Friday, 23 January 2015

Is Ofsted safeguarding children ?

Ariella Wilkinson, 10, came home in tears after being questioned by Ofsted inspectors. Her mother Lena said the questioning was 'completely inappropriate'
A mother has told of her ten-year-old daughter’s devastation that her school was branded ‘intolerant’ after she gave the wrong answer when asked ‘what is a lesbian’. Ariella Wilkinson came home crying after Ofsted inspectors interrogated her about homosexuality during a visit to Grindon Hall Christian School.

The free school, in Sunderland, has now been put in special measures after an official report found that discrimination ‘persisted’ at the school because of ‘homophobic language’. Parents say inspectors ‘aggressively’ questioned just a few young children about lesbian relationships to form the basis of their judgement. They deny their children are intolerant and are compiling a petition against Ofsted’s decision, which has the potential to close down the well-performing faith school.

Ariella’s mother Lena, 46, said: ‘The questioning was completely inappropriate. They asked her what lesbians were, and whether she felt trapped in someone else’s body. ‘She said she didn’t want to talk about it, because she was embarrassed. She didn’t know why they were asking and she wasn’t prepared for it. ‘She’s been crying a lot over it. She thinks the bad Ofsted report is her fault.

She added: ‘We don’t think it’s fair to be asking children these questions. ‘They’re highly personal and they’re also irrelevant. Ofsted should be assessing the school on the quality of the education. This is beyond its remit.’

A Department for Education spokesperson said of Grindon Hall: ‘This school has been troubled for some time and Ofsted have been monitoring it carefully. This report shows that problems persist and there are continued concerns about leadership, the quality of learning and safeguarding.’

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