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View Full Version : Rural British Primary School Denied Top Ofsted Grade Because It Lacks 'Diversity'


Kahn
December 22nd, 2016, 02:03 AM
A high-performing primary school has missed out on Ofsted’s top grade after being judged 'too English.'

Pupils at the rural primary lacked ‘first-hand experience of the diverse make-up of modern British society’, declared the watchdog.

However, around 97 per cent of the population in the town to which the school belongs are white.

Ofsted refused it an ‘outstanding’ rating and graded it ‘good’ instead.

It said the school was failing to do enough to ensure pupils understand the ‘cultural diversity of modern British society’ and experience ‘first-hand interaction with counterparts from different backgrounds’.

But parents complained Middle Rasen Primary in Market Rasen was being punished for factors outside its control and had effectively been told it was ‘too English’.

The row is the latest controversy over new rules on teaching ‘British values’ introduced in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal, in which Muslim extremists tried to infiltrate schools in Birmingham.

Schools are required to ‘actively promote’ British values such as democracy, tolerance, mutual respect, individual liberty and the rule of law.

However the rules – and Ofsted’s enforcement of them – have brought criticism from some schools and faith groups. A Christian school in Reading says it was warned it could face closure for failing to invite imams and other religious leaders to take assemblies.

In another case, a Roman Catholic school in East Anglia was marked down for failing to do enough to ‘teach students about the dangers of extremism and radicalisation’, although the report was later withdrawn.

The 104-pupil Middle Rasen Primary, in the town of Market Rasen on the edge of the Lincolnshire wolds, was inspected last month.

Ofsted praised it for high standards of teaching and leadership and the courteous and enthusiastic behaviour of pupils. But the inspector said: ‘The large majority of pupils are White British. Very few are from other ethnic groups, and currently no pupils speak English as an additional language.’

It said the school should ‘extend pupils’ understanding of the cultural diversity of modern British society by creating opportunities for them to have first-hand interaction with their counterparts from different backgrounds’.

Yesterday parents attacked the Ofsted decision. Mother-of-two Kirsty Egen, 29, said: ‘I think it’s ridiculous. It’s a brilliant school.

‘Why would the school spend time on trying to teach the children how to integrate with people who aren’t even there? It seems very vindictive to just mark them down for something they cannot change.’

Jodie Miller, 35, whose daughter Dylann, six, attends the school added: ‘We are a small rural community, there just aren’t many children here from different backgrounds.’

Julia Weeks, 47, who has a son of ten at the school, said: ‘To mark a school down for something they cannot control is crackers. If there were more people from ethnic minorities around then maybe you could have a complaint, but there just aren’t.’ Father-of-one Benjamin Bannan, 33, added: ‘It’s outrageous that a British school can he punished for being too British.’

Head teacher Melonie Brunton said the school was now looking to partner with an inner-city school in an effort to comply with Ofsted’s recommendation.

‘Ofsted are very keen on British values,’ she said. ‘We were very pleased to have got the very positive comments. We are a rural Lincolnshire school and that is always going to be an issue.’

Ofsted said: ‘We judged this school to be good across all areas, including teaching quality and pupils’ behaviour. All schools must teach pupils about fundamental British values.’

Father-of-one Benjamin Bannan, 33, added: 'Its outrageous that a British school can be punished for being too British. It just doesn't make sense at all.

'We would welcome people from different cultures with open arms I'm sure - but there just aren't any ethnic minorities around here.'

Ms Brunton said the school would look to look to partner with an inner-city school to develop their understanding of multicultural issues.

She said: 'We would have liked to be 'outstanding' but we were very pleased to have got the very positive comments.

'We all worked really hard - everybody, the staff and the pupils have worked hard.

'I think the problem is that we are a rural Lincolnshire school and that is always going to be an issue. I agree that we could do more and we are trying to get a partnership with an inner city school.'

The head said school trips usually involve visits to the countryside, such as farms and zoos.

But they recently had a trip to Derby, which included a mosque visit as well as touring the Rolls-Royce factory.

She added: 'We try to do things but not enough. I felt the Ofsted comments were a backlash against the Birmingham Trojan Horse issue and Ofsted are very keen on British values.'

Reverend Charles Patrick, who was head of the governors at the time of the report, added: 'There is always more that you can do and maybe now we look at twinning the school with ones from other minority areas or something like that.

'But this is a rural area, like 80 per cent of the country, we don't have many non white residents. Perhaps it would be a different matter if we were in the middle of London or Manchester or something.'

Tory MP for Gainsborough Sir Edward Leigh said: 'This is political correctness gone mad.

'Middle Rasen Primary School is an outstanding school by any standards, and Melonie Brunton is a brilliant headteacher - I back the school and its head one-hundred percent.

'Just last week I wrote to Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, objecting strenuously to the new so-called 'equality' regulations she is implementing in schools.

'Conservatives have always stood for freeing our schools from the deadening hand of state-enforced orthodoxy.

'Why there has been such a massive U-turn under Nicky Morgan is inexplicable to me.

'Multiculturalism is an irrelevance in Lincolnshire with its low number of ethnic minorities, who are already welcomed and well-integrated into our local communities, as they should be.'

A spokesman for Ofsted reiterated that it was not the only factor in depriving the school of its 'outstanding' rating.

He said: 'We judged this school to be good across all areas including leadership and management, teaching quality, and pupils' behaviour and safety.

'All schools must teach pupils about fundamental British values including mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

'That way they will be prepared for the future wherever they go.'

(Source (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2840796/Rural-school-denied-grade-Ofsted-inspectors-s-English-not-diverse-enough.html))

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Thoughts?

Microcosm
December 22nd, 2016, 03:30 PM
Sigh.

This is a poor decision on the part of the scorers.

This sort of thing always seems pretty racist imo. The decision implies that other "cultures" and by that they likely mean races, are inherently different than the "English" or white race in some way that makes them have some special value. I don't really get that. If they both live in English society, they are probably similar enough to be considered not so differently.

Porpoise101
December 22nd, 2016, 03:39 PM
This is pretty stupid as it is outside the school's control. It is just based on location. This is just free points for areas with more minority groups, and that does not really assess the quality of teaching and learning.

However, I do understand the meaning of the markdown. If you don't have real world, person-to-person interactions with people who come from different backgrounds, you aren't prepared as a student. That person who says 'multiculturalism is an irrelevance' is pretty stupid. Does that person honestly think that these students (who are high performing) will just sit around in this village? I think that is a silly sentiment.

That being said, providing a social environment is just one of the many functions of a school. It shouldn't be what determines the success or failure of a school.

Vlerchan
December 22nd, 2016, 04:18 PM
The irony here is delicious. As implied, the conservatives introduces this scoring in response to school teaching Islamic orthodoxy; requiring schools embraced pluralism was a means of indirectly attacking insular religious schools, like the Sunni Islam ones.

Someone in Ofsted clearly didn't get that memo when they decided to turn it on the English.

The Byrd
December 22nd, 2016, 04:50 PM
Because God forbid an English school has English people... Oh wait, I mean Allah.

Uniquemind
December 24th, 2016, 05:00 PM
The irony here is delicious. As implied, the conservatives introduces this scoring in response to school teaching Islamic orthodoxy; requiring schools embraced pluralism was a means of indirectly attacking insular religious schools, like the Sunni Islam ones.

Someone in Ofsted clearly didn't get that memo when they decided to turn it on the English.


And they didn't get that memo, possibly because of incompetence which COULD trace back to that adult's poor education. Irony at it's finest.