Let’s end religious extremism

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman received ‘venomous’ abuse after questioning faith schools

Amanda Spielman said she had been the victim of some “pretty venomous stuff”, receiving “nasty tweets” and threatening emails from what she believed to be a “mixture of Islamic extremists and the hard left”.

“I’m not easily bruised. I don’t fall over when I see a load of nasty tweets pointed at me, but there has been some pretty venomous stuff,” she told The Times.

“I had an email, which was the most threatening one, which was along the lines of, ‘We know where you live and we can get you any time we want to’.”

Well, let’s face it, she was talking about Islamic schools, but the principle extends more widely. It’s not just Islamic schools that are teaching prejudice as opposed to an education, it’s religious schools in general.

Now, what she says is that these religious schools aren’t teaching “British values”. It is not entirely clear what she means by “British values”. She has said as reported in, Schools must teach British values, says head of Ofsted:

“Pupils should learn how we became the country we are today and how our values make us a beacon of liberalism, tolerance and fairness.”

Religious schools aren’t exactly beacons of liberalism, tolerance and fairness. They are the exact opposite. I’m not arguing they should be abolished, though maybe I should be. I’m just saying that if we tolerate them to exist, we should insist on a secular core of education, whether it is taught in those schools or in public schools outside them.

They should not be the sole or primary modes of education. And death threats against people who promote secular education should be investigated and prosecuted.

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