UK

Ofsted Fails Church Of England School For Not Monitoring 'Islamic Extremism' In Sixth-Form Society

20/11/2014 13:24 GMT | Updated 20/11/2014 13:59 GMT

A previously "outstanding" Church of England school has reportedly failed an Ofsted inspection over concerns about a sixth-form Islamic society and gender segregation in the playground.

An inspection report by the schools watchdog due to be published this week will place Sir John Cass Foundation and Redcoat Church of England School in Tower Hamlets, London, into special measures, according to the Independent.

It is believed the school did not monitor online activities of the society, which included a Facebook page with links to radical preachers and a YouTube channel, thus failing on safeguarding duties.

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Sir John Cass’s Foundation and Red Coat school

It follows investigations into so-called Trojan Horse allegations that schools in Birmingham were subject to a takeover plot by hardline Muslim groups.

The school is the first institution outside Birmingham to fail on such a safeguarding issue since the apparent plot was uncovered.

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The Stepney-based school was rated outstanding in its previous Ofsted inspection and the latest report comes as part of inspections into six other independent Muslim schools in the Tower Hamlets area.

But sources spoke out, saying Ofsted was ‘taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut’ and overreacting to the issue.

A local headteacher, who would not be named, told The Independent: ‘This is in no way “Trojan Horse mark two”.

‘This is very, very, very different to Birmingham," the source said. "There are no governors wanting to take over the school and introduce hardline Islamic practices.’

Other defenders of the school told the newspaper that children had been segregated by gender in the playground from some time, including when the school achieved its "outstanding" rating.

Robert McCulloch-Graham, Tower Hamlets Council's director of education, did not address the report in particular, but said the local authority would work to make improvements where necessary.

He told the paper: "What we can say is that where any issues in our maintained schools do occur, we have a strong record of intervening swiftly and successfully to address them. As is common practice, we will work with the leadership of this school to address any issues identified by Ofsted.

"We are working closely with Ofsted and the Department for Education after their recent inspections and we will, of course, act on the findings of the reports."