Ofsted: Charedi school ‘airbrushed’ Queen Elizabeth the First out of history
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Ofsted: Charedi school ‘airbrushed’ Queen Elizabeth the First out of history

Watchdog chief warns: 'We have seen schools illegally segregating and found books that promote corporal punishment or say a wife cannot deny a husband.'

Portrait of Elizabeth I of England, the Armada Portrait (Wikipedia/Collection: Woburn Abbey/ Source/Photographer	http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/elizarmada.jpg/
Portrait of Elizabeth I of England, the Armada Portrait (Wikipedia/Collection: Woburn Abbey/ Source/Photographer http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/elizarmada.jpg/

Ofsted has criticised a Charedi school which it says “airbrushed” Queen Elizabeth I from history, by redacting information about the former monarch from textbooks.

The education watchdog’s head said it was “quite shocking” some unregistered schools – which “almost always” offer poor education – are commissioned by local authorities.

Amanda Spielman sounded the alarm on the separating of girls and boys, and using textbooks which promote corporal punishment and which edit out women.

Speaking at the launch of the inspectorate’s annual report on Tuesday, she claimed authorities were not checking schools comply with the law.

Ofsted has received 640 referrals of suspected illegal schools since 2016. Of those, more than 290 have been inspected and 83 have received warning notices, the report said.

The watchdog secured its first successful prosecution against an unregistered school in October 2018, followed by two more in September last year.

“We have seen (schools) illegally segregating people, we found books in schools that promote corporal punishment or say that a wife cannot deny their husband.

“Teaching material is censored to airbrush women out of history, even including Queen Elizabeth I.”

The case of Queen Elizabeth I being “airbrushed” out of history involved the Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School in Stamford Hill.

In March 2018, Ofsted inspectors found that historical texts on subjects including Elizabethan England had been redacted.

The inspectors’ report found “sections relating to the Queen’s supremacy and the Puritan challenge” had been censored.

Staff had also “systematically” gone through every book to blank out any bare skin on ankles, wrists or necks, inspectors said.

The orthodox Jewish maintained voluntary-aided school, which is for pupils aged 11 to 16, was rated “inadequate” by inspectors at the time and placed in special measures.

A subsequent monitoring visit in December 2018 found that school leaders were taking “effective action” towards the removal of special measures.

Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School has been contacted for comment by PA.

Saying the law “is not strong enough” to ensure operators are stopped from continuing to run them, Spielman added that: “It is actually quite shocking that some (unregistered schools) are commissioned by unwitting local authorities and therefore funded by the taxpayer.

“Authorities are simply not checking that these places comply with the law.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “Unregistered independent schools are illegal and unregulated and present a danger to both the quality of education and the welfare of those children who attend them.”

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