Jewish parents are warning that many families may leave the UK if the Government presses ahead with guidance covering same-sex relationships and gender reassignment.
Members of the strictly Orthodox Haredi community now say that they would rather leave the country than see their children taught “alternative lifestyles”.
The Christian Institute has said the guidance “confuses respect for people (which is always right) with respect for beliefs or behaviour.”
The advice for independent schools states they will not meet standards if they suggest “that same-sex marriages or civil partnerships should not be recognised as being lawful unions under civil law.”
But lawyers for one Jewish parent wrote to Damien Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education, to warn: “Many members of the community would choose to leave the United Kingdom for a more hospitable jurisdiction rather than comply with such an obligation to mention homosexuality or gender reassignment in a positive context at school.”
Ofsted is also insisting that the schools teach about homosexuality and transgender issues despite them holding opposing religious beliefs.
The education watchdog’s head, Amanda Spielman, has accused Orthodox Jewish schools of “accommodating intolerance”.
Head teachers are seriously concerned. One, whose female pupils were subjected to intrusive personal questions about sex following a complaint from secularist campaigners Humanists UK, wrote to the Prime Minister to object.
“It is hugely disappointing that a fringe pressure group can influence so-called independent bodies in this way. Our community has been targeted consistently and our staff and students are being intimidated by the deliberate disregard for cultural sensitivities.”
In 2017 Vishnitz Girls School faced the threat of closure for refusing to teach its young girls about transgender issues. Despite Ofsted describing the school as “clearly focused on teaching pupils to respect everybody, regardless of beliefs and lifestyle”, it failed the independent schools standards.
And Rabbi Anthony Adler, from Beis Soroh Schneirer, said: “We teach our children British values such as the rule of law, mutual respect and tolerance, but we will not spell out alternative lifestyles.”
John Denning, Education Officer at The Christian Institute, said: “The Department of Education must respect the religious liberty of parents and the schools they choose to teach about moral issues in accordance with their faith, and not impose secular humanist values.”