An orthodox Jewish school has failed three Ofsted inspections because it refuses to endorse homosexuality and transsexualism, it has emerged.
The Telegraph reports that Vishnitz Girls School, a private school in Hackney, North London, has consistently been marked down by Ofsted for declining to give pupils a full understanding of ‘British values’. This is despite the fact that the school performs well in other areas.
Over the last two years, Ofsted has faced serious criticism for its British values drive, which some feel is used to punish schools with a religious designation.
Last month, Vishnitz Girls School failed its third inspection in less than a year, with Ofsted complaining that pupils are not “taught explicitly” about LGBT issues.
An official report by the schools’ regulator states that the school is aware of its obligation to abide by the Equality Act 2010 but chooses not to teach pupils about ‘gender reassignment’ and sexual orientation.
Gill Robins, of the campaign group Christians in Education, said the decision shows LGBT rights are held above the rights of others:
“All equalities are equal, but some equalities are more equal than others.”
“It doesn’t matter how good your school is in all other respects – simply refusing to teach very young children about gender reassignment will lead to your closure.
“That is the possible outcome for not only this school, but other Jewish schools which refuse, as a matter of faith, to teach about LGBT issues.”
In 2014, new schools’ guidance from the Department for Education led to a series of hostile inspections by Ofsted, which began to grade schools based on their allegiance to so-called ‘British values’.
British values are defined as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
Pupils at another Jewish school were reportedly left “traumatised” after being questioned by Ofsted on whether or not they had a boyfriend, how babies are made and whether they knew that two men could marry.
The following year, a Jewish Ofsted inspector warned that the regulator wants to clamp down on schools that “don’t conform to their ideology”.
Christian schools were also subjected to hostile inspections by Ofsted, with pupils at Grindon Hall Christian School and Durham Free School facing intrusive questioning on transsexualism, homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
Ofsted claimed that inspectors found evidence of homophobic behaviour in both schools – a claim rejected by staff, pupils and parents. Despite the outcry, The Durham Free School was closed down in April 2015 and Grindon Hall – one of the best performing schools in the North East – was rated inadequate.
The Christian Institute remains highly concerned about the Government’s British values drive, which includes plans to register and inspect Sunday schools.
To find out more, visit our Ofsted page.