Family & Education

Council pleased by progress at illegal wedding school

Ofsted also notes improvements at the Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls High School


 A Charedi school that was the venue for an illegal lockdown wedding raided by police earlier in the year is trying to exercise greater control over the use of its premises, according to Ofsted.

Police handed out two notices of £10,000 fines following the event at the state-aided Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls High school in Stamford Hill in January.

The school said at the time it had had no knowledge of the celebration as lettings were managed by an outside organisation.

Ofsted, which visited the school in April, described the incident as a “serious breach” of Covid regulations.

It was the fourth visit by the inspectorate since the school was ranked inadequate in 2018. While last month’s inspection would normally have been remote, it took place on site because of “significant concerns about governance”, Ofsted said.

Following the wedding incident, internal and external reviews of governance had been undertaken, Ofsted reported. “Many of the recommendations have already been adopted and an audit of governors’ skills is being carried out,” the inspectorate said.

“More robust systems and procedures are now in place to ensure governors have direct responsibility for letting out the premises. Governors recognise that there is more work to do to ensure strong oversight.”

The hire of the school’s hall for outside events remained suspended, Hackney council said.

Hackney’s director of education, Annie Gammon, said Yesodey’s governors and head had shown “significant commitment to working with the council to take forward the recommendations from both the internal and external investigations and to ensure that the school’s lettings process is transparent and accountable”.

She said, “We’re pleased with the progress that’s been made to date and we will continue working closely with the school to support them to implement the reports’ recommendations in full.”

Ofsted found the school had been providing effective education during the pandemic, noting a high proportion of pupils on site since the start of the spring term as they may have had difficulty engaging remote education at home.

Complimented acting head Clare Neuberger on general improvements, Ofsted said, “The inclusion of biology, personal, social, health and economic education, careers advice and citizenship has broadened the curriculum considerably. This is helping to raise pupils’ aspirations and prepare them for the future.”

Year-11 pupils were being helped to catch up with essential learning and were “especially complimentary” about support they were getting from teachers.

The school had a new principal and a new chairman of governors, Ofsted noted.



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