EARLIER this summer a row broke out at an evangelical Christian boarding school in Oxfordshire over its teaching of LGBT issues.
Methods used at Kingham Hill School, near Chipping Norton, had been criticised the previous October by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).
The inspectors said the school ‘must ensure that it actively promotes principles which enable pupils with protected characteristics, notably those who are LGBT, to develop their self-confidence and self-esteem’.
On June 28 this year, the Times reported that a rainbow LGBT flag had been placed on a lectern at the school that had previously been used to read out passages from the Bible. LGBT flags displayed in the school’s library were taken down for an open day, but put back up afterwards.
James Beal, the paper’s social affairs editor, said staff had been instructed to make changes following the ISI report. But parents were now criticising the school, which charges up to £30,000 a year for international students to board. One reportedly accused Kingham Hill of being ‘embarrassed to be a Christian school’.
The story included no comment from the school, but in a follow-up report, the Premier Christian News website was told: ‘Kingham Hill School remains fully committed to its Christian ethos, and we do not accept that this is in any way undermined by our efforts to ensure we provide a genuinely inclusive, tolerant, friendly and welcoming environment for all of our pupils.’
So allowing LGBT activists to puff Pride seems to have been seen by the school authorities as a way of complying with the ISI’s ‘action points’.
The Times reported that ‘the changes have coincided with the Reverend Nick Seward, headmaster for the past 14 years, stepping down’.
Mr Seward is on the steering committee of the orthodox Christian Coalition for Education, whose president is the former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, who recently joined the Roman Catholic Church.
The CCFE is linked with the conservative Christian campaign group Christian Concern, whose head of education, Steve Beegoo, is also on the steering group. An attempt to contact Mr Seward via CCFE did not yield an interview.
Though the reasons for his departure are not known, it is clear he would have conscientiously objected to the promotion of Pride at the school.
The ISI report noted that ‘the teaching of same-sex relationships is taught as a stand-alone unit rather being returned to multiple times so that the issue can be repeated with age-appropriate content. This means that pupils are not adequately taught about these relationships’.
Despite this alleged failing, the inspectors were clear that Kingham Hill under Mr Seward’s leadership provided a first-class education.
‘The quality of the pupils’ academic and other achievements is excellent,’ the ISI report said. ‘Pupils’ knowledge, skills and understanding are excellent. They take an active role in their learning and follow instructions well.’
So, what might be the lesson learned from the Kingham Hill saga for socially conservative parents with a traditional view of marriage – especially orthodox Christians – who voted Conservative in 2019?
It might be to note the zealotry for identity politics in the ISI report and to ask themselves why they would vote Tory again, given that a Conservative government is doing nothing to protect children from the imposition of neo-Marxist identity politics in both private and state schools. Indeed, on the watch of a ‘Conservative’ government, this baleful philosophy has tightened its grip on our education system.
By the time children go back to school this autumn, the Conservative Party is due to have a new leader and thus the country a new Prime Minister. Is it not culturally significant that both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak were senior Cabinet ministers when the ISI published its report on Kingham Hill?
Though Attorney-General Suella Braverman’s speech about the evils of schools promoting transgender ideology is a significant public service, the reality has to be faced that the Conservatives have been just as zealous for educational wokery as the Labour Party.
So, why not contribute to the electoral annihilation of the Conservative Party at the next general election and its eventual replacement with a genuinely conservative alternative?