UK threatens to close Jewish school for not teaching LGBT agenda
A private haredi school with 212 students in northern London is in danger of being ordered to close after it failed its third inspection since February 2016 last month.
The school, which teaches haredi girls ages three to eight, was reported as not giving students “a full understanding of fundamental British values” because they do not teach the LGBT agenda.
Jewish law prohibits the homosexual act and only recognizes a marriage between a man and woman as a legitimate way to build a family.
According to the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services, and Schools (Ofsted), the girls “are not taught explicitly about issues such as sexual orientation. This restricts the pupils’ spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development and does not promote the equality of opportunity in ways that take account of differing lifestyles.”
School leaders “recognize the requirement to teach about the protected characteristics as set out in the Equality Act 2010,” the report continued. “However, they acknowledge that they do not teach pupils about all the protected characteristics, particularly those relating to gender re-assignment 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.”
This approach, they said, means the children are “shielded from learning about certain differences between people, such as sexual orientation. The school’s culture, however, clearly focused on teaching pupils to respect everybody, regardless of beliefs and lifestyles.”
Though the school is not expected to “promote” ideas about sexual orientation or gender reassignment, they must still “encourage pupils’ respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the 2010 Equalities Act.”
Elsewhere in the report, the school, which belongs to the Vizhnitz hasidic sect, was praised for its high quality of education.
“It’s now been made crystal clear by Ofsted that the Equality Act is actually hierarchical,” Christians in Education member Gill Robins said. “Sexual orientation and gender reassignment are at the apex of the Act.”
Freedom of religion is not. “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.”
The school has been visited three times since February 2016, and told each of those times that it must incorporate the LGBT agenda into the 3- to 8-year-olds’ curriculum.
After the third time that the school refused to cooperate, the government decided to close it down. This, despite the fact that the school was praised elsewhere in the report, especially for the teachers’ “good subject knowledge and high-quality classroom resources that inspire pupils with enthusiasm for learning and to achieve well.”
Though private schools in the UK are not required to teach the same curriculum as public schools, they must still meet two separate sets of Ofsted standards for sex and relationship education.
Though the school did revise its curriculum, Ofsted said it couldn’t show that “pupils are taught explicitly about issues such as sexual orientation.”
An Ofsted spokesperson said the current standards “actively promote fundamental British values such as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
“Parents have the right, on behalf of their children, to expect an education that conforms to their religious beliefs and is in compliance with the law.
“Children living in England deserve the best. The law expects schools to demonstrate that they are encouraging pupils to take a respectful and tolerant stance towards those who hold values different from their own. Ofsted acts robustly and impartially to ensure children in England receive a good education.”
However, teaching sexual orientation does not conform to the religious beliefs of Orthodox Jews.