Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman received 'venomous' abuse after questioning faith schools

‘We know where you live and we can get you any time we want to’

Saturday 16 December 2017 11:10
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In a handful of institutes, inspectors had found instances of sexist and sectarian literature
In a handful of institutes, inspectors had found instances of sexist and sectarian literature

Ofsted’s chief inspector said she received threats and abuse after raising concerns about the values being promoted in some of the country’s faith schools.

Amanda Spielman said she had been the victim of some “pretty venomous stuff”, receiving “nasty tweets” and threatening emails from what she believed to be a “mixture of Islamic extremists and the hard left”.

“I’m not easily bruised. I don’t fall over when I see a load of nasty tweets pointed at me, but there has been some pretty venomous stuff,” she told The Times.

“I had an email, which was the most threatening one, which was along the lines of, ‘We know where you live and we can get you any time we want to’.”

Earlier this week, Ms Spielman released her annual report, in which she warned that a rising number of conservative religious schools were actively undermining British values and equality law.

She revealed that in a handful of schools, inspectors had found instances of sexist and sectarian literature.

Despite the backlash – which also reportedly involved extra security being drafted in for one of Ofsted’s regional offices, after inspectors were sent extreme Islamic literature – Ms Spielman has vowed not to be frightened into staying quiet.

Warning that there are some children in the UK for whom British values are “meaningless”, she added: “If we let ourselves be intimidated out of discussing these issues, it’s children who will suffer.”

Her report said schools were “deliberately choosing” not to meet standards, due to the tensions between legal requirements and community expectations.

She also said current powers were “inadequate” to tackle unregistered schools, which were being set up to avoid teaching in accordance with the law.

A Department for Education spokeswoman previously said it had changed the law and the requirements on schools “so that they have to actively promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and the mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”.

The spokeswoman added: “It is absolutely right that Ofsted reports on schools that fail to protect children or fail in any other way to meet the standards we expect, so that we can take action to ensure they adhere to the law.”

PA

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