Ofsted chief tells MPs there was homophobic behaviour at Durham Free School

The Chronicle is reporting that Ofsted’s chief has confirmed that bigoted behaviour at a North free school helped in the decision to close it down…

Sir Michael Wilshaw told a committee of MPs on Wednesday that there was homophobic behaviour shown by children at Durham Free School when the school was inspected last year.

But he denied claims from parents that inspectors asked children as young as 11 if they were ‘virgins’.

Sir Michael told education select committee members, “these allegations are false.”

The head of Ofsted vehemently defended His Majesty’s inspectors for asking children if “gay” and “lesbo” are playground terms.

He said: “If you approach a child and ask about homophobic bullying in school they’re unlikely to understand what that means.

“But if you ask if children are calling each other gay or lesbo, then they will understand what inspectors are asking them.

“We found no evidence to suggest that inspectors used inappropriate language or terminology to these children.

“It has to be understood that if there are allegations of homophobic bullying at a school then we have to ask questions.

“There was homophobic bullying going on at Durham Free School.”

…Following questions put to Sir Michael by committee member and Stockton MP Alex Cunningham, the chief inspector denied claims from parents that Ofsted had a political agenda and “has it in for Christian-faith schools.”

Grindon Hall Free School, in Sunderland, revealed an equally damning Ofsted report last week which also places the Christian-faith school into special measures.

In March, the school was classed as “requires improvement” and just six months later was deemed “inadequate” across most areas.

Mr Cunningham asked Sir Michael why such a rapid deterioration at the school in such a short time?

“Poor leadership” said Sir Michael. “And not addressing the issues highlighted in Ofsted’s earlier report…”

More at: Ofsted chief tells MPs there was homophobic behaviour at Durham Free School


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Categories: Free Schools.


  1. HughdjNicklin

    SchoolsImprove Astonishing. What can anyone find objectionable in men sticking their penises into other men’s bottoms?

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove It appears that a whole school judgement is based upon an inspector’s stroll around the playground at break.

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Does anyone believe anything Wilshaw says anymore? MPs accepted of course, they believe anything that suits

  4. h_emoney

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove this problem exist in most schools cos schools are a reflection of our society. The question should be is…

  5. andylutwyche

    h_emoney SchoolsImprove Couldn’t agree more. It seems DfE/Ofsted require schools to be entirely separate from society

  6. h_emoney

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove schools are easy target. They take the blame for the failure of a Govt if only the masses knew this.

  7. ACallToMenUK

    SchoolsImprove do you know of any faith schools where socialisation of gender norms is discussed rationally? Wld be nice to think so, but..

  8. LaCatholicState

    SchoolsImprove How dare this bigot call children homophobes! Why don’t these vile bullies leave our kids alone. #bigots

  9. Johnthe14th

    SchoolsImprove I’m sure there’s all manner of ‘behaviour’ occurring in every school, so why single out ‘homophobic’ behaviour? Ofstednews

  10. J Shade

    So naughty words and attitudes extracted from young children by adults in authority are enough to get a school closed down?  Is any school safe from these witchfinder generals?

  11. Janet2

    J Shade Not the ‘naughty words’ alone – such insults can be heard in most schools.  But it’s what the school did or did not do about it that is the issue.  Did it take action to educate pupils that name calling and bullying of any kind is unacceptable?  Or did it turn a blind eye?

  12. Tubby_Isaacs

    DurhamFreeSch Nice try. How about addressing what the EFA said? You’re incompetents wasting taxpayers’ money.

  13. DurhamFreeSch

    Tubby_Isaacs We already have and showed finances to be in good order, but not everything makes it to the press.

  14. Tubby_Isaacs

    DurhamFreeSch So you enlisted well known education heavyweight, Gerald Howarth. That’s not someone with strong case.

  15. Janet2

    @DurhamFreeSch Tubby_Isaacs That was quick!  Financial Notice to Improve only issued 24 Nov.  Can we expect the FNI to be immediately lifted by the EFA?

  16. Janet2

    ‘I know that the school is concerned about aspects of the Ofsted inspection, but there are many more aspects of that inspection that need to be taken into consideration. Given the inadequate rating, I am not clear on what grounds the school can challenge, but I understand that it has until next Tuesday to set out its case.’

    Roberta Blackman MP, Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government 27 January 2015, House of Commons.

    A cynic might say that the school getting its allegations into the public domain before the end of the official objection period was a way of deflecting attention from the many negative points in both the Ofsted report and the EFA Financial Notice to Improve.

    That said, Nicky Morgan could have prevented much of this dirty linen washing in public by holding off her announcement to close the school until after next Tuesday.

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