Family & Education

Ofsted sees progress in Charedi school previously ranked inadequate

A scathing report on Yesodey Hatorah Girls' School provoked outrage last year in the strictly Orthodox community


A state-aided Charedi girls school which was placed into special measures after being ranked inadequate by inspectors last summer has received a positive follow-up visit from Ofsted.

The leaders of Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School - whose principal is one of Stamford Hill’s best-known figures Rabbi Avrohom Pinter - were taking effective action towards removing the school from special measures, Ofsted reported.

The school’s action plan for making improvements was “fit for purpose”, Ofsted inspector Brian Oppenheim noted after the latest visit by inspectors to the school.

He also believed the school was in now in a position to take newly qualified teachers.

Last year’s critical report into Yesodey Hatorah, once classified as outstanding, provoked fury in the Charedi community, highlighting the conflict between the strictly Orthodox and Ofsted.

Its chairman complained of a “secularist plot”, while Rabbi Pinter protested to Prime Minister Theresa May that his staff had been “aggressively” grilled by inspectors.

Some of the shortcomings listed by Ofsted last year included censoring English and history textbooks and failing to teach girls enough about other faiths and cultures or cover all the “protected characteristics” listed in the Equality Act - which include sexual orientation and gender reassignment.

A year ago the school found itself the subject of controversy when the campaign group Humanists UK accused it of covering up a history book to remove references to homosexuals as victims of the Nazis.

In his report, Mr Oppenheim said a new executive committee which met weekly to oversee progress was an “effective strategy” and helped governors hold the leaders of the school to account more thoroughly than in the past..

Examination results in English and maths were “above average”, he added.

A new personal, social and health education programme was a “significant step forward”.

Girls were able ”to talk confidently about different religious beliefs and cultures, and how these differ from their own lives”, he stated.

But “the programme still does not cover all viewpoints. As a result, pupils lack awareness of the full range of lifestyles represented in modern Britain.”

The school was also failing to meet the requirements of the national curriculum because it did not teach biology, Mr Oppenheim said.

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