A crunch meeting between Ofsted and the umbrella organisation representing Jewish education, PaJeS, has taken place after the latest downgrade of an Orthodox Jewish school in London.
Lord Stuart Polak, the honorary president of Conservative Friends of Israel, chaired the meeting between the national inspectorate and Partnerships for Jewish Schools (PaJeS), a division of the Jewish Leadership Council, “to help foster a closer partnership and to discuss concerns surrounding inspections of Jewish schools”.
Polak is the director of the new Stamford Hill-based Lubavitch Multi-Academy Trust, which was incorporated in February. The academy comprises Lubavitch House School for Senior Girls, Lubavitch Ruth Lunzer Girls’ Primary and Lubavitch Junior Boys’ School, with a combined 585 pupils.
After the meeting PaJeS said it would be “working closely with Ofsted to help build schools’ understanding of how they can comply with requirements around equalities and fundamental British values in a way that is in line with their religious beliefs”.
The umbrella group praised Ofsted “for its determination to reach a meaningful solution and ease the considerable concerns of the community,” after flagship Stamford Hill school Yesodeh Hatorah was downgraded to ‘Inadequate.’
In a damning report published last week, inspectors slammed the school for censoring textbooks, removing phone numbers for helplines and refusing to teach pupils the basics of reproduction in science, concluding that the school’s leadership had an “over-generous” view of its teaching quality. The school said Ofsted was part of a “secularist plot”.
Following the meeting this week, PaJeS director Rabbi David Meyer said: “We are delighted that together with Ofsted we have found a way for Jewish schools to be true to their ethos and meet the standards expected by Ofsted.
“We are very much looking forward to continuing to work closely with Ofsted and build greater understanding between them and Jewish schools. We hope to see even more positive progress over the coming weeks.”