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Stamford Hill Charedi schools graded inadequate by Ofsted

Critical reports highlight failings in secular provision

    Two Chasidic boys’ schools in Stamford Hill have received highly critical Ofsted inspections.

    Already under threat of closure, Getters Talmud Torah has been rated inadequate for the second time within four years.

    The Department for Education disclosed earlier this year that Getters was facing deregistration, although the school was appealing.

    Ofsted now reports that the school has not taught secular subjects beyond English and maths since January 2017.

    Parents had signed a document agreeing to reduce its secular curriculum and taking responsibility for it themselves.

    Getters had “relied on this agreement to reduce the secular curriculum on offer to pupils even though there is no legal basis for the school to do so”. 

    Pupils made inadequate progress in English and maths and their development was restricted because of the narrow curriculum.

    They learned little “about the contribution women have made to shaping modern British society” and were not taught about the lifestyle and cultures of others.

    Although school leaders had argued that Jewish studies “prepares pupils well for the next stage of their education, they could provide little evidence of the effectiveness of pupils’ transition to their next schools”.

    Getters, which was registered for 200 boys from three to 14, also had 24 pupils more than the school’s official maximum.

    Pupils did learn about the importance of contributing to their own community, singing at a local care home and helping to clear litter from a park.

    But Ofsted could only obtain “limited information about the views of pupils during the inspection. This was because nearly all parents had provided letters stating they did not wish inspectors to speak to their children, and because a whole year group of pupils was not on site during the second day of the inspection visit.”

    Ranked outstanding five years ago, Talmud Torah D’Chasidei Gur was branded inadequate by inspectors for the second time in three years.

    It was also breaching its registration terms. Registered for 140 pupils from age three to seven, it now had 213 up to the age of 13.

    Learning was “severely limited” in subjects other than English and maths, inspectors reported. Poor command of English was a barrier to progress.

    Pupils did not know about British values or public institutions in Britain, Ofsted added.

    The secular curriculum was limited to an hour and a half a day — and to just half an hour in year two.

    In the early years, adults “speak very little English to the children, so progress in speaking and understanding English is limited”. 

    Attainment in English and maths among older children was two years’ behind age expectations.

    “Work in books shows that 12-year-old pupils, equivalent to the first year of secondary schooling, are only working on simple addition, multiplication and division problems,” Ofsted reported.

    “In year two, pupils’ writing is just simple copying.”

    Positives noted were the concentration of pupils during class and the strong relationships with staff which contributed to the children’s well-being.

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