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Christian schools gear up for legal action against Ofsted

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Two Christian schools in the North East of England are considering legal action against Ofsted after being downgraded by inspectors.

John Denning, chairman of governors at Durham Free School, told The Sunday Times: “The school is in the process of taking legal advice and will take whatever action necessary to protect the interests of its pupils and their families.”

Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland may also take legal action after it has exhausted Ofsted’s complaints procedure.

“British values”

Both schools have argued that new rules requiring schools to promote “British values” including “tolerance”, are partly to blame for the schools being downgraded.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan brought the rules in last year in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal involving infiltration by radical Muslim groups into schools in Birmingham.

Other Christian schools have also been downgraded since the new measures were introduced.


Staff and parents at Durham Free School have criticised Ofsted’s approach. Deborah Finch told reporters that her 11-year-old daughter, Grace, had been “asked whether she knew any lesbians and whether any family members had gay friends”.


Chris Gray, Principal Grindon Hall, highlighted the aggressive nature of the Ofsted inspectors, saying:

“Ofsted’s approach to us was negative at every stage, as if the data collected had to fit a predetermined outcome.

“The questioning by inspectors makes clear that their idea of a balanced curriculum is for us to force pupils to celebrate non-Christian religious festivals. This would breach our Christian foundation which stipulates that we are a Christian school.

“Under our funding agreement and the law, we have a duty to prioritise the teaching of the Christian faith. At the same time, we make sure our children respect people of all faiths and none.”

Related stories:
Christian school ‘downgraded’ because of worship
Education Secretary challenged over ‘downgrading’ of Christian school

Related Links:
Christian schools ready to defy Ofsted in court (Sunday Times (£))
British Values rules 'to blame' as Christian school placed in special measures by Ofsted (Telegraph)
Statement by Grindon Hall Christian School Principal Chris Gray