IT IS vitally important for Christians in Britain to stand up for their faith, the Chief Inspector of Schools and head of OFSTED, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has told teachers.
Sir Michael said that Christians in the UK were confronted with rising intolerance from secularists at home, while Islamic extremists were persecuting others overseas.
In the light of such problems, church schools across the UK had a crucial part to play in transmitting good morals to children, as well as such Christian values as tolerance and compassion, he told the annual conference of the Catholic Association of Teachers, Schools and Colleges, which was held in London last week.
“We are living,” Sir Michael said, “through an era marked by seemingly ever greater intolerance of other people’s beliefs, views, and ways of living,” he continued. “It has never been more important for Christians to stand up for their faith and for the gospel values of love, compassion, and tolerance.”
Sir Michael served as the head teacher of St Bonaventure’s Catholic Comprehensive School, in Forest Gate, east London, before he become Executive Principal of Mossbourne Community Academy, in Hackney.
At present, he is overseeing the imposition by OFSTED of an obligation to teach pupils such core “British values” as tolerance, and the respect for the rule of law.
OFSTED has faced complaints from a number of Christian schools, who are concerned that it is being exploited to promote a secularist agenda. Sir Michael addressed such criticisms in his speech. “It is perfectly legitimate for individuals and faith groups to hold firm to a particular set of values and beliefs, which may run counter to existing social norms,” the Daily Mail reported.
“What is not legitimate is to use these beliefs to condone or even encourage intolerance and discrimination.”