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Christian ethos school challenges Education Secretary

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A Christian ethos school in Durham has asked Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to step aside from making any decision regarding its future because she is “tainted with bias”.


The Education Secretary announced last month that Durham Free School would be shut because it fell short of “British Values” tests conducted by Ofsted.

Durham Free School has complained of “inappropriate questioning” by Ofsted inspectors, who asked children as young as 11 how they would treat classmates who were homosexual or Muslim and whether they knew “how to make a baby”.

Shut down

The school received a letter from the Department of Education on 19 January, stating that it was considering removing the school’s funding but that it could make a case for staying open.

Ofsted’s inspection report was published on the same day. It observed that a new acting head and leadership team had already made improvements and had made progress “developing a clearer vision for the school’s future”.

But Mrs Morgan told Parliament the very same day that she didn’t think there was any prospect of the school improving and that the decision had been made to shut it down.

The trustees of Durham Free School therefore argue that the Education Secretary had made up her mind in advance.


In a letter to Mrs Morgan, lawyers for the school write: “In light of these statements, our client has no confidence in your ability to make a fair, proportionate and lawful final decision in relation to the future of the school since you are not open to any representations made by the trust.

“The trust therefore requests that you step aside from any further involvement in this decision-making process and for the matter to be passed to another minister who is not tainted with bias.”

The trust is planning to start judicial review proceedings to challenge the decision unless Mrs Morgan stands aside from the decision.

Government lawyers are expected to respond by Monday. 

Related News:
Christian schools gear up for legal action against Ofsted
‘Inappropriate’ Ofsted questioning of children revealed
Ofsted chief denies anti-‘faith school’ bias

Related Coverage:
Legal battle looms over Christian school closure in British values row