Family & Education

Strictly Orthodox school is rated inadequate in all categories by Ofsted

Inspectors say they saw pupils mishandled by a staff member in the playground and the school's curriculum is too narrow


An independent Chasidic boys’ school in Stamford Hill, which has previously been threatened with closure, has been rated inadequate in all inspection categories by Ofsted.

Talmud Torah Chaim Meirim Wiznitz School was in breach of its registration terms, exceeding its official maximum for the number of pupils and taking younger children, the inspection service said.

The school, which is registered for 237 boys from age to 13, had a roll of 290 and was accepting four-year-olds.

In 2015, the Department for Education lifted a threat of closure after the school made improvements following an Ofsted rating of inadequate the previous year.

But Ofsted said in its latest report the curriculum remained too narrow, there was limited study of science and gaps in pupils’ knowledge of English and maths.

An inspector, it also reported, "saw a member of staff mishandling pupils in the playground. Pupils say that this happens. This breaches the school’s behaviour policy."

Inspectors reported pupils were “working at about two years below age-related expectations” in some areas.

In maths, year-four boys were doing work expected of year two, such as counting in multiples of two and five.

In year six, pupils did not “have the phonetic skill to sound out words such as ‘tectonic’, which was used in the context of earthquakes”.

While pupils knew about British values, leaders had not ensured they encourage respect for other people, paying “particular regard to the protected characteristics” (which include those of same-sex orientation in equality law).

Leaders were also criticised for not having developed “a culture of safeguarding”.

On the plus side, the teaching of phonics in the lower years was having a positive impact, parents were supportive of the school and pupils felt safe from bullying.

Chaim Meirim has been visited by Ofsted seven times in just over four years.

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