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'Inappropriate' Ofsted questioning of children revealed

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Controversial Ofsted guidance which explains how inspectors should question children about same-sex families, transgenderism and how the word “gay” is used has been exposed.


The schools watchdog has repeatedly denied that children have been quizzed on “inappropriate” topics since new rules were introduced last year requiring schools to promote “British” values.

Last week, Ofsted Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw told the Commons’ education select committee that he had found claims children were asked inappropriate questions to be false, having conducted a “thorough” investigation.

But it has come to light that as early as January 2012, Ofsted issued guidance for inspectors on how to question primary pupils about use of the word “gay” in schools.


Another document from September 2013, entitled Exploring The School’s Actions to Prevent and Tackle Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying, advocates asking primary children about homosexuality and transgenderism.

It said: “With primary pupils inspectors might explore whether pupils ever hear anyone use the word ‘gay’ when describing something, or whether they have been told by teachers that using the word ‘gay’, to mean something is rubbish, is wrong, scary or unpleasant and why it is wrong.”

Other topics included whether “pupils ever get picked on by other children for not behaving like a ‘typical girl’ or a ‘typical boy’”, and if they had lessons about “different types of families (single parent, living with grandparents, having step-parents, having two mums or two dads)”.

The guidance was last issued in April 2014 and also suggested inspectors could discuss with primary pupils whether “someone born a girl who would rather be a boy, or born a boy who would like to be a girl” would “feel safe at school and be included”.

For secondary level, inspectors were told to discuss with students whether a pupil or teacher “who thought of themselves as the opposite gender, feels safe and free from bullying at school”.


This briefing and other Ofsted documents were replaced by a new, single School Inspection Handbook, officially published last September, which does not contain these types of questions.

Two months later, Ofsted inspected two Christian schools, Grindon Hall in Sunderland and Durham Free School.

Grindon Hall says that inspectors questioned ten-year-olds about whether they knew what lesbians “did”, and if any of their friends felt trapped in the “wrong body”.

Governors at Durham Free School say inspectors asked pupils questions including “do you know anybody in the school who is gay?” A girl of around 12 was also allegedly asked if she was a virgin.

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