Jewish school rebuked for refusing to teach about homosexuality

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An ultra-Orthadox Jewish faith school has been censured by Ofsted after refusing to teach about homosexuality.

The Talmud Torah Machzikei Hadass School in Hackney is an independent Charedi school.

The school, which was previously rated ‘satisfactory’ by Ofsted, was flagged this week for failing to deliver an inclusive education.

The report states: The school’s ethos is based on its founding principle of ‘unconditional adherence to the Shulcan Aruch (code of Jewish law)’.

“This means that pupils are shielded from learning about particular differences, such as sexual orientation.

“In practice, across the curriculum this means that the explicit teaching of all the protected characteristics, specifically those that relate to gender or sexuality, is avoided.

Ofsted adds that the school’s leadership “do not intend to” start teaching about the issues, despite the requirement to do so.

The report continues: “Leaders and proprietors recognise the requirement to consider the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010, and are engaged in ongoing dialogue with government officials regarding this and other issues.

“However, they acknowledge that as they do not teach pupils explicitly about all the protected characteristics and do not intend to, the related standards continue to be unmet.”

It adds: “School leaders and proprietors have not ensured that all the standards are fully met and, as a result, the standards relating to leadership and management remain unmet.”

The report warned the school to take action or face reprimand.

It states: “The proprietor must ensure that the PSHE education encourages respect for people, paying particular regard to those who may have protected characteristics as set out in the 2010 Equality Act.

“The proprietor must ensure that the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils at the school actively promotes respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs; and enables them to contribute more widely to society through an appreciation of other cultures, with particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the 2010 Equality Act.”

The school could face further action if it ignores the requirement.

A separate ultra-Orthodox Jewish faith school faced punishment from the Department for Education earlier this year.

There is also an ongoing probe into concerns that as many as a thousand students are being taught in illegal unregistered Charedi schools across London.

As many as 20 illegal schools are thought to be operation across the capital, predominantly concentrated in Stamford Hill – many of which are registered as religious charities. It is a crime under UK law to operate an unregistered school.

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