Family & Education

Charedi pupils show respect for other faiths


A Chasidic school in Stamford Hill threatened with closure three years ago has improved the range of its secular studies, Ofsted has found.

Inspectors have visited Talmud Torah Chaim Meirim Wiznitz, a primary school for boys in Stamford Hill, no fewer than six times in three years.

Chaim Meirim now offers “a broader and more balanced curriculum”, which includes science, geography, PE, personal social and health education, citizenship, art, music and drama. But information and communication technology was not sufficiently covered, inspectors said.

The school “fully promotes British values and ensures that pupils respect other faiths and cultural values”, but because of its religious ethos, pupils were “not aware” of the subject of sexual orientation, inspectors said.

Another strictly Orthodox institution, Gateshead Jewish Boarding School, also received positive comments after its latest inspection.

Its new headteacher had taken “swift action” to prioritise the teaching of British values at the boys’ secondary school.

“A programme of learning about different faiths has been... embedded into the curriculum,” Ofsted said. “Pupils are knowledgeable about Islam and Christianity and are able to discuss their understanding of different religions maturely.”

Boys were able to demonstrate awareness of groups protected by equality law although they were “less comfortable to talk about sexual orientation because of cultural barriers”.

The school choir has performed at local non-Jewish residential homes. Gateshead is also looking to develop its curriculum through a partnership with a local high school, Whitley Bay.

Meanwhile, the Oholei Yosef Yitzchok Lubavitch School in Manchester has joined the umbrella body for private schools, the Independent Schools Council.

The acceptance of OYY’s application was “a testament” to the regard in which it was held, said the principal of the boys’ section Rabbi Mendel Cohen.

Ofsted recently approved the expansion of pupil numbers from 124 to 150 at OYY, which runs boys and girls section on separate sites. Inspectors described pupils as “outstanding role models for other children”.

Rabbi Cohen said, “We can teach children to the highest degree of Charedi Yiddishkeit while at the same time being compliant with British values”.

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