Jews challenge Ofsted over threats to religious values

Thousands of Jewish people have called on the Government to protect their religious freedom, in the face of opposition from Ofsted.

Some 7,000 Orthodox Jews met in London to challenge the ‘British values’ ideology.

Following on from the mass meeting, Roman Catholic author and journalist Catherine Pepinster warned that Ofsted must respect religious beliefs.


Rabbi David Frand, president of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, noted the privilege of living in a “tolerant country with a Government that has repeatedly pledged to safeguard religion and religious practice”.

But, he said, “there are influential secular forces seeking to impinge on our rights”.

He said the meeting – where rabbis, parents and teachers joined together in prayer – was held in the hope that they could continue to practise their religious beliefs “for generations to come”.

Another Jewish community leader, Levi Schapiro, said it was a “sad reality that in modern Britain we need to lobby Government to protect our traditional religious values”.

‘Toxic’ British values

Earlier in June, the Jewish Leadership Council challenged the ‘toxic’ British values phrase.

It said: “Rightly or wrongly, for many, the term has negative connotations.”

“Promoting why it is something which defends everyone is crucial to detoxifying the term.”


Last year, Vishnitz Girls School was failed by the education watchdog for refusing to endorse LGBT issues.

And earlier this year, it emerged that Ofsted’s inspection of a Jewish school had left young girls feeling “severely shaken”.

Girls at the Yesodey Hatorah school in London said they were made to feel extremely uncomfortable by the repeated ‘attacking’ questions they faced on sex.

Abortion as British value?

Writing yesterday for The Daily Telegraph, former editor of the Roman Catholic newspaper The Tablet Catherine Pepinster called for tolerance from Ofsted.

“Given that a local authority recently succeeded in banning Catholics protesting against abortion outside a clinic, could Ofsted soon be arguing that abortion is part of British values, and its merits be taught in all schools, including Catholic ones?”

She said all people deserve respect – including those with religious beliefs.

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