Jewish school downgraded in wake of new regulations

Fri, 31 Oct 2014

One of the Jewish schools whose pupils were “bullied” by Ofsted inspectors has been placed into special measures and criticised for failing to promote “British values” – as new regulations require.

Beis Yaakov High School for girls was downgraded by the schools regulator after a recent no-notice inspection.

The new regulations which require teachers to promote other religions and homosexual rights are already said to be having “disturbing consequences” for faith schools.

’Tolerance’

Ofsted’s inspection report on Beis Yaakov said that there were, “major gaps in students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

“Students are not provided with sufficient opportunities to learn about or understand people of other faiths or cultures.”

It added that: “The school does not promote adequately students’ awareness and tolerance of communities which are different to their own.”

’Bullying’

However, sources at the Board of Deputies of British Jews said that it expected Ofsted to “take into account religious and cultural sensibilities when conducting inspections”.

Earlier this month, Ofsted were accused of leaving Jewish school pupils “traumatised” after inspectors asked a number of inappropriate questions.

Pupils were asked whether or not they had a boyfriend, if they understood how babies are made and how many gay people they knew.

’Upset’

One year nine pupil said she felt “uncomfortable and upset” after inspectors told pupils that a “woman might choose to live with another woman and a man could choose to live with a man, it’s up to them”.

Another girl in year eleven said: “They made us feel threatened about our religion. They asked ‘Do you have friends from other religions?’ They asked this many times until we answered what they wanted us to say.”

The National Association of Jewish Orthodox Schools said it was “appalled” by the questions asked.

Concerns

The Christian Institute is supporting a small school in Reading which has also fallen foul of the new regulations. Trinity Christian School was told it could face closure for failing to uphold “British values”.

The governors of Trinity Christian School have written to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan urging her to review the standards.

The Institute is preparing a judicial review of the regulations, stating that they are “invasive and unjustified”.