Just as the teaching of evolution and sexual or gender orientation tends to be way off-limits for the Charedi community, so the sight of unregistered – and therefore illegal – strictly-Orthodox schools and yeshivot are hard to comprehend for the mainstream Jewish community.
We agree. You cannot put youngsters – by definition vulnerable and at-risk – into an environment that is unchecked, unaudited, unaccountable and therefore innately unsafe. This applies whether you are a communal elder, rabbi, PR person or parent.
The law is there for a reason and educating 1,500 Orthodox Jewish children in establishments that are beyond the law is beyond justification. That basic knowledge in English, maths and science are largely ignored in these settings just makes it worse.
Last month Ofsted called for more powers to tackle unregistered schools. This week Hackney Council, which covers Stamford Hill, echoed this plea.
Despite a 2008 law designed to address unregistered schools, no prosecutions have been brought. Yet it goes on in plain sight. Enough is enough.
Let’s hope that Theresa May’s new education secretary has the wherewithal to address this increasingly urgent need.