Family & Education

Jewish independent schools fare worst in Ofsted report

Independent Jewish schools had the highest percentage of inadequate ratings in 2016/7


More than half of independent Jewish schools inspected by Ofsted over the last academic year were unsatisfactory, according to figures released by the inspection service.

Whereas over two-thirds of independent schools were good or outstanding, and just over half of independent faith schools, only 46.5 per cent of Jewish institutions achieved the higher two inspection grades. 

The remaining Jewish schools were judged to “require improvement” or were inadequate.

Whereas two-thirds of Christian schools were outstanding or good, just under 42 per cent of Muslim schools satisfied inspectors.

Jewish schools had the highest percentage of inadequate ratings — almost two in five – compared with 28 per cent of Muslim schools, 18 per cent of Christian, 26 per cent of faith and just over 14 per cent of independent schools overall.

Nearly 1,000 independent schools were inspected by Ofsted between September 2016 and August 2017. Inspections of faith schools have increased in recent years.

Charedi schools, which form the majority of Jewish independent institutions, have come increased pressure from Ofsted in recent years to improve their secular education. But a number have fallen foul of inspectors for ignoring, on religious grounds, issues such as same-sex orientation. 

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman, in her first annual report, pledged to continue to press the  government over “inadequate” legislation to tackle unregistered schools.  

“Tensions between belief systems and British values create a motivation for some communities to try avoiding the educational and safeguarding standards that are expected of schools,” the report stated.

But she also promised to highlight examples of the best faith schools which met the requirements of equality law “in a way that is in line with their religious beliefs”.

In a Lords debate on education, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks championed Jewish schools.

Pupils were taught, he said, “not just to be proud to be Jewish but to be proud to be English, British, defenders of democratic freedom and active citizens helping those in need.”

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