Britain’s official education inspector has informed an independent Christian school that it is out of step with “British values” prescribed by the government and must invite someone from another faith, such as a Muslim imam, to lead assemblies or it risks being closed.
The threat comes amid a series of new school inspections imposed by the government in response to a “Trojan horse” scandal in which several public schools in Birmingham, England, were taken over by Muslim managers who imposed Islamic education standards.
The U.K.’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, known as Ofsted, then established new rules requiring the active promotion of “British values” such as tolerance.
The Christian Institute, which is planning a legal challenge to the regulations, said the school was told by Ofsted “to invite a leader from another religion, such as an imam, to lead assemblies.”
Simon Calvert, deputy director of the Christian Institute, said evidence is already emerging “of how the new regulations are requiring Ofsted inspection teams to behave in ways which do not respect the religious ethos of faith schools.”
“The new requirements are infringing the rights of children, parents, teachers, and schools to hold and practice their religious beliefs,” he said.
Opposition also has come from the National Association of Jewish Orthodox Schools, which said it was “appalled” by the demands.
According to a report by John Bingham, religious affairs editor for the London Telegraph, inspectors claimed the school, which was identified only as a “successful Christian school,” was failing to promote “tolerance.”
Bingham said inspectors warned the head that the school would be downgraded from “good” to “adequate” for failing to “actively promote” harmony between different faiths because it had failed to bring in representatives from other religions.
The report said there would be further inspections that could ultimately lead to it being closed.”
A spokeswoman for the government agency told the newspaper: “Under Ofsted’s revised guidance for the inspection of schools, inspectors now pay greater attention to ensuring that schools provide a broad and balanced education for their pupils, so that young people are well prepared for the next stage in their education, or for employment and for life in modern Britain.”
Included in the evaluation are the spiritual, moral, social and cultural perspectives of students.
The agency spokeswoman said: “This includes, among other factors, pupils’ acceptance and engagement of different faiths and beliefs, and their understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield.”
WND previously reported the rules were being blamed for requiring teachers to “challenge” the religious beliefs of parents “in the name of equality.”
The institute said a report from Peter Clarke, the former chief of counter-terrorism for the Metropolitan Police, said school children in the “Trojan Horse” schools were encouraged to express vocal support for anti-Christian remarks and Christmas was banned.
The report found a “coordinated, deliberate and sustained action, carried out by a number of associated individuals, to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos into a few schools in Birmingham.”
But the institute said the reaction was an overreach, and the rules call for teachers to “actively promote” the rights defined in the Equality Act 2010, including sexual orientation and transsexual rights.
The schools also “will be required to challenge parents” on their values if they contradict what the government has determined is “equality,” a legal analysis concluded.