A school in Wednesbury has failed seven Ofsted inspections and are reportedly attempting to oust the regulator. Some faith schools feel they are being unfairly targeted by inspectors who may come with a bias against Christians.
Steve Beegoo, head of education at Christian Concern and CEO of the Christian Schools Trust, believes some inspectors seek out issues where they don’t exist.
He told YCW: “It’s not so much that there’s a specific criterion that the school isn’t meeting, but as the inspector comes with their bias; with their preconceived ideas about all these ‘slightly dodgy Christians’ or the ‘slightly dodgy smaller schools’.
“Those perceptions then lead them to deliberately almost seek out and find ways to fail those schools and various sections.
“So some of the experiences I’ve had as part of the Christian Schools Trust, particularly a few years back, when inspectors were coming in clearly with an agenda and they would seek out and probe in areas where they didn’t need to seek out, things that they could then fail the school for, or fail the leadership for.
“We actually made representations back to Ofsted, who, in informal meetings, recognised that there were issues with what had happened with some of those inspectors and what had occurred there.
“No official recognition of those things, but unofficial recognition of those things, and we were able to help provide some advice and training for them so that they can avoid the unconscious bias that can come as those inspectors come into those schools.”
Ofsted have issued a rebuttal to the claims, saying: “Ofsted is requested by the Department for Education to carry out inspections of non-association independent schools and so does not make decisions around which schools are selected for inspection.
“Ofsted receives a commissioning request from the Department for Education which identifies which type of inspection is required, and which (or all) of the independent school standards inspectors should focus on.”