Christian School Fears Closure Over British Rule Mandating Imams to Take Assemblies, 'Actively' Promoting Other Faiths

Schools in Britain, including those run by Christian groups, have been asked to comply with a new government policy promoting "British values" by inviting Imams and leaders from other religions to take assemblies. At least one school is facing closure, and has urged the government to revise the controversial rules.

An official body that inspects schools in Britain has told Trinity Christian School in Reading in England's Berkshire country that it must comply with the revised Independent School Standards regarding spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, else its continuation could be at risk, according to Daily Mail.

John Charles, chairman of governors at the school, has written to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, urging revision of the new regulations, which are aimed at combating extremism in the country.

Charles says the rules would prevent the school from "teaching in accordance with our Christian foundation."

The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills inspected the school this month and claimed it is not adequately meeting the "spiritual, moral, social and cultural development" of pupils.

Apart from the assembly requirements, the inspectors also asked the school to "actively" promote other faiths, and the principles of the Equality Act 2010. They also expressed "doubt over the school's continued existence," according to Charles.

However, last year, Ofsted found the school's provision for pupils' overall development as "excellent," saying, the students were "well prepared for life in modern, multicultural, democratic British society through the teaching of the Christian principle to 'love thy neighbor.'"

Simon Calvert, deputy director of The Christian Institute, a non-profit that is backing the school, says, "This is a small Christian school which has previously been rated 'good' overall and 'excellent' for its spiritual, moral, social and cultural provision. Christian schools like Trinity have a reputation for high standards and well-rounded pupils and they should have the freedom to continue doing what they've always done. Parents clearly want such schools to thrive, and the Department for Education should too."

The Institute says it warned the government at the beginning of the summer that these regulations would only be seen as "enforcing political correctness" in schools. "We also said there would be hostility to the religious, and ethical, viewpoints of religious schools."

The education department said "it would never happen, but since then we've been finding case after case where that's exactly what's going on," Calvert adds.

"What we need, is to go back to the drawing board to actually talk to stakeholders, talk to faith schools, find out where they're coming from and come up with a set of proposals which don't require them to promote beliefs which profoundly go against their own," he says.

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