Jewish school banned from taking new students until it teaches about LGBT issues
The school lost its appeal against admitting new students, following a ban from the Department of Education.
A Hasidic Jewish school has been banned from admitting new pupils, after it refused to teach students about LGBT issues and covered up images of women wearing short sleeves, reports The Jewish Chronicle.
The Beis Aharon Trust – which runs an independent school for 342 boys from three to 13 in Stamford Hill – had also been criticised by Ofsted for its failure to improve the secular education of its students.
Last week, the school launched an appeal against the ban, after it was told in September that it could not take on any more children after falling below standards.
However, the appeal was rejected by the Care Standards tribunal, who deemed the restriction was “proportionate and necessary” until the school furthered altered its approach.
Judge Hugh Brayne said this would include teaching pupils about same-sex relationships and gender reassignment.
The judge added that failure to teach students about LGBT issues “prevents the school from encouraging respect for people who have such characteristics”.
In response to the ban, the school had argued that same-sex relationships and gender reassignment were forbidden in the Jewish faith, and therefore could not be taught.
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It also submitted a statement for the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations which stated that “religions other than authentic Judaism, beliefs, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, are forbidden in the Jewish faith.”
Despite this, Judge Brayne said that without such teaching, the school’s pupils would be ill-equipped “to enter modern British society” which “accepts as part of its diversity civil partnerships, gay marriage, families with same-sex parents and acceptance of transgender persons”.
The judge also said that he believes Hasidic children had the “same right to an education which meets the standards set for independent schools”.
A failure to reach these standards, he warned, were enough to warrant a “more severe decision” from the department.
The ruling is set to have significant implications for the independent education sector, as Ofsted continues to tackle discrimination in religious institutions.