The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY SI­MON ROCKER

THE LARGEST Charedi school in the UK has been told it is in breach of equal­ity law be­cause it teaches boys and girls sep­a­rately.

Beis Rochel d’Sat­mar Girls School in Stam­ford Hill, which has 1,712 pupils, takes boys up to the age of 12 but teaches them in a dif­fer­ent build­ing.

A year ago, the Ap­peal Court ruled it was il­le­gal for a state-aided Mus­lim school en­tirely to seg­re­gate boys and girls — although sin­gle-sex schools re­main ac­cept­able.

Beis Rochel lead­ers told Of­sted they plan to split it into sep­a­rate boys’ and girls’ schools from next month.

The school, ranked over­all as re­quir­ing im­prove­ment, was al­ready above its of­fi­cial max­i­mum of 1,475 pupils, in­spec­tors noted.

They said boys made less progress than girls and lit­er­acy skills re­mained weak in the early years.

But the in­tro­duc­tion of English to the Yid­dish-speak­ing pupils in the early years had had a “pos­i­tive im­pact”, whereas be­fore English was taught only from year two.

Girls per­formed par­tic­u­larly well in maths and art in GCSE, while English and maths passes were above the na­tional av­er­age.

Although the school had a sixth form, around one in five girls left to get mar­ried be­fore achiev­ing any qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

In­spec­tors found that text­books had been edited; in one, the sight of bare

The school teaches boys in a sep­a­rate build­ing

arms in im­ages had been redacted, in an­other a ref­er­ence to the Ice Age.

But the school met the re­quire­ments for teach­ing Bri­tish val­ues. “Lead­ers pro­mote re­spect for the full range of pro­tected char­ac­ter­is­tics, in line with the school’s equal­ity and di­ver­sity pol­icy,” in­spec­tors com­mented.

“For ex­am­ple, lead­ers em­pha­sise re­spect and tol­er­ance in the way they re­spond to pupils’ ques­tions about dif­fer­ent types of fam­ily group.”

Over the past few years, strictly Ortho­dox schools have con­sis­tently run into prob­lems with Of­sted’s re­quire­ments to take ac­count of the full range of “pro­tected char­ac­ter­is­tics” in equal­ity law — which in­clude same-sex ori­en­ta­tion and gen­der re­as­sign­ment.

An­other strictly Ortho­dox in­de­pen­dent school, also re­cently ranked as re­quir­ing im­prove­ment, Ye­sodey Ha­torah in Stam­ford Hill, was crit­i­cised for not en­sur­ing that pupils had been made aware of “all the pro­tected char­ac­ter­is­tics”.

The school — which teaches pri­ma­ryage boys and girls, and boys at sec­ondary level — was also re­ported to be in breach of equal­ity law for seg­re­gat­ing the sexes. How­ever, Of­sted said “se­cure plans” were in place to reg­is­ter the girls’ build­ing as a sep­a­rate school.

The level of teach­ing in both re­li­gious and sub­jects at Ye­sodey Ha­torah was good.

In an­other re­cent re­port, an in­de­pen­dent Charedi boys’ school, Tal­mud Torah Chin­uch Norim in Sal­ford, which has ap­plied to raise its age limit from 12 to 13, has been told by Of­sted it was now meet­ing the ne­c­es­sary stan­dards.

Mean­while, Chin­uch UK, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive group for Charedi ed­u­ca­tion launched ear­lier this year, is en­cour­ag­ing sup­port­ers to sign a gen­eral pe­ti­tion ex­press­ing con­cern over plans for re­la­tion­ships and sex ed­u­ca­tion.


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