Ofsted draws line in the sand after crunch talks

Ofsted draws line in the sand after crunch talks

Schools inspectorate says work with Charedi schools will not allow 'changing or weakening of standards'

Yesodey Hatorah's Senior Girls School in Stamford Hill
Yesodey Hatorah's Senior Girls School in Stamford Hill

Jewish education chiefs this week said they were confident of ensuring Orthodox schools are capable of meeting Ofsted standards following crunch talks with the government.

A meeting took place on Tuesday with 12 delegates of Chinuch UK, which represents Orthodox schools in London, Manchester and Gateshead.

Delegates from London expressed concern that Ofsted inspection results of Orthodox schools in Manchester and Gateshead appeared to differ from those in the capital, and Ofsted’s director of London agreed to visit schools around the country to look into the disparities.

Rabbi David Meyer, executive director of PaJeS, said: “The outcomes from the discussions were exceptionally positive and there is a confidence that a pathway can be found that will ensure Jewish schools can be fully compliant with the independent schools standards in a manner that is compatible with Orthodox values and beliefs.”

In a statement issued by Ofsted on Wednesday, following the meeting, a spokesperson for the national inspectorate said: “All independent schools must meet the statutory independent schools standar. These are baseline minimum standards.

“The Department for Education (DfE) draft guidance… makes clear it is not sufficient for schools to promote respect in a general way, without explaining to secondary school pupils what all of the protected characteristics are.”

They added: “It is not about changing or weakening the standards themselves.”

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