Secretive sect wins over the inspectors

London, England - Christian sect which considers mobile telephones and computers to be the work of the devil has been praised by the Office for Standards in Education for providing good teaching.

The Exclusive Brethren has created an evangelical education empire of 43 private schools to teach children “away from damaging influences” in the state sector.

Schools run by the secretive sect, which models itself on strict Biblical teachings, are spread across the UK but are mainly in the south of England. Pupils are banned from using modern technology.

A spokesman for the Focus Learning Trust, an educational group set up by the Brethren, said it hoped to register its 43 schools with Ofsted by the end of the academic year.

All private schools have to be registered with either Ofsted or the Independent Schools Council to show that they meet national criteria, although they do not have to follow the national curriculum.

Ofsted has officially accredited six of the sect’s schools so far and been encouraged by their ethos and standards. It said the remainder were at “various stages in the process”.

David Bell, the chief inspector of schools, said in his annual report last month that teaching in Focus Learning schools visited so far was generally good.