Private religious school faces closure for not teaching pupils about LGBT issues

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A private Jewish girls school in Hackney, north London faces closure for not teaching students about homosexuality or gender reassignment.

This is the third time in a row The Vishnitz Girls School, which teaches pupils aged three to eight, has failed its Ofsted inspection for failing to meet government requirements.

The school does not give students a “full understanding of fundamental British values”, according to an Ofsted report.

Rainbow flag in pencil holder on office desk

The report said that pupils “are not taught explicitly about issues such as sexual orientation”.

“This restricts pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and does not promote equality of opportunity in ways that take account of differing lifestyles,” it continued.

The report went on to say that the school leaders “recognise the requirements to teach about the protected characteristics as set out in the Equality Act 2000.

Ofsted continued: “However, they acknowledge that they do not teach pupils about all the protected characteristics, particularly those relating to gender reassignment and sexual orientation.

“This means that pupils have a limited understanding of the different lifestyles and partnerships that individuals may choose in present-day society.”

In other sections, the report praised the school for the quality of education on offer to pupils.

Vishnitz school has 212 pupils and annual tuition fees are £5,200.

The Department of Education has the power to force the closure of any private schools that do not meet the requirements set by Ofsted.

Gill Robins from Christians in Education campaign group said in a blog post: “It’s now been made crystal clear by Ofsted that the Equality Act is actually hierarchical, with sexual orientation and gender reassignment at the apex of the Act.

“All equalities are equal but some equalities are more equal than others.

“Ofsted has revealed its true agenda. 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.”

Six other religious schools have also failed Ofsted inspections in recent weeks, including the Bnos Zion Bobov which made “no reference to protected characteristics for sexual orientation and gender reassignment”.

Jay Harman, an educations campaign manager at Humanists UK, told Schoolsweek: “If schools are not willing to meet the required standards and are found to be failing time and time again, proper sanctions must be implemented.”

The Ofsted report’s overall outcome following the inspection was that the school does not meet all of the independent school standards.