Where I come from, this is called corruption

I know I said I was stepping down to a once-a-week posting schedule, but I’ve just discovered something that makes me too angry to delay posting until Monday.

This is a link to an OFSTED report (that’s a government-mandated school inspection, international readers) of The Christian School of London. The school is praised thoroughly. The ACE curriculum comes off particularly well. [Don't know what ACE is? Here's a good place to start finding out]

The author of this report is Stephen Dennett. This name will be unfamiliar to you, but it is highly familiar to me, because as a child I had to sit through his talks at Accelerated Christian Education’s European Student Convention.

Stephen Dennett is the author of the new ACE British History PACEs. He is also the author of a book, A Case for Christian Education, which serves as an ode to the brilliance of ACE. Asking him to inspect ACE schools is like asking Rebekah Brooks to lead the Leveson Inquiry.

Doubtless Ofsted feel proud to have him on board. Few of their inspectors know about the ACE system, so they’ll be glad to have an expert on the team. And Ofsted don’t evaluate curricula, per se, only schools, so I’m sure they would say his ties to the system don’t matter.

The first page of a google search tells me that Dennett has also inspected several other ACE schools – Carmel Christian School, Beehive School, and Mustard School.

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About jonnyscaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on October 30, 2012, in Accelerated Christian Education, Education, Faith Schools, Fundamentalism, School of Tomorrow. Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Sometimes over here they call it a conflict of interest, but everywhere it is called corruption. There is something about believers and how much time they spend working on stuff they have self interest in. You know, rather than creating world class curricula they instead spend their time trying to create Christian curricula. If only that kind of dedication could be put to making the world a better place for the needy to live? If only they were able to defend the starving as strongly as they are able to defend Christmas. I mean damn, if only they were just a little bit more like their Christ…. if only.

  2. Is there anything we can do to highlight this in the media, this is just wrong

    • I agree. To be honest, I’ve lost interest in trying to get the media to take up this story. I’m working on other projects, and I highlight everything on my blog. I figure if I keep working eventually something will catch. Occasionally, it does. My piece on NARIC got a huge number of hits when Graham Linehan tweeted it, but despite calls to newspapers, only the Times Education Supplement ran anything, and that was a little buried piece.

      If someone else wants to fight that particular battle (and I really hope they do), I’ll support them with all the facts, data, and evidence and my disposal.

  3. My opinion of OFSTED – growing daily!
    FFS

  4. “…an excellent programme of personal, social and health education, which is delivered through the ACE curriculum, devotional sessions and one-to-one counselling by the church pastoral staff”
    “Many pupils have a strong personal faith and a good insight into biblical ethical values, which is evident in their conduct around the school.”
    “Daily periods of worship known as ‘devotions’ provide an outstanding contribution to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development by giving pupils extended opportunities to reflect on their own and others’ beliefs. This is supported by the school’s strong Christian philosophy, good Bible teaching and effective pastoral care”

    — Really worrying to read this on an OFSTED report. “good Bible teaching”. I also just don’t believe the word ‘others” should be in that last paragraph. Call me cynical

  5. This is outrageous. OFSTED’s web-page states boldly and explicitly that they are “independent and impartial”, and as a teacher myself this has really angered me. I have just written to the OFSTED complaints dept asking them to explain how Mr Dennett’s reports can be considered independent or impartial in any way whatsoever, given his background, and I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to say. Failing that, when it comes to trying to get the media’s attention, I’m up for giving that a go. I reckon The Guardian would surely be interested in something like this.

  6. This is truly awful. What a conflict of interest for anybody with ties to any curriculum company to have such a position in a governmental education agency, no less a company as awful as ACE.
    In the US, we have a saying that you have probably heard at some point that a situation like this is putting a fox in charge of a hen house. It truly fits here.

    The damage that he will do in this position is beyond imagination, I know, I too have been thorugh the ACE curriculum.

  7. Check these folks out:

    http://www.bridgeschoolsinspectorate.co.uk/home

    Government approved creationists inspecting creationists.

  8. I have dealt with an individual from Ofsted only once, she was quite fundamentalist in her views and this was pre A.C.E; after the old bag left, I got onto the Education Welfare Department and demanded who in hell had sent that offending organism to my home when they are solely assigned to vet schools, I bluntly told them that if I receive another visit from that old bag again I would kick her all the way down the stairwell and out of the block of flats and I would conveniently forget that she was a pensioner……as you can see, I do not hold them (Ofsted) in very high regard, they repeat rhetoric fodder, they are incapable of forming anything that resembles logic and I am convinced they have some kind of chip implanted in their brains with informationof stuff and nonsense running on a loop!

  9. Off-topic, but kinda related. This might interest you, Johnny.

  10. Good spot – this is totally unacceptable. In his letter to pupils he says “It was also very good to see how seriously you take your morning devotions and how well you read the Bible”. That’s outrageous – not independant at all! I suggest we write to MPs and post on facebook/twitter etc, etc

  11. Also there is an Ofsted Whistleblower hotline – we should use it – http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/contact-us/whistleblower-hotline

  12. Actually whistleblowers is just for employees – this is better http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/contact-us/how-complain

  13. “Ofsted takes complaints seriously and sees them as an important way of improving what we do”

  14. OK I’ve posted my complaint as follows: “The independence of the inspector is paramount. If they have a vested interest in the school their report will inevitably be biased in favour of the school and cannot be independent. This school is a faith school. The inspector Stephen Dennett is author of the book, “A Case for Christian Education” and is a proponent of Christian schools. I respectfully request that Stephen Dennett is barred from inspecting ACE schools.”

    • I e-mailed the OFSTED complaints team last week after reading this post – received a reply which stated: “Since your concerns relate to an inspection that took place over three months ago, I regret to inform you that your complaint will not be taken any further.” Annoying.

      However, they also said they’d forward the complaint to ‘Tribal’, who are the private company that employs OFSTED inspectors like Stephen Dennett.

      https://www.tribalinspections.co.uk/aboutus.jsp

      I think Tribal, who, as it happens, have a relatively comprehensive ‘connection and conflict of interest policy’, are probably the company we need to be taking issue with.

      • Thank you for doing this Adam, and for letting us know what you heard.

        I find it hilarious that Tribal are a comprehensive policy on conflict of interest. Below, I repost a comment from another blog on this same conflict of interest. If the commenter is correct, then Tribal’s policy looks pretty worthless to me.

        Ofted are no strangers to conflicts of interest. If a school is given a damning report from an Ofsted inspection, it may be forced to become a sponsored academy. Ofsted contract out school inspections in the south of England to a company called Tribal, who also… sell services to schools making the transition to academy status.

  15. I did get a more detailed reply – I’ve been working all hours and moving house so haven’t had chance to post but I will do…

  1. Pingback: OFSTED Report Highly Praises Accelerated Christian Education Schools… Written By A.C.E Author | Token Skeptic

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