Amanda Spielman, head of Ofsted, in her first report this week, expressed concerns about persistently underachieving schools and, more controversially, several faith based schools '[which] seek to isolate young people from the mainstream, do not prepare them for life in Britain, or worse, actively undermine fundamental British values'.
I have always recoiled from the notion of 'British values', because there is nothing inherently British about universally accepted virtuous principles. But I am glad Spielman is turning over some sacred stones and exposing what goes on in state funded, independent and now, pop up, unregulated religious schools.
Inevitably the report provoked loud protests. Ofsted is apparently 'Islamaphobic,' 'Anti-Semitic', 'against Christ'. On the wilder shores of the internet, the inspectorate is branded 'communist' and 'evil'. And all because faith schools do not expect to be scrutinised or criticised.
Last year, I was invited to speak at a Muslim school in the Midlands. Saima, the teacher who wrote to me, praised my 'leadership qualities' and said she wanted her girls to meet a successful, Muslim female role model. Flattery gets to most people.
I agreed even though I fiercely oppose educational Apartheid. A part of me was looking forward to stirring things up a bit, getting the girls to challenge ideas and adults.
Most are brought up to obey and be 'good'. I have never been obedient or good. A second letter arrived asking me, please. to wear a long skirt and long sleeves and a headscarf, because that is 'the dress code'.
I withdrew and wrote a stern letter on why such schools and demands were unacceptable in a modern, liberal democracy. The teacher who invited me was sacked. Her in-laws blamed her and me for what happened. Her husband was supportive but became increasingly controlling. The marriage ended. The last time I spoke to Saima, she was working in a comprehensive where she felt free and like a 'proper teacher, not a prisoner'.
Some years ago I filmed in a secondary school in Leicester where girls wore cloaks, headscarves and face veils, all black. The head teacher told me they all chose to do so. Yeah, sure they did.
This is not simply another example of Muslim illiberalism, or evidence that 'they' can never belong in the west. Last year Ofsted found two Orthodox Jewish schools in North London with alarmingly low standards, where images of women were erased or obscured from books. The word 'Christmas' was also crossed out.
Children were taught in Yiddish only and girls learnt their god given role was to cook, clean, look after children and husbands. In some Christian fundamentalist schools, children are taught that gays are impure and girls must submit to men.
Inspectors have found corporeal punishment and even exorcisms carried out in the name of God and education. In a couple of these places, young girls were brainwashed into accepting that marriage to much older men was a Christian requirement.
It would be easy to blame the educators, communities and families who together are controlling the minds and choices of children and teenagers. But they can do all this because they have been given the money and right by the state. Right wing politicians and newspapers have pushed for more parent power. This is the result.
Even in 2017, sex education is denied to children because their mums and dads think sex should never be spoken about. In France, the secular state has taken a tougher line.
In school, the children are liberated from parental interference. That's how it should be. But Britain has never separated faith and state and the result is a terrible muddle.
Ten years ago I co-founded British Muslims for Secular Democracy. All trustees are practising Muslims who believe in integrated, non-denominational, liberal education. That brings upon us the wrath of conservative Muslims, Jews and Christians, and , at times, politicians.
In 2015, the Commission on Religion and Belief in Public Life warned that faith schools were "socially divisive". We know that well enough from what has been happening in Northern Ireland over centuries. Catholic and Protestant kids still do not mix over there.
Our governments are reproducing that model on the mainland. There are over 20,000 tax funded faith-based schools and academies in Britain, more than there have ever been. Blair, Brown, the Tories and Coalition governments thought such schools imparted morality and got students higher grades.
They also kept religious voters on side. With Bishops and Rabbis and more Muslims in the Lords, we can expect this sector to grow. In 2011, in a survey, 58% of Britons said they wanted these schools abolished.
Rather than picking on individual schools, Ofsted must put pressure on our government. No more faith schools. Phase out the existing ones over the next decade. Without such a radical overhaul, faith schools will continue to indoctrinate younger generations and compromise their futures.