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Education

Another Orthodox Jewish school gets Ofsted warning for avoiding new LGBT-inclusive curriculum

Emma Powys Maurice January 23, 2020
Ofsted warns another Jewish school for avoiding LGBT-inclusive teaching

The Keser Girls’ School in Gateshead teaches a secular Jewish curriculum for 421 girls aged between 5 and 11 (kessertorah)

Another Orthodox Jewish school has been reprimanded by Ofsted for refusing to enact LGBT-inclusive sex and relationships education, which will be compulsory in all UK schools from September 2020.

The Keser Girls’ School in Gateshead teaches a secular curriculum for 421 girls aged between five and 11. It was rated ‘good’ in most of the education inspector’s categories, but received an overall grade of ‘requires improvement’ because it did not fulfil the conditions for good leadership and management.

According to the report, Ofsted’s discussions with school leaders confirmed that it “would not be teaching pupils respect for those who are protected by the Equalities Act 2010 because of gender reassignment or sexual orientation”.

The report continues: “The impact of this action is that pupils will not be taught about gay, lesbian, or transgender people during their time in school. This means that pupils cannot show respect for those groups of which they are unaware.”

Because it has failed to ensure that all the independent school standards have been met, the school’s leadership “requires improvement”, and action needs to be taken “to include all groups identified as protected by The Equality Act 2010 within the curriculum”.

The official government policy on LGBT-inclusive education says that schools can decide when and how they want to deliver the LGBT-inclusive lessons, as long as they do deliver them. Parents have a right to withdraw their child from sex education, but not from relationships education.

All lessons will be age appropriate, and at primary school level children will simply be taught of the existence of LGBT+ people and LGBT+ families.

The Keser Girls’ School isn’t the first religious school to avoid these guidelines. It is partnered with the The Keser Torah Boys’ School, which also fell short of LGBT+ standards. Meanwhile, an independent Charedi boys’ school in Stamford Hill was told it was failing to teach about “all of the protected characteristics” in equality law.

And last year a prospective Jewish girls’ school in Manchester failed Ofsted checks before it even opened as it deemed the LGBT-inclusive lessons to be “inappropriate”.

More: Conservative Judaism, faith schools, jewish orthodox, LGBT-inclusive education, Sex and relationships education

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