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Ofsted report praises strictly Orthodox school's British values

    Sir Michael Wilshaw at the launch
    Sir Michael Wilshaw at the launch

    A strictly Orthodox school for children with special needs has been praised by Ofsted for its teaching of British values.

    Haskel School in Gateshead was singled out by Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw in Westminster on Tuesday, as he launched the inspection service's annual report for 2014-2015.

    On the subject of "Promoting British values, preventing radicalisation and protecting children", Sir Michael said that inspectors scrutinised schools to ensure they were "helping pupils to develop an acceptance and understanding of the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs".

    He cited Haskel, a strictly orthodox primary that won an "outstanding" rating in its last inspection in 2014.

    The report said: "British values are continuously being reinforced through the innovative Kovod Habriyous curriculum, which encourages pupils to always show respect to others, regardless of religion, or culture or lifestyle, as proscribed by the Torah.

    "Pupils learn to respect the views of others and gain tolerance and understanding of people from other backgrounds."

    Sir Michael objected to schools "whose ethos, approach or curriculum does not fully support the requirement to promote fundamental British values".

    He stressed his determination to clamp down on unregistered schools, although he did not elaborate further on which schools he referred to, or whether he had faith schools in mind.

    "There are instances each year where schools have been identified as operating without being registered," he said. "This is not only illegal but means that children and young people are learning in an environment that has not been subject to any safeguards."

    The Ofsted report also described an "educational division of the country after the age of 11".

    According to the inspection service, secondary schools in the south perform significantly better than those in the north and Midlands. Salford, which has a strong Jewish population, was one of the worst performing areas.

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