10 October 2014, The Tablet

Ofsted pulls report that chided Suffolk school for its lack of anti-radicalisation teaching

A report that criticised a Catholic secondary school for failing to make pupils aware of the dangers of radicalism has been withdrawn by Ofsted.

The report was the result of a surprise inspection at St Benedict’s in Bury St Edmunds that appears to have been prompted by new policies introduced in the wake of Birmingham’s Trojan Horse affair.

St Benedict’s head Hugh O’Neill said he believed the school had been targeted for the inspection because its website lacked a statement on citizenship.

But he was surprised when the resulting Ofsted report pulled the school up for failing to make students aware of the dangers of extremism and radicalism.

“It is not made clear how all students are prepared for life and work in modern Britain,” said the report. Leadership and management could be made more effective by “making clearer the contribution to students’ preparation

for life and work in modern Britain and the dangers of extremism”.

Two thirds of pupils at St Benedict’s are Roman Catholic, and around 75 per cent are white British. “We did not consider ourselves to be the sort of school that fitted into the concerns [raised by the Trojan Horse events],” Mr O’Neill said.

A statement from Ofsted said inspectors were paying greater attention to ensuring that schools provided a broad and balanced curriculum. “However, inspectors are also required to take account of the context of the school and the communities they serve. It is important that we get the balance right. In this instance, the regional director was concerned that insufficient account had been taken of the school’s context.”

St Benedict’s was due to be re-inspected at the end of this week, and a revised report will be issued in the next few days.

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