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Charedi school chief appeals for Theresa May meeting over Ofsted ‘agenda’

Writing to the Prime Minister on Wednesday, Rabbi Avrohom Pinter, of the state-aided Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls School, complained his staff had been “aggressively” grilled by inspectors during a visit this month.

    (Photo: Getty Images)

    The principal of a Charedi school in Stamford Hill has made a dramatic appeal to Theresa May for an urgent meeting to stop the “secularist agenda” of the inspection service Ofsted.

    Writing to the Prime Minister on Wednesday, Rabbi Avrohom Pinter, of the state-aided Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls School, complained his staff had been “aggressively” grilled by inspectors during a visit this month.

    Education policy, he said, was being driven by fringe humanist groups and the Charedi community was “being hounded out by those acting in the name of your government”.

    Yesodey Hatorah, which was rated as a good school by Ofsted four years ago, underwent a routine inspection last week.

    But Rabbi Pinter said “to our shock” inspectors had returned to the school earlier this week.

    A week ago the campaign group Humanists UK attacked the school for blotting out the word “homosexuals” from a passage on Nazi policy in a modern history textbook.

    Rabbi Pinter said staff had been grilled “about every aspect” of the school’s education during the original inspection, despite its being in the top two per cent of schools in England in maths and ten per cent in English at GCSE.

    Inspectors had spent a “disproportionate amount” of time in the library analysing text which could “possibly have been co-incidental”.

    Referring to the return of inspectors after the Humanists UK had published criticism of the school, he said it was “hugely disappointing that a fringe pressure group can influence so-called independent bodies in this way.

    “Our community has been targeted consistently and our staff and pupils are being intimidated by the deliberate disregard for cultural sensitivities.”

    It was, he said, becoming “progressively clear that faith groups are powerless to stop the secularist agenda being pedalled by Ofsted”.

    The inspection service was “determined to make our position as faith schools untenable”.

    The interpretation of legislation on education was “at odds with our strongly-held beliefs, culture and practices,” he said.  

    “This interpretation also puts at odd with the society in which we have lived as loyal British citizens for decades.”

    Calling for the Prime Minister’s urgent intervention, he said the “situation is untenable and our appeal to you is close to becoming our last resort”.

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