All faith colleges should actively promote British values says training secretary

Faith schools must adhere to rules that “actively promote” basic British values, such as tolerance of other faiths and lifestyles, and law, Nicky Morgan, the training secretary, warned on Sunday.

The Department for Education, nevertheless, dismissed any suggestion that colleges would be forced to educate gay rights towards their will.

Guidance on the new principles will be issued to private schools, academies and free of charge colleges this week. The principles have been launched by Michael Gove, Morgan’s predecessor, after the “Trojan Horse” controversy in Birmingham. They give inspectors power to censure schools that do not conform to the Equality Act, which encourages respect for lesbian, gay and transgender men and women, as well as those of other religions and races.

Ofsted has created snap inspections of forty colleges, such as Christian and Jewish institutions, following the Trojan Horse affair. The inspections have previously led to complaints and demands for the rules to be revoked. Schools inspected lately declare they have been penalised for not celebrating ample festivals of other faiths, not giving young children sex education lessons, not educating them to be tolerant of homosexuality and not inviting faith leaders to talk at assemblies.

Morgan, even so, advised the Sunday Instances that it was “crucial” that Christian and Jewish colleges, as well as Muslim ones, followed the new rules, which call for the promotion of basic British values, this kind of as tolerance of other faiths and lifestyles, democracy and the rule of law.

Morgan is a committed Christian who last week revealed that she now supports same-sex marriage – obtaining previously voted against it. She mentioned: “Schools should broaden horizons not near minds … and should motivate pupils to respect other folks, even if they do not agree with them. I should have imagined this is a principle with which the huge majority of men and women would agree. All schools, of what ever variety, have a duty to protect youthful folks and to make certain they depart college fully ready for lifestyle in modern Britain.”

She extra: “These values – democracy, the rule of law, personal liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of individuals with different faiths and beliefs – are not new. The requirement to ‘actively promote’ them is created to reinforce the importance this government attaches to these values.”

A substantial-profile Jewish school for girls in Salford final week was downgraded from very good to inadequate by Osted inspectors for failing beneath the new rules. Following a no-recognize inspection, Beis Yaakov secondary school was placed into particular measures.

The inspection report mentioned there have been “major gaps in students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. College students are not supplied with adequate opportunities to learn about or realize men and women of other faiths or cultures.

“The school does not encourage adequately students’ awareness and tolerance of communities which are distinct to their personal. As a outcome, the college does not prepare students adequately for daily life in contemporary Britain.”

The Department for Training dismissed as “complete nonsense” the interpretation of Morgan’s remarks that faith colleges “must educate gay rights”. A DfE spokesman said: “It is comprehensive nonsense to say that schools are being forced to ‘teach gay rights’ towards their will.

“Ofsted are rightly ensuring that colleges do not indoctrinate pupils about gay men and women – or any other folks – being inferior.

“The same goes for schools that do things like make ladies sit separately at the back of the class. Both are practices which go straight against the fundamental British values of tolerance and respect.

“We feel colleges ought to prepare all pupils for lifestyle in modern day Britain. A broad and balanced curriculum is important for this.”

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