27 April 2016

Staff segregated by gender at some faith schools, says chief inspector

Teachers and other staff at some independent faith schools are being segregated by gender, the chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has said in a letter to the education secretary.

In one case, staff at Rabia girls and boys school in Luton were segregated during whole-school training, with men in one room while the session was broadcast to women in a separate part of the school.

In a separate incident, the school insisted on segregating male and female staff using a dividing screen across the middle of the room during an initial meeting with inspectors from the schools watchdog, Ofsted.

“This meeting was not carried out in a religious setting, but in a classroom,” said Wilshaw, who warned that such segregation flouts the requirement to promote fundamental British values in schools.

Rabia is a Muslim day school with 160 pupils. It has received a series of adverse Ofsted judgments. Last year, the school was criticised for treating boys and girls differently, limiting girls to sewing and knitting in design and technology classes. [The Guardian] Read more