The report says that 40 per cent of independent faith schools are failing. However, figures show 58 per cent of the 140 independent Muslim schools inspected by Ofsted as of August this year are either inadequate or require improvement.

Meanwhile, 54 per cent of the 60 independent Jewish schools fall in the same bottom two categories, along with 33 per cent of the 110 independent Christian schools.

“The report, however, makes no mention of the suspected 2,000 [Islamic] madrassas,” added Mr. Kurten.

“The government and Ofsted should stop attacking Christian and Jewish schools and worried parents with conservative values, and start by ensuring that all madrassas are legal and all teachers and workers in madrassas have a proper DBS check.”

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