UK’s Arrogant Ofsted Sticky-Beaks – Protest the Power-Grab!


Just passing this on, from CfM

URGENT – CONSULTATION ON EXPANDING OFSTED’S POWERS CLOSES ON MONDAY

Dear marriage supporter,

Do you remember the reports of Ofsted inspectors interrogating pupils and teachers about their belief in traditional marriage? Children were left “traumatised” after Ofsted conducted hostile ‘British values’ inspections over the past year or so.

Ofsted has never apologised for this. You may have expected Government ministers to respond by helping Ofsted understand that beliefs about marriage should be respected. After all this is what the Department told schools, and Ministers should tell Ofsted they need to follow this advice. Tolerance is a two-way street.

But no – the Government instead wants to expand Ofsted’s role to include inspecting out-of-school settings which provide instruction to under-19s for more than six hours in a week. Inspectors will be on the look-out for compliance with ‘British values’, including vetting events during the school holidays.

The scope of groups affected is mind-boggling. Any group which clocks six hours in any single week: Scouts and guides, sports activities, church youth groups, music teaching, cooking courses, bell-ringers, driving lessons, drama groups…

Everyone from atheist groups to church choirs, wildlife groups to political parties will have to register and be subject to a thick new layer of bureaucratic regulation – even though many are already regulated by the Charity Commission and have to carry out background checks on volunteers.

The Revd Nigel Genders, the Church of England’s chief education officer, has said the plans could heap an extra burden on “thousands of volunteer groups across the country” (Daily Telegraph, 11 December 2015).

A spokesman for the Scout Association also told the Telegraph it will be submitting a response to the Government voicing concern that the plans could heap further red tape on its local Scout groups: “We are worried about undue bureaucracy, we don’t want to deter people from volunteering”, he said.

The Government’s idea is to investigate ‘extremist’ beliefs across society. But, to some Ofsted inspectors, it seems that believing in traditional marriage is a sure sign of being a potential extremist.

The leader of a church summer camp is surely entitled to tell children that true marriage can only be between a man and a woman. But what if an Ofsted inspector with an axe to grind finds out? Under the plans, the Government would be able to close the camp down and ban the leader from working with children again.

The intrusive proposals will be a disaster for voluntary groups generally, which do so much to help children flourish. Many hard-working leaders will simply cancel events in the face of this suffocating regulation.

Everyone knows there are evil people who support murder and mayhem – especially active on the internet – and who want to overthrow democracy. The Government should be targeting them. Instead it is creating a bureaucratic monster which will stifle those groups which contribute so much to the British way of life.

The consultation closes on Monday next week, 11 January. Please respond if you can. Contact details and tips for writing are found below.

How to respond

Send response by email to:
outofschoolsettings.REVIEW@education.gsi.gov.uk

Read the consultation paper (PDF)

Tips for what to say:

  • Say that the plans should be dropped. They are far too broad and are missing the target.
  • Say that Ofsted should have no role in this area. It does not respect people who believe in traditional marriage and is not able to properly assess ‘British values’.
  • Say that Ofsted has a track record of confusing support for traditional marriage with extremism.
  • Say that the extra regulation will lead to many community activities being abandoned.
  • Say that the plans have not been thought through. Why is radicalisation more likely to occur in six hours than in five hours per week?
  • Say that Ofsted has never apologised for its inspectors’ hostility towards pupils and teachers who believe in traditional marriage.
  • Say that disagreeing with same-sex marriage is normal in a free country, but that state officials often fail to grasp this.

If you help out with any affected group, do mention this in your response.