NATIONAL NEWS
38% independent schools 'inadequate'

A MASSIVE 38 per cent of Britain's 60 independent Jewish schools have been rated "inadequate".

And Jewish educational leaders have protested at Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman's description.

The Jewish percentage rating of inadequate schools was the highest of all categories. Muslims schools rated 28 per cent, all faith schools 26 per cent, Christian schools 18 per cent and all schools 14 per cent.

Another 16 per cent of Jewish independent schools were rated as "requiring improvement", 45 per cent as "good" and two per cent as "outstanding".

Ms Spielman slammed "conservative religious schools" for not meeting "legal requirements for shared values and tolerance".

She said: "They seek to isolate young people from the mainstream, do not prepare them for life in Britain - or worse, actively undermine British values.

"The schools are, therefore, deliberately choosing not to meet these standards."

She also complained of illegal schools where premises were sometimes unsafe and which used "sexist and sectarian literature".

But Rabbi David Meyer, of the Partnership for Jewish Schools, and Rabbi Avrohom Pinter, of the National Association for Orthodox Jewish Schools, hit out at the Ofsted chief for singling out faith schools for criticism.

They said: "Ofsted have again shown their obsession with limited elements of the curriculum which serve their determination to fail our schools.

"We are proud of how our community - particularly our schools - embed British values at every level.

"We live in a Christian country with a proud tradition of respect for other faiths.

"Ofsted would do better to recognise that, rather than be led by anti-faith groups who show only intolerance and disdain."

NAJOS executive director Judith Nemeth said: "Ms Spielman defined Jewish values as democracy, the rule of law, tolerance and mutual understanding.

"All strictly Orthodox schools not only teach these values but they are spread through the substance of the teaching in both secular and subjects."

She accused Ms Spielman of "bias against faith schools".

Board of Deputies vice-president Sheila Gewolb said: "We have told Ofsted of our concerns about an overly-aggressive and proscriptive approach.

"We believe that an open and flexible dialogue will be the best way forward to the shared goal of an excellent education which enables pupils to thrive, while respecting the religious ethos of different schools."

However, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, who chairs the anti-faith school Accord Coalition, said: "It is inevitable that those faith schools that wish to prevent their children from mixing with other children are at odds with some of the values of wider society.

"Their schools are deliberately being used to isolate children from social trends."


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