British values ‘a tough call’ for inspectors – Ofsted

The BBC, in its report on Sean Harford’s speed to the ASCL conference, highlights his suggestion that inspecting British values has made life “difficult” for Ofsted…

Ofsted’s schools director Sean Harford, told a heads’ conference, it had been a “tough call” serving judgements on schools in “mono-cultural areas”…

In a speech to the Association of School and College Leaders, in London, Mr Harford said tackling these issues was difficult but “one of the most important things” his inspectors were doing.

“Nevertheless we are not shirking this responsibility,” he said.

In particular, Mr Harford mentioned inspectors who had gone into schools serving predominantly Muslim communities in Birmingham and Tower Hamlets, Jewish schools in Hackney, and Christian schools in the North East.

It was tough to say “uncomfortable things about how these institutions were failing to prepare their pupils for life in modern Britain”, he said.

“Schools, particularly those in mono-cultural areas, are on the frontline of ensuring that our society doesn’t become fragmented and divided.

“We have all seen in recent months what can happen when this frontline is breached,” he added.

It was absolutely essential that inspectors focused on the issue and applied the same principles and standards everywhere, he said…

More at: British values ‘a tough call’ for inspectors – Ofsted


Read Sean Harford’s speech in full from the DfE at: Speech to Association of School and College Leaders Conference 2015


See also: 

Ofsted director backs calls for schools to inspect each other

The spectre of ‘British values’ and education policy


Thoughts and reactions? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…


Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link!

Character is the key to poorer children securing top jobs, says study
Age discrimination is rife in profession, says teacher
Categories: News.


  1. Mike Sheridan explained his take on interpreting the term ‘British values’ at an OFSTED Big Conversation meeting in Newport Pagnell yesterday. I wont put words in his mouth but I will say that his explanation was very sensible.
    A bit like the myths surrounding the HSE and ‘elf n’ safety nonsense, the truth about OFSTED seems very different from the rumours you sometimes hear.
    I’ve only heard good things from senior OFSTED officers in recent weeks. Let’s hope future inspections only bear this out.

  2. Janet2

    NeilatOPAL You must have missed the naming-and-shaming of schools in the South West and negative publicity about secondary schools in Swindon in Ofsted announcements recently.  There’s only a small number of secondary schools in Swindon – one more Good or Requires Improvement judgement would have a disproportionate affect on the proportion judged Good or better.  But small sample size doesn’t get in the way of knocking a particular LA.

Let us know what you think...