Ofsted guidance says segregation is ok in Muslim faith schools

The Times is reporting that Ofsted has previously told its inspectors that segregating boys and girls is acceptable in Muslim faith schools and should not be criticised, despite it being amongst the issues (non-faith) schools in the Trojan Horse probe have now been criticised for …

Instructions to inspectors say that girls and boys “may well” be taught or seated separately in schools with an Islamic ethos and that this does not amount to discrimination. The schools regulator also tells inspectors that music and art can be “restricted”, despite being national curriculum requirements.

Girls may be required to wear a headscarf in Muslim schools, which should be seen as expression of their identity and not as a sign of repression, Ofsted says.

The Department for Education this week criticised separate seating of boys and girls in maths lessons in one of the Birmingham schools investigated as part of the “Trojan Horse” inquiry. The DfE ordered Oldknow Academy, a primary school in Small Heath, to “eliminate” inappropriate gender segregation.

Ofsted itself called attention to segregation of girls and boys last year at al-Madinah, a Muslim free school in Derby. It rated pupil safety inadequate, citing among its reasons that older girls and boys sat on opposite sides of the classroom and ate lunch separately.

Ofsted’s guidance sanctioning segregation, updated only three months ago, is in advice for inspectors visiting faith schools. The 21 “Trojan Horse” schools in Birmingham were secular schools. Some governors were accused of trying to turn several of them into ultra- orthodox Islamic schools by stealth.

It is not clear why segregation should be treated differently in faith schools, whose status chiefly allows them to reflect their religious character in admissions, hiring staff, assemblies, RE lessons, governance and ethos.

Michael Gove, who has previously called any form of segregation “absolutely wrong”, has decreed that all schools must promote British values…

More at: Let schools keep boys and girls apart, says watchdog (subscription required)

So this guidance appears to be specifically for faith schools and therefore does not cover those involved in the Trojan Horse investigations, but does it suggest a confused position by Ofsted? If segregation is acceptable in some schools, can it be worthy of criticism in others or does it all rightly hinge on whether we are talking about a faith school or not? Please let us know what you think in the comments or via Twitter…

Trojan Horse: Ofsted probe widens to Luton and London
Trojan Horse row: Bradford teachers suspended for 'ignoring instructions from governors'
Categories: Policy.


  1. elftok

    SchoolsImprove promotion of segregation especially during recreation times is wrong. This happens naturally anyway, but not promoted

  2. VictoriaJaquiss

    SchoolsImprove Only bit faith agenda that inspectors like is apparent sexism.& actually dividing sexes is done for good reasons elsewhere

  3. Allan Hayes

    In addition to condoning poor education this guidance will serve to separate children into different schools. For example, the Krishna Avanti school near me, though required to make half of its places freely available, has only a handful of non Hindus – by parental choice.

  4. LiterateCynic

    SchoolsImprove It is not OK in any British school. Period. Is honour killing OK in a Muslim faith school?

  5. damar2009smart

    SchoolsImprove What a load of shit no one has the right to seperate
    boys & girls. Why let muslims do this just leave

  6. the_dirty_ho

    LiterateCynic SchoolsImprove tell that to the majority of politicians that were educated in all-boys schools

  7. the_dirty_ho

    LiterateCynic SchoolsImprove So segregation *is* okay in some schools, as long as they don’t consider women inferior? This judged how btw?

  8. the_dirty_ho

    LiterateCynic SchoolsImprove What about in a CofE school? You could argue the reluctance to allow women priests etc belies Church attitude

  9. the_dirty_ho

    LiterateCynic SchoolsImprove so would an all-boys/all-girls CofE school be equally repugnant to your sensibilities?

  10. LiterateCynic

    the_dirty_ho SchoolsImprove It’s not segregation. You have a choice. In a segregated ‘Muslim school’ – indeed, in Islam – you do not…

  11. the_dirty_ho

    LiterateCynic SchoolsImprove Errr . . . so separating boys and girls is not segregation if it’s a non-Muslim school, because it’s a choice

  12. LiterateCynic

    the_dirty_ho SchoolsImprove Yup. Go on, compare CofE schools to schools practising Islamic medieval practices.. cool..

  13. the_dirty_ho

    LiterateCynic SchoolsImprove What choice is that exactly? The choice not to go there? Guess what, you can do the same with Muslim schools

  14. LiterateCynic

    the_dirty_ho Are you took fucking thick to understand the concept of CHOICE as opposed to COMPULSION?

  15. the_dirty_ho

    LiterateCynic SchoolsImprove I’m comparing your standards against your standards. Nothing more or less. Strange you ‘loathe hypocrites’

  16. ChristoCrak

    LouiseMensch DrPaulVickers the way jews pays back the greeks who saved them at the cost of greek villages burned down…

  17. dustingweever

    LouiseMensch DrPaulVickers if girls can be ‘required’ to wear head scarfs how is it ‘their’ decision?

  18. AaronTayto

    LouiseMensch DrPaulVickers it happens in catholic schools and has for years stop stirring the daily mail pot

  19. TeaJunkie1

    LouiseMensch AaronTayto DrPaulVickers Girls are not being forced to wear veils. They may be required to wear a HEADSCARF.

  20. louanndavies

    TeaJunkie1 LouiseMensch AaronTayto DrPaulVickers Never happened at my Catholic school either, to be fair. But shouldn’t happen anywhere.

  21. AaronTayto

    LouiseMensch DrPaulVickers it’s a uniform. Segregation and forced uniform happens. If ppl don’t like it they won’t go to religious schools

  22. TeaJunkie1

    louanndavies LouiseMensch AaronTayto DrPaulVickers But nobody complains about girls being excluded from Eton.

  23. SteveBroad6

    LouiseMensch DrPaulVickers I totally get you Louise and point well made. But as a faith school is it down to the parents? Really unsure.

  24. SteveBroad6

    LouiseMensch DrPaulVickers Also I imagine Eton encourages Christian prayers and their segregation policy is more draconian maybe?

  25. elftok

    BhamRebecca hardstint SchoolsImprove I was thinking if the teaching establishment in any school whatever it’s ethos

  26. thebestpolicy

    LouiseMensch They can wear coloured Headscarfs, because they’re a representation of their identity and not repression. Stand up isn’t dead.

  27. LouiseMensch

    thegreatgar thank you, please RT; your followers may be more leftwing than mine – needs all party protest

  28. MattJohnson1983

    LouiseMensch it makes a mockery of ultimate culturalism – mixing and celebrating individuality is key to understanding each other.

  29. black_steve1905

    LouiseMensch You’re not a feminist. You nicked a woman’s husband. Packed in a career to follow his. And write for a paper that has ‘Page 3’

  30. AlistairCassidy

    Mr_A_McSquiffy LouiseMensch Hmmm. Is it really any different than any other element of school uniform – tie/blazer/skirt/etc?

  31. Christo732

    LouiseMensch thegreatgar atleast RT says the truth FoxNews they censored the south ossetian family praises russian troops

  32. InstantKarmaNow

    LouiseMensch Enoch Powell was castigated by your party for predicting multi cultural society was a suicide note-for our own-Muslims RIGHT

  33. Dyno1066

    LouiseMensch All religions are divisive. Any school that receives state funding should have NO religious dogma

  34. Mr_A_McSquiffy

    AlistairCassidy LouiseMensch yes, because it’s a symbol of enforced “modesty” based on antiquated, sexist nonsense.

  35. The_Spud

    LouiseMensch BullshineBilly Can’t be right, did I really wake up & find the Stone Age was in front of me?

  36. AlistairCassidy

    Mr_A_McSquiffy LouiseMensch I think my high school had guidelines on length of skirt and so on. Girls had to wear skirts. Boys, trousers.

  37. MartinWillmott

    LouiseMensch meganne121 it’s getting so I feel like I’m being robbed of my country and culture, I feel like fighting back

  38. Mr_A_McSquiffy

    AlistairCassidy LouiseMensch conservative fashion requirements are one thing, the headscarf has many overtones of sexual hierarchy.

  39. Desboy1

    LouiseMensch Why everytime i read your tweets do i think you can take girl.out of Westminster but …. You love a good campaign

  40. black_steve1905

    “LouiseMensch: “Girls may be REQUIRED to wear a headscarf in Muslim schools”
    Would you have them pose topless for your employer The Sun?

  41. grumpyboy

    LouiseMensch “Girls may be required to wear a headscarf in Muslim schools” it does say “may” what does that mean?

  42. DanRowland75

    Mr_A_McSquiffy LouiseMensch #fuckthat Oh- how eloquent of u. Separate classes or Headscarves? What a considered Retweet

  43. LouiseMensch

    TeaJunkie1 No. When I was in a mixed school I was taught jointly. When I was in a girls’s school we had male cadets do PE with us

  44. AlistairCassidy

    Mr_A_McSquiffy LouiseMensch Really? That is your answer? A Google link to “Islamic Headscarf”? I’m sure you can be more specific.

  45. TeaJunkie1

    LouiseMensch So you were taught separately from boys for everything but PE. Mmm, sounds like segregation to me.

  46. LouiseMensch

    TeaJunkie1 well it isn’t. Segregation is keeping the sexes or races apart in places where they mix. Like a mixed state school

  47. ZHDar

    LouiseMensch #NotInMyName #Feminism What about dress codes in other faith schools? The problem is faith schools. Shouldn’t be state funded

  48. MrspOppins2012

    LouiseMensch sorry about spelling mistake in RT. Best friend in secondary school was a Muslim. Used to take her headscarf off minute 2/2

  49. TeaJunkie1

    LouiseMensch So it’s OK to separate boys and girls as long its’ entire schools? I’m really don’t follow your reasoning.

  50. LouiseMensch

    ZHDar the problem isn’t faith schools. It’s sexism. Unfortunately sexism being justified by Islam. Which is wholly wrong

  51. InstantKarmaNow

    LouiseMensch stevebrookstein Stratupfunktown Muslim faith requires it- so do OFSTED- we have Muslim faith schools because of POLITICIANS

  52. LouiseMensch

    InstantKarmaNow stevebrookstein Stratupfunktown No, Muslim faith most emphatically does not require it. Ask QueenNoor QueenRania & c

  53. chuckmiddleton

    LouiseMensch hi Louise, hope ya well.. can’t we ban all faith schools and concentrate on education? All fundamental ideals are problematic.

  54. LouiseMensch

    stevebrookstein paulruk Stratupfunktown certainly not, it Muslim parents complaining about #TrojanHorse schools. Better than extremists

  55. stevebrookstein

    InstantKarmaNow LouiseMensch Stratupfunktown if you allow Faith schools you can’t complain if they practice their faith.

  56. takeawaysecret

    TeaJunkie1 LouiseMensch we have all boy and all girl schools in this country don’t we? If it’s all white, it’s alright

  57. ZHDar

    LouiseMensch what about orthodox Jewish schools? Plenty of prima facie evidence of different treatment. Look it up

  58. LouiseMensch

    chuckmiddleton Hey Chuck! No, they’re not …. and Islam isn’t either. It’s extremists that are the problem.

  59. ZHDar

    LouiseMensch Faith schools divide and don’t help cohesive society. If you want to promote devotion to an invisible friend, then pay for it

  60. LouiseMensch

    ZHDar I have been vocally arguing for months to ban Beth Din arbitration tribunals along with Sharia Tribunals

  61. InstantKarmaNow

    LouiseMensch stevebrookstein Stratupfunktown QueenNoor QueenRania Muslim faith requires a head scarf- modesty – spitting hairs

  62. the_bojangles

    LouiseMensch don’t boys wear the kippah/kippot at the Jewish schools in Golders Green anymore then? What’s the difference

  63. ZHDar

    LouiseMensch I agree with you that sexist values being justified by use (misuse?) of religion, but faith schools exacerbate problems

  64. LouiseMensch

    ZHDar if the same sexism is applied in Orthodox Jewish state schools I will take an identical position – extremism no girls yes

  65. LouiseMensch

    ZHDar No they really don’t. Not all Muslim schools act like these ones are. Catholic, C of E schools not a problem at all.

  66. ZHDar

    LouiseMensch I’m not accusing you of double standards. Just making the point that faith schools allow various types of discrimination and

  67. LouiseMensch

    ZHDar it is a matter of degree, always, and the basic rights of the child. Forced veiling? Apartheid? Are we that far gone?

  68. ZHDar

    LouiseMensch Like I said, study some of the practices in orthodox Jewish schools. Changing syllabus to promote creationism for example

  69. WallaceWylie

    stevebrookstein paulruk LouiseMensch Stratupfunktown Was the tie to stop you from tempting men into sexual acts?

  70. chuckmiddleton

    LouiseMensch yes, i’d agree, but there are extremists in reglious teaching every where. For all religious factions.

  71. takeawaysecret

    TeaJunkie1 LouiseMensch 19 British prime ministers being educated in segregation away from women sounds quite ‘extreme’ to me

  72. ZHDar

    LouiseMensch If it wasn’t for my libertarian principles, I would actually ban veils and burkas. No place in a civilised society

  73. stevebrookstein

    LouiseMensch Stratupfunktown I’m not sure it’s a big problem. Bankers wear ties. I’ve never had a problem with a girl wearing a hijab.

  74. SacredJP

    stevebrookstein paulruk LouiseMensch Stratupfunktown These Muslim beliefs are bang out of order in any moral country #bbcqt #trojanhorse

  75. DonsavPfhc

    paulruk LouiseMensch stevebrookstein Stratupfunktown religious beliefs kill and make people suffer mor than anything else in this world

  76. macwulfie

    LouiseMensch I take it you remember the lady stabbed at a Catholic School recently? #sameoldTories #selectivememoryexperts ZHDar

  77. chrispearson311

    stevebrookstein LouiseMensch being brainwashed into being a tory or being brainwashed into wearing a hijab. what’s worse for a girl?

  78. curt_curtdavies

    paulruk stevebrookstein LouiseMensch Stratupfunktown are the boys also required to wear headscarfs? A tie was mandatory for everyone

  79. stevebrookstein

    WallaceWylie I rather have parents dress their girls conservatively than wear mini skirts with t-shirt saying “I drink you’re cute”

  80. roepme

    stevebrookstein paulruk LouiseMensch Stratupfunktown EVERY belief is beter than islam MoHAMmad was a murderous pedophile #BBCQT

  81. eruptionchaser

    LouiseMensch No to segregated classrooms, but yes to segregated schools? (i.e. single-sex) – serious question.

  82. RodUkip

    LouiseMensch Mardconsult Looks like a big climb down or back track to me. Britain expelled from these schools.

  83. stevebrookstein

    WallaceWylie there is a western social pressure for fashion and make up obviously the Hijab isn’t popular with our culture.

  84. Wimpylad

    LouiseMensch ZHDar want apartheid, look no further then Israel. Im not an apologist for Islam. Just don’t like Mensch selective picking

  85. cosby_laura

    2tweetaboutit It shld not be right girlsboys shld not be segregated in a classroom. Not in this country.

  86. jessica10510

    SchoolsImprove I don’t agree with segregation in mixed sex schools. We have single sex schools for that

  87. planejin

    screwlabour TheSunNewspaper LouiseMensch last paragraph is key to debate. It’s acceptable if u call self a ‘faith school’ otherwise not.

  88. screwlabour

    planejin TheSunNewspaper LouiseMensch It is saying that it is okay to discriminate against girls in faith schools, that is wrong.

  89. LouiseMensch

    screwlabour planejin TheSunNewspaper wrong and illegal under the Equalities Act cf: the failed Universities UK guidance on segregation

  90. planejin

    screwlabour TheSunNewspaper LouiseMensch some girls do ‘choose’ to wear head scarf though – some even this hijab!

  91. screwlabour

    planejin TheSunNewspaper LouiseMensch Oh of course! Every single girl wants to wear isn’t and just loves to be segregated! My bad.

  92. planejin

    LouiseMensch screwlabour TheSunNewspaper my main point is segregation doesn’t just happen in muslim schools – hence inflammatory.

  93. planejin

    screwlabour TheSunNewspaper LouiseMensch of course they don’t but some do. Not all women who wear head scarfs are oppressed!

  94. screwlabour

    planejin LouiseMensch TheSunNewspaper Point is utterly void. Single sex schools do not discriminate against girls as 2nd class citizens.

  95. screwlabour

    planejin TheSunNewspaper LouiseMensch So on you’re logic it’s fine to oppress some because others like it.

  96. planejin

    screwlabour TheSunNewspaper LouiseMensch No not at all – their should be choice but if girls wish to wear headscarf or prey separately…

  97. planejin

    screwlabour TheSunNewspaper LouiseMensch No not at all, there should be choice. If u wish to wear headscarf n eat separately then fine.

  98. screwlabour

    planejin TheSunNewspaper LouiseMensch So you have just defeated yourself. Ofstead have said the school is fine to segregate.

  99. planejin

    screwlabour TheSunNewspaper LouiseMensch I tend to do that when I think b4 I fire off 140 characters…hey at least I can change mind…

  100. LouiseMensch

    .planejin screwlabour TheSunNewspaper so you defeat yourself. Ofsted says girls can be forced into hijab and segregation

  101. Dpn76

    planejin LouiseMensch screwlabour TheSunNewspaper so you’ve argued a point you agree on maybe you should have read the article first?

  102. orniastic

    planejin screwlabour TheSunNewspaper LouiseMensch just because you dont feel oppressed does not mean you’re not oppressed.think about it

  103. planejin

    orniastic screwlabour TheSunNewspaper LouiseMensch I agree but equally u can’t say EVERYONE who wears headscarf/hijab IS oppressed

  104. orniastic

    planejin screwlabour TheSunNewspaper LouiseMensch you cant say everyone is anything but you can say unconscious oppression is exploited

  105. planejin

    orniastic screwlabour TheSunNewspaper LouiseMensch that’s why I agree with ur initial statement, no doubt some conform but = some choose

  106. JamieMcBastard

    LouiseMensch planejin screwlabour If you pass a law saying nobody can force any child to wear anything at a school… er, uniforms?

  107. orniastic

    planejin screwlabour TheSunNewspaper LouiseMensch good,then lets prioritise the unconscious oppressed rather than who consciously choose

  108. Dpn76

    planejin LouiseMensch screwlabour TheSunNewspaper but surely knowing the facts help when stating opinion on something

  109. planejin

    Dpn76 LouiseMensch screwlabour TheSunNewspaper replying to the tweet rather than article, hardly say Sun was ‘factual’ 😉

  110. screwlabour

    Dpn76 planejin LouiseMensch TheSunNewspaper What are you trying to achieve? We got to an end point. Berating for berating’s sake?

  111. Dpn76

    planejin LouiseMensch screwlabour TheSunNewspaper just seems you took the opposite view without realising the context

  112. planejin

    screwlabour Dpn76 LouiseMensch TheSunNewspaper yep already established I’m a total fuckwit when it comes to Tweeting! Why 34 followers!

  113. LouiseMensch

    planejin Dpn76 screwlabour TheSunNewspaper give her tons of credit! Wish to goodness everybody had an open mind!

  114. am4r1

    LouiseMensch planejin screwlabour Dpn76 TheSunNewspaper Have you had your tits out on Page 3 of TheSunNewspaper or not Mensch???

  115. xtc_uk

    police have recorded hundreds of rapes in schools every year, & thousands of girls are being exposed to extreme levels of sexual harassment

  116. xtc_uk

    “5,500 alleged sexual offences (including 600 rapes) had been reported to police as having occurred in schools over three years”

  117. xtc_uk

    girls left covered in bruises after sexual assaults too scared to approach a teacher because they “didn’t think anybody would believe me”

Let us know what you think...