Family & Education

Ofsted criticises Chasidic primary for not teaching LGBT awareness

Ofsted says new school unlikely to meet independent school standards because its leaders do not intend to make pupils aware of issues such as sexual orientation


A new Chasidic girls’ primary in Salford is likely to fall short of independent school standards because it will not make pupils aware of LGBT people, according to Ofsted.

Beis Rochel Mcr Girls’ School, which is intended mainly to serve the Satmar community, wants to register as an independent school for 200 girls aged from two to 11.

But after a pre-registration inspection, Ofsted said, “There was a clear indication that the proprietor and his advisers intend not to make pupils aware of matters related to sexual orientation or gender reassignment.”

The report is significant because it had been assumed primary schools would not be expected to cover LGBT issues after changes to Department for Education guidelines that gave schools leeway to decide at what age such topics are appropriate to teach.

Beis Rochel Mcr will now be a test case for the DfE on whether to approve the school’s registration or not.

Another Satmar school in Manchester, Beis Ruchel, for girls from 11 to 16, also fell foul of the inspectorate on similar grounds, which wants evidence that girls will be made aware of issues of gender and sexual orientation.

But there was better news from Ofsted for a third Satmar school, Beis Rochel d’Satmar, in Stamford Hill, which Ofsted found would comply with independent school guidelines. (The school is planning to change its registration status to be recognised as a primary school for boys).

Ofsted has also issued a favourable new report on Lubavitch Senior Boys School in Golders Green, which was rated inadequate last year.

l Gavin Williamson, the new Education Secretary, indicated he was not planning to make changes to the relationships and sex education curriculum when he met Board of Deputies leaders last week.

Mr Williamson believed flexibility within the RSE guidelines would leave religious schools free to teach it “in their own way”, according to a Board source.

Board president Marie van der Zyl and vice-president Edwin Shuker were joined by a cross-communal delegation representing the United Synagogue, the strictly Orthodox Chinuch UK and the Progressive Jewish Community Day School Advisory Board.

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