Parents force Ofsted out of faith school for asking children about same-sex relationships

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Ofsted has been forced to abandon the inspection of an Islamic primary school in Luton after parents complained to the headteacher that officials were asking students about their views on gay people.

More than 20 parents complained to the headteacher of Olive Tree Primary, Abdul Qadeer Baksh, about the nature of the questioning, many were angry that they had not been asked for parental consent.

Mr Baksh said Ofsted had not informed him about the questions prior to them being asked.

The Guardian reports he said: “Children went home and told their parents about it, I didn’t know that this had happened until I started getting calls about it.

“Parents told the inspectors that it was discrimination and it encroached on their rights.”

Farast Latif, who is the chair of the school trust running Olive Tree Primary, said: “One of the parents said to them, and all of us agreed, this is a safeguarding issue, we are not comfortable about adults speaking to our children about issues of sexuality.

“We took statements from children and most of them said that they were asked to explain what the word gay means, also what they think of gay people.”

Several parents threatened to take their children out of the school – unless Ofsted halted its inspection.

Ghulam Shah, a parent of one of the children interviewed by the inspectors, said his 10-year-old son was upset by the way the questioning was carried out.

“He was sat with a male adult who looked him in the eye and said, ‘What do you know about gays?’ What that made him do, it made him panic, and he said ‘I don’t want to continue this conversation,’ because he felt scared, intimidated,” said Mr Shah. “It’s horrible for a child to be in a room with somebody they’ve never met before, who’s not with a teacher and not with a parent.”
The education watchdog yesterday confirmed it would no longer be continuing with its inspection of Olive Tree Primary – but that it had acquired enough information to complete its report.

An Ofsted spokesperson said: “As part of any school inspection, inspectors will ask pupils about the effectiveness of the school’s actions to prevent and tackle discriminatory and derogatory language.”

In April, an Islamic school in Birmingham criticised Ofsted for asking staff about how they would deal with a gay child.