New Govt standards are ‘curb on freedom’ – Jewish critic

New Government standards represent a “curb on freedom long enjoyed by faith schools”, a commentator writing in The Jewish Chronicle has said.

Journalist Simon Rocker highlighted criticism of recent Ofsted inspections in faith schools.

The inspections took place around the time that the new school standards for England were introduced.

Disturbing consequences

Serious concerns about the standards have been raised and The Christian Institute has warned that they are already having “disturbing consequences”.

Rocker said: “Over the past few weeks, we have reported growing concerns about a possible backlash against faith schools, following the so-called “Trojan Horse” inquiry”.

Rocker refers to inspections in Jewish schools in September, where Ofsted were accused of ‘bullying’ Jewish schoolgirls.


The schools’ regulator was reported to have left school pupils “traumatised” after questioning them on sex, relationships and same-sex marriage.

Commenting on the questions Rocker points out: “No Orthodox school would teach that gay or lesbian sexual relationships were a valid alternative in Judaism”.

Quizzing children about gay marriage in Orthodox schools “marks a curb on the freedom long enjoyed by faith schools”, he added.

Overstepping the mark

The journalist also highlighted criticism of Ofsted’s implementation of the new regulations by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

He said that the Board believe, “Ofsted may be overstepping the mark in its interpretation of the guidelines”.

According to the Board head teachers “have the right to ask inspectors about what kind of questions they intend to put to children”.

They are then allowed to “object if they think these would contravene the school’s religious ethos”.

British values

This latest criticism comes after a Christian school was told by Ofsted that it could face closure for failing to promote ‘British values’.

Trinity Christian School, a small independent school in Reading, has written to the Education Secretary urging her to review the controversial new education standards.

The school was told that representatives of other faiths should be invited to lead assemblies and lessons.

The Christian Institute is supporting the school as it challenges the Department for Education over the new standards.

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