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Muslim schools to conduct own inspections
Private Muslim schools have been given the power to police themselves, despite widespread fears over religious segregation, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
In a controversial move, they have won the right to appoint their own Ofsted-style inspectors. A new independent watchdog has been set up to be more "sensitive' toward Islamic education.
The decision comes despite concerns some private Muslim schools are already failing to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain.
Barry Sheerman, the chairman of the Commons schools select committee, told MPs last month local councils were finding it "difficult to know what is going on in some faith schools - particularly Muslim schools".
But religious leaders defended the move, saying the curriculum and religious traditions in faith schools demand specialist knowledge.
Under present legislation, most state and private schools are inspected by Ofsted, the Government's standards watchdog. The Association of Muslim Schools and the Christian Schools' Trust applied to the Government to set up a separate inspectorate for a small number of private faith schools.
The Association of Muslim Schools and the Christian Schools' Trust applied to the Government to set up a separate inspectorate for a small number of private faith schools.
The Daily Telegraph has learned the Department for Children, Schools and Families [DCSF] approved plans for the Bridge Schools' Inspectorate last week, giving it the power to inspect about 60 private Muslim schools and 50 Christian schools.
Ofsted will still regularly vet the new inspectorate, but the move has been criticised.
Michael Gove, the shadow children's secretary, said the Tories supported faith schools for parents who want them. "It's important, however, to ensure that we build a society which is cohesive and make a success of diverse Britain."
This is a very bad idea. I know plenty of good Church of England and Catholic Schools which are all within their LA system; I have had no direct contact with them but I know that there are Jewish Schools working well in the same way. I am very suspicious as to why schools, be they Christian or Islamic should want to opt out of mainstream inspection.