Warn­ing from Of­sted

The Jewish Chronicle - - EDUCATION - BY SI­MON ROCKER

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’

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