Warnings of Trojan Horse over-reaction


Head teachers have warned that anti-extremism measures for schools in the wake of the Trojan Horse inquiries are rushed and could have unintended consequences.

Following reports that schools in Birmingham were under pressure from groups promoting a hardline Muslim ethos, the Department for Education published amended proposals for new standards covering independent schools and academies.

But the Christian Institute, which is threatening legal action, says that the regulations are so badly written it could leave schools open to challenges over how British values are interpreted.

The Christian Institute chief executive, Colin Hart, said: "They mistakenly advance the principle that political correctness equal British values. Accordingly they could be used to punish any school in the independent sector which has a religious ethos, a set of traditional beliefs, or who don't over-promote every minority group's world view."

Head teachers have also raised concerns about the proposed requirements.

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, warned that the proposals could make teachers reluctant to discuss controversial topics - and as a result, rather than protecting free speech, the proposals could inadvertently limit free speech.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said: "The Independent School Standards are designed to ensure every school prepares children for life in modern Britain. We make no apology for demanding high standards and the promotion of tolerance and respect of all faiths and cultures."

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