Ofsted removes guidance consenting to gender segregation at faith schools

June 21, 2014

OfstedThis week, Ofsted withdrew its guidance on inspections at faith schools that endorsed gender segregation of pupils. The move follows its recent criticism of a school in Birmingham, the Oldknow Academy, for segregating pupils by gender, which was inspected as part of an investigation into allegations that an Islamist agenda was being advanced at schools in the City.

Ofsted’s inspection guidance had previously listed mixed gender faith schools where boys and girls were taught separately. Commenting on where this took place at some Muslim faith schools the briefing noted ‘This should not be taken as a sign of inequality between different genders.’ Ofsted has now replaced the guidance with a statement that this and other inspection guidance has been ‘temporarily taken down while their content is reviewed’.

Chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, said ‘While Ofsted is left to monitor a school system riddled with double standards in which some groups are free to operate in narrow and exclusive ways, this should not mean it can be inconsistent in how it applies guidance. It should deal with schools even-handedly. The Government needs to tackle these inequities, but it the meantime we welcome Ofsted taking down its guidance that validated faith schools segregating pupils by gender, which should not be tolerated at any state funded school.’

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