Family & Education

Ofsted: 'All Jewish schools can achieve a good ranking'

Officials from the inspection service and Department for Education addressed conference for Jewish heads


Ofsted believes that all Jewish schools are capable of achieving a good rating despite concerns within the Charedi sector about teaching about LGBT+ issues.

Senior officials from the inspectorate and the Department for Education discussed policy with headteachers at a day-long conference hosted by the Jewish school’s network, PaJeS.

Victor Shafiee, Ofsted’s deputy director for unregistered and independent schools, said they had come together to “support Jewish schools, state-funded and independent, to become at least good”.

Commenting after the event, which he described as “valuable”, he said: “We believe that the right balance can be found where Jewish schools can respect their own faith values and follow the government’s equalities legislation, against which Ofsted inspects.

“Our ambition is that, by listening and learning from each other, all schools can become good or outstanding.”

Children must be taught about LGBT identity before they leave secondary school to fulfil government requirements on equality and religious and sex education. But most Charedi schools decline to teach this on religious grounds.

PaJeS said it had arranged the event to address issues stemming from recent inspections of Jewish schools at a time when the Ofsted inspection process had become a national topic of concern.

While the vast majority of Jewish schools could meet required standards, it was important to find an accommodation that “will ensure all schools are able to remain faithful to their ethos while meeting governmental requirements”, PaJeS said.

Rabbi David Meyer, PaJeS chief executive, who is on Ofsted’s board, said the event had been “an opportunity for school leaders to understand the expectations of the Department for Education and Ofsted in order to help ensure schools are meeting the required standards and are informed and prepared for forthcoming inspections”.

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