Ofsted downgrades Jewish school for failing new ‘Trojan horse’ regulations

The Guardian is reporting that a high-profile Jewish school has fallen foul of government regulations on British values and tolerance introduced in the wake of the Trojan horse affair in Birmingham, raising fears among the community that Jewish schools are being harshly treated…

The Beis Yaakov secondary school for girls in Salford is the latest faith school to be punished by Ofsted inspectors for failing new rules intended to tackle allegations of Islamic influence in Birmingham. Following a no-notice inspection, Ofsted downgraded the orthodox Jewish academy from good to inadequate – its lowest rating – and placed the school into special measures.

According to the Ofsted inspection report, students at the school “are potentially at risk because school procedures are too lax and fall far short of statutory requirements”.

The Salford school was one of three orthodox Jewish schools given snap inspections by Ofsted last month, with all three being downgraded and criticised by inspectors, with the inspections triggering protests by the National Association of Orthodox Jewish Schools.

The management of Beis Yaakov made a formal complaint to Ofsted over the conduct of the inspection, with pupils at the all-girls school reported to have felt bullied by inspectors’ questions about homosexuality and whether pupils had friends from other faiths…

An Ofsted spokeswoman denied the inspectorate was disproportionately targeting Jewish schools. “Inspectors must, however, ask questions that probe the extent to which pupils are prepared for the next stage in their education or for employment and for life in modern Britain,” she said.

The inspection report on Beis Yaakov said there were “major gaps in students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Students are not provided with sufficient opportunities to learn about or understand people of other faiths or cultures…

More at: Ofsted downgrades Jewish school for failing new ‘Trojan horse’ regulations


I guess there are three different ways of looking at this: the new regulations are flawed and impractical; Ofsted is bending over backwards to show it is not targeting one particular faith; or the findings and concerns are valid, irrespective of the faith involved. How do you see it? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Policy.


  1. Janet2

    Very odd report.  Inspectors judged ‘Behaviour and Safety’ as requires improvement but then described how pupils behaved well and felt safe in the school.  RI judgement seemed based on how pupils are educated about dangers outside school.

    Teaching and achievement was Good but attendance was poor.  Leadership and Management was Inadequate – this now appears sufficient to damn a school as Inadequate overall.

    Ofsted is also being inconsistent.  B’ham schools inspected as part of Trojan Horse were all grilled on how they engage with Prevent (the Gov’t’s anti-terrorism strategy).  L&M in many of these Required Improvement even when safeguarding was met because they hadn’t engaged in Prevent as I discussed below.  But Beis Yaakov was not asked about Prevent.  Schools inspected in the wake of TJ should be inspected in the same way.  Why the emphasis on Prevent only in the B’ham schools?  If not relevant to all schools, why ask about it in any?


    It’s essential that Wilshaw’s advice after Trojan Horse that there must be a consensus about what comprises a ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum and that this curriculum applies to all state schools.  Instead, the Gov’t have introduced the nebulous concept of ‘British values’.

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