Ofsted downgrades American School in London over focus on social justice | Schools

One of London’s main impartial day faculties has been downgraded by Ofsted after inspectors criticised a few of its instructing for focusing extra on social justice than topic data, and a tradition the place “alternative opinions are not felt welcome”.

The American School in London (ASL), which costs annual charges of £32,650 for older pupils, was beforehand rated “outstanding” however slipped two grades to “requires improvement” – simply above “inadequate” – after inspection in December.

Ofsted inspectors had been despatched in after the ASL featured in a collection of newspaper articles, which reported that folks had been involved a few “woke agenda” on the college and had complained youngsters had been being “indoctrinated” in vital race principle.

Most not too long ago the Jewish Chronicle reported the varsity in St John’s Wood was on the centre of a row a few Holocaust Memorial Day presentation, which highlighted “outspoken” Jews of a radical leftwing background who “had no relevance to the Holocaust whatsoever”.

The Ofsted report, printed on the varsity’s web site, discovered a lot to reward in regards to the college with its first-class assets and well-qualified lecturers. The inspectors mentioned the varsity, which teaches four- to 18-year-olds, has excessive expectations and “gives strong importance to equality and inclusion”.

The report added: “Sometimes, however, teaching places much more weight on the school’s approach to social justice than on learning subject-specific knowledge and skills.”

In lower-school social research, inspectors identified that pupils “spend much time repeatedly considering identity (including analysing their own characteristics) rather than learning, for example, geographical knowledge”.

The instructing of middle-school humanities, together with English, additionally led to a give attention to social points fairly than topic data and expertise, the report mentioned, leaving some pupils feeling underprepared for the following stage of their education.

And whereas there was reward for the extracurricular actions on provide, the report raised considerations in regards to the college’s use of “affinity groups”, wherein pupils focus on world points, which in some instances had been restricted to under-represented teams.

“Some parents and pupils feel that this approach is divisive when seen alongside some teachers’ stridently expressed views on social justice,” the report mentioned

The report mentioned the varsity’s trustees had already taken motion to take care of considerations raised across the promotion by some employees of political and partisan views and there was a change in management.

It concluded: “While recognising the importance of promoting equalities, a significant minority of parents and pupils told inspectors that a culture has developed where alternative opinions are not felt welcome.

“In some classrooms, teaching has not allowed for questioning or for the balanced presentation of opposing views. Leaders and trustees should ensure that teaching does not preclude tolerance of those with different views, particularly where specific partisan or political views are presented.”

An ASL spokesperson mentioned: “ASL has been rated outstanding in all of our previous inspections. This review, however, was unusual in scope and substance, with a narrow focus on some aspects of our programme.

“Despite meeting 96% of the Independent School standards, our rating was downgraded two levels. We do not think this rating reflects the quality of our school or excellence of our teaching.”

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