Ofsted questions plans for strictly Orthodox girls' school in Westcliff

Inspector finds 'significant weaknesses' in proposals


Plans to open a Jewish school in Westcliff to cater for the new strictly Orthodox community that has settled in the Southend and Westcliff area have hit a problem after Ofsted said it would be unlikely to meet many of the independent school standards. 

The owner of the Beis Chinuch Girls School had applied to the Department for Education to open a primary school able to take 200 girls from two to 11 in a two-storey building this month. 

But in a pre-registration inspection in August, Ofsted said there were “significant weaknesses, especially linked to the curriculum, that need to be addressed before the school will be ready to open”. 

While its leaders’ passion and mission were clear, plans to enact their vision were “not clear,” Ofsted said. 

They wanted to see more detail on the curriculum and said they had received no information about Kodesh (Jewish  studies). The school plans to teach Kodesh in the mornings and secular classes in the afternoon. 

There was “not enough space” on the premises to accommodate 200 pupils, inspectors concluded. During the inspection, leaders indicated they wanted to reduce the maximum to 120; Ofsted said it would be suitable for 105. 

“Most of the school is in a reasonable state of repair and is ready for pupils to use,” Ofsted said. “However, many of the rooms are not furnished with tables and chairs for pupils to use, and there is a severe lack of resources to deliver the planned curriculum.  

“Leaders explained that furniture and resources are on order but have been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.” 


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