Family & Education

Ofsted queries school that does not want to teach evolution

Inspectors withhold support for expanding Orthodox primary in Stamford Hill


Ofsted has declined to endorse the expansion of an independent Charedi girls school in Hackney, which is proposing to omit the study of evolution.

The Yesodey Hatorah Girls’ School - which is separate from the state-aided Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School - wants to increase its age range limit from 11 to 13.

But inspectors will not recommend the addition of the two older year groups to the Department for Education until they have been able to examine curriculum plans in more detail.

Ofsted said that “no appropriate plans” were available in science, history, art or physical education for the proposed years seven and eight classes.

“Leaders’ intention is to omit aspects, such as the study of evolution, which may limit pupils’ effective preparation for life in modern British society,” the inspectorate reported.

“Evidence was not available to check that the school has a suitable scientific curriculum in place.”

But the inspectorate did not state it would require evolution to be taught as a condition of the school being granted permission to expand.

Until now, the school was officially part of Yesodey Hatorah School, but because boys and girls were taught in different buildings, Ofsted previously said this contravened equality law. As a result, the girls’ section applied to register as a school in its own right as well as to increase its age range.

Ofsted said it was likely to meet independent school standards for primary age pupils.

Inspectors noted: “Clear mention is made in the proposed school’s anti-bullying policy of different groups, including lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender. Leaders interviewed demonstrated intent to actively promote fundamental British values and a respect for all people and cultures.”


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