Almost a quarter of private faith schools rated inadequate

By agency reporter
November 26, 2018

Humanists UK has expressed serious concerns that private faith schools are more than two and a half times more likely to be rated inadequate by the education inspectorate Ofsted compared to other private schools.

Almost a quarter of private faith schools (23 per cent) were rated inadequate at their last inspection, markedly higher than the nine per cent for other schools.

The data, published by the government, related to 1,011 of the 1,076 non-association independent (private) schools that Ofsted inspect.

Of the total number of private faith schools inspected, 34 per cent of Jewish schools, 25 per cent of Muslim schools, 14 per cent of Christian schools and 50 per cent of other religious schools were rated inadequate.

Safeguarding measures designed to protect the safety and welfare of students were a key concern: 50 per cent of religious schools listed as ‘other’ had inadequate safeguarding, as were 20 per cent of Muslim schools, 15 per cent of Jewish schools, and 13 per cent of Christian schools.

Humanists UK Education campaigns Manager Ruth Wareham said: "These figures show an alarming trend. A very high number of private faith schools are not providing pupils with an adequate education and, in some cases, are failing to meet their most basic duties to keep pupils safe by implementing adequate safeguarding measures.

"This data also indicates that, contrary to the widely held view that a faith ethos makes for a better school, when compared to other schools, private faith schools are in fact significantly worse at providing students with an adequate education.

"Private schools are already subject to less rigorous inspection regimes than state schools and are more free to base various aspects of school life, as well as their science and relationships and sex education (RSE) curricula on their religious beliefs. If they can’t even meet these reduced standards, this gives us good reason to be very worried indeed."

The government data found that many religious schools failed to adequately meet the Independent School Standards which cover, amongst other things, the curriculum and the extent to which a school adheres to legislation regarding the promotion of British values.

* Read Non-association independent schools inspections and outcomes in England, August 2018: main findings here

* Humanists UK https://humanism.org.uk/

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