Durham Free School, which has a Christian philosophy has had its funding terminated after being put in special measures by the schools watchdog group, Ofsted, after an inspection in November found them lacking.
One of the complaints aimed at the Durham school, which opened in September 2013, was that governors were too bothered about “religious credentials” when recruiting, rather than looking for candidates with excellent leadership and teaching skills. In addition, the inspection team found the school was failing to prepare pupils for modern Britain. The report said: “Some students hold discriminatory views of other people who have different faiths, values or beliefs from themselves.”
The inspectors were acting under the ‘British values’ school standards, introduced in September last year, which require schools to pay particular regard to the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, including transsexualism and homosexuality.
Parents have objected to questions their children were asked at the school, including if they knew what lesbians “did” and if their friends felt trapped in the “wrong body.” Ofsted inspectors actually quizzed ten-year-olds’ about lesbian sex and trans-sexuality.
The school will have to close at Easter due to the current education secretary, Nicky Morgan withdrawing funding. Teachers say that they were unfairly penalized for placing a Christian philosophy at the heart of the school by inspectors who wanted to demonstrate that they were promoting the Government’s diversity agenda.
In their report, the schools inspectors concluded: “Leaders are failing to prepare students for life in modern Britain. Some students hold discriminatory views of other people who have different faiths, values or beliefs from themselves.”
But teachers say that this view was based solely on the words of one 12 year old boy who, while taking part in a group discussion, was asked about Muslims and his answer made reference to them being terrorists.
“It feels like the school has been made a scapegoat. Durham is primarily white British so knowledge of other cultures is not as prevalent. But I don’t think the children are bigoted,” said Petrina Douglas, a parent governor.
The school’s acting headmaster Julian Eisner said: “The pupil’s reply displayed a very disappointing level of ignorance but, in the context, did not provide evidence of a discriminatory attitude.”