Another Orthodox school in London has been downgraded by Ofsted to “inadequate” with inspectors criticising it in part because pupils do not learn about prejudice-based bullying.
The damning report issued against Beis Madrash Elyon was published on Thursday, as Charedi leaders met in Stamford Hill to discuss their response to the Chief Rabbi’s recent guidance which urges Jewish schools to tackle anti-LGBT+ bullying.
The independent boys’ school in West Hendon, which has 70 pupils aged between 11 and 15, charges parents £6,000 per year in fees. However, only one third of pupils achieve six GCSEs.
In his report, the inspector said the school’s leaders “insisted” he make no mention of protected characteristics such as sexual orientation to pupils during his visit, despite the school being required to teach these under the Equalities Act 2010. He said the school’s leaders knew this meant independent school standards were not being met.
Pupils’ lack of learning about anti-prejudice bullying was cited as one of six “key” reasons why the school was judged “inadequate” – a downgrade from its last inspection, which deemed it to “require improvement”.
While praising pupils’ behaviour, as well as their commitment to a Jewish ethos and their high grades in subjects such as maths and Biblical Hebrew, the inspector said their curriculum was “inadequate”.
He added that “not enough attention is paid to pupils’ personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education. Their creative, technical, musical and physical learning is weak… Pupils are not given impartial advice about future careers”.
The downgrade comes after reports suggested the Government may soon introduce an “opt-out” on LGBT education for independent schools, which would exempt them from teaching about protected characteristics if they run counter to the school’s faith.