• Ofsted Inspections and British Values

    05 July 2017

    Dear Constituent

    Thank you for contacting me regarding Ofsted inspections and British values.

    The conduct of inspectors is the responsibility of Ofsted. If a school is concerned about either an inspector’s conduct, or that an inspection is not being carried out in accordance with Ofsted’s guidance, it should follow the formal process for raising this.

    During inspections, Ofsted inspectors ask questions which probe whether pupils are prepared for the next stage in their education and life in modern Britain, using age-appropriate questions to check children’s understanding and tolerance of different lifestyles. Ofsted has made it clear that it is not looking for answers which are contrary to any faith, simply that pupils can express views which are neither intolerant nor discriminatory. This is vital if we are to make sure young people are ready for life in modern Britain.

    All schools are now expected to “actively promote” British values, which were defined in 2011 as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Teaching respect for other people, even if you do not agree with them or their way of life, is a fundamental part of preparation for life in Britain, and a principle all schools should be able to support.

    Teaching respect for something is, as the Department for Education’s guidance has made clear, different from promoting it. No teacher is expected or required to promote lifestyles that they do not agree with. Equally, it would be unlawful for any teacher to discriminate, harass or victimise someone on the grounds of the protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010, which applies to all schools.

    I hope this reassures you that the policies support the welfare of children, without damaging free speech or freedom of religion.

    Thank you again for contacting me.

    Yours sincerely

    Mel Stride

    MP for Central Devon

    Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General