THE Government's "British Values" agenda has been hijacked by
groups who seek to ban all religion in schools, the Association of
Christian Teachers (ACT) has said, in a statement endorsed at its
annual general meeting in Birmingham last month.
The introduction of the anti-extremist agenda into OFSTED
inspections had already resulted in challenges to mainstream faith
schools, including church schools and nurseries run by Christian
groups, the statement drawn up by ACT's chief executive, Clive
"We must not let those who want to see faith and religion
removed from every school achieve this through the back door of the
extremism agenda," the statement said.
The 800-strong, mainly conservative Evangelical members of the
ACT include teachers, governors, and school support staff; a
further 1800 supporters receive the organisation's weekly
Mr Ireson said that he would be writing to the Secretary of
State for Education, Nicky Morgan, and to her Labour Shadow,
Tristram Hunt, seeking their commitment to maintained "faith"
schools. He will also seek reassurances that the Government and its
successor will retain RE; a daily act of Christian worship; and the
right of parents to withdraw their children from sex and
relationships education that conflicts with their beliefs. ACT will
also seek ministers' support for the right of teachers to say that
they are Christian, and to wear a symbol of their faith.
Last month, OFSTED withdrew for "quality assurance checks" the
report of a snap inspection of St Benedict's RC Secondary School,
Bury St Edmunds, in which inspectors downgraded the school's rating
to "Requires improvement".
The report had expressed inspectors' concern that younger pupils
were insufficiently aware of religious extremism and
radicalisation, and suggested that they were not being prepared for
life in modern Britain.