Ofsted has carried out a snap inspection of the school in Southwark archdiocese where governors were sacked and a gay author banned.
Southwark archdiocese has defended its decision to ban gay author Simon James Green from John Fisher Catholic school in Purley, insisting it the school is “an inclusive centre of learning that allows young people to flourish”.
The Department for Education is looking into the dispute in relation to the school’s duties to teach that “everybody has the right to be treated with dignity and respect” under the Equality Act.
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning at Croydon, said: “We deplore the decision to cancel a visit from Simon James Green to John Fisher School, located in neighbouring Sutton and attended by young people from our borough. Croydon is committed to an inclusive, fair and equal society – there is no place for discrimination of any kind in our communities, nor in schools with Croydon pupils.
“We are also deeply concerned to learn that some members of the school governing board have been dismissed. We will be working with our counterparts in the London Borough of Sutton to understand from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark what has happened and to seek assurances about the wellbeing of our pupils within the school.”
In this week’s edition of The Tablet, Mike Craven, chair of The Tablet and former chair of governors of Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, warns: “This disastrous episode will inflict deep and disastrous damage on Catholic education. It reinforces public perceptions of Catholics as prejudiced and Catholic schools places where teachers are second-guessed by bishops and bureaucrats and laity are ignored and marginalised.” He says it will lead taxpayers and politicians to question why hundreds of millions of pounds of public money are being spent to allow a religious institution to reinforce public prejudice against a vulnerable group of young people.
In its leader column this week, The Tablet questions whether the Church’s prohibition on the physicial expression of love outside heterosexual marriage is still tenable.
And in The Tablet’s letters pages, some volunteers for the pastoral care of LGBT Catholics write that the decision to disinvite the author “will create fear amongst LGBT young people and teachers”, may lead to disengagement from the Church and possibly lead to mental health problems.