Warning from Ofsted
the list of mandatory subjects in the national curriculum, in most schools it is no more than a token gesture on offer once a week. If we are to reverse this unhealthy trend then PE and sport, to include physical science, must be given more time.
One of the saddest sights in modern times is to witness the transformation from a selfless to a selfish society. The improved living standards that so many enjoy today have carried in their wake a rejection of the “sharing and caring” attitude that was prevalent in the difficult post-war years.
The “me first, you nowhere” attitude and the stampede for material acquisition at the expense of others is now king. When youngsters see in virtually every walk of life money rules, it is no wonder an appreciation of academia and the arts cannot compete.
A number of schools I have visited (Jewish and non-Jewish) proudly refer to the voluntary work their pupils do in raising money for good causes. I would like to see this taken much further. Every child, at least at secondary school, should select a community project and their work on it be formally assessed and graded.
My curriculum is based on current practical needs rather than on a traditional and increasingly abused ideal. Foundation subjects such as history, geography or art should continue to be available as choices for those with a real desire to study them. For those not so inclined, why not offer them an alternative — a programme to tickle their entrepreneurial impulses, allow them a good dose of physical activity, and give them the feeling that what they are doing, whether as a paramedic or welfare worker, has real value and benefit for them and for others?
Michael Cohen is an education consultant who specialises in the strictly Orthodox Jewish sector
THREE INDEPENDENT strictly Orthodox Jewish schools remain the subject of warning notices from Ofsted, the inspection service confirmed this week.
One of the schools is registered with the education authorities, while the other two are unregistered.
In a fourth instance, a previously unregistered Charedi school which was served a warning notice has since registered with the Department for Education.
While Ofsted brought four cases of unregistered schools to the attention of the Crown Prosecution Service in the past 15 months — though no charges ensued — none of these was Jewish.
But Ofsted leaders have reiterated concerns about unregistered schools over the past week. Amanda Spielman, its chief executive, said in a speech, “they often teach a narrow curriculum of just a few subjects, perhaps with a particular single-faith focus and are often housed in buildings that wouldn’t pass the most basic of health and safety checks.”
Matthew Coffey, Ofsted’s chief operations officer, also called for inspectors to be given greater powers to force entry into institutions which are believed to be operating illegally, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Meanwhile, more than one in five of registered independent faith schools which Ofsted has found to fall short of the required standards over the past three years is Jewish, according to figures obtained by Schools Week.
For some Charedi schools, the main sticking point with Ofsted is their refusal to talk about same-sex orientation or transgender status.
Our pupils do not see the relevance in studying Shakespeare ’ They often teach a narrow curriculum’