Family & Education

Charedim resume protests over yeshivah regulation

The government has indicated it remains committed to introducing controls on currently unregistered educational institutions


Charedi protesters returned to the streets of Westminster on Thursday to rally against attempts to regulate out-of-school educational settings such as yeshivot.

A number of demonstrations took place last year against the Schools Bill, which contained measures that would have forced yeshivot to teach secular subjects and offer relationships and sex education.

Although the Bill was dropped mainly over controversies relating to control of academies, the government has suggested it is preparing a fresh move against unregistered settings.

Yeshivot currently fall outside the legal definition of a school and are not liable to Ofsted inspections.

Strictly Orthodox activists have also been alarmed at reports that a review commissioned by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will recommend tough action against unregistered religious settings.

One of the leading figures behind the demonstrations, Rabbi Asher Gratt, told the JC, “This is a fight we are going to take all the way.”

He said he was in touch with other groups, including representatives of home-schooled children, who were opposed to greater regulation such as enabling local authorities to maintain registers of children being taught outside schools. “We are going to stand shoulder to shoulder with these people,” he said.

Addressing Thursday's protest, he said the Chasidic education system taught children “the importance of discipline, punctuality, and a good work ethic. It also cultivates a sense of responsibility and accountability.”

It produced adults with a clear sense of mission who “are capable of succeeding in whatever path they choose”, he planned to say.

But despite this, “some people are still attempting to tear down our education system”.

The veteran Stamford Hill yeshivah head, Rabbi Elyakim Schlesinger, who is 101, recalled that when he came to England around 70 years ago, an immigration officer had promised that he "would be able to raise my children here in our well-known Torah education".

"Our places of education and yeshivas are here to stay and our education is here to stay," he declared.

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