Dismay that inspection of community cohesion in schools has not been protected

March 31, 2011

The Accord Coalition is deeply disappointed that the House of Commons Bill Committee considering the Government’s current Education Bill has decided not to accept amendments this afternoon that would have safeguarded the promotion of community cohesion in schools.

The Bill proposes to relieve Ofsted from inspecting schools on the duty to promote community cohesion – a significant measure introduced by the previous Government to address widespread public concern about faith schools.

Moreover, this is despite the fact the Prime Minister himself gave a major speech last month in Munich about the importance of confronting extremism and promoting a great sense of citizenship.

The failure to maintain Ofsted’s duty to monitor community cohesion in schools, not only lays bare a major inconsistency in Government policy on education and faith schools, but it also undermines attempts to ensure that children from different religious and cultural traditions grow up in greater harmony with each other.

Chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, said ‘we urge the Government to think again and retain this important protection. Schools should be engine rooms of cohesiveness. Future generations will not thank us if we allow them to entrench social divisions further.’

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