The National Association of Jewish Orthodox Schools in Great Britain (NAJOS) said it was “appalled” at reports that inspectors from Ofsted, the official body for inspecting schools in England, left young girls “traumatized” after asking them if they had a boyfriend, how babies are made and whether they knew that two men could marry, Jewish News reported.
Apparently, the inspectors also “quizzed the girls on their views about Facebook and queried how they managed without a Smartphone.”
Will you offer us a hand? Every gift, regardless of size, fuels our future.
Your critical contribution enables us to maintain our independence from shareholders or wealthy owners, allowing us to keep up reporting without bias. It means we can continue to make Jewish Business News available to everyone.
You can support us for as little as $1 via PayPal at email@example.com.
It began with three Jewish schools receiving surprise inspections in recent weeks, including a school in Manchester, where most of the complaints have originated.
NAJOS expressed “grave concerns” following reports from school administrators that Jewish girls “felt bullied into answering inspectors’ questions” and that students and staff have been feeling “traumatized and ashamed.”
NAJOS statement read: “Ofsted inspectors have been asking pupils inappropriate and challenging questions, many of which fall outside the religious ethos and principles at orthodox Jewish faith schools.”
One 9th grade girl reported feeling “uncomfortable and upset” after inspectors started telling them that a “woman might choose to live with another woman and a man could choose to live with a man, it’s up to them.”
An 11th grade girl said: “They made us feel threatened about our religion. They asked ‘Do you have friends from other religions?’ They asked this many times until we answered what they wanted us to say. We felt very bullied.”
According to the NAJOS statement, in one inspection, 9-year old girls in an Orthodox Jewish primary school were asked whether they know how babies are made and whether they know any gays.
NAJOS director Jonathan Rabson: “This confrontational approach by inspectors is a worrying trend never been seen before in the UK Jewish community. We fear it suggests a shift in policy towards faith schools.”
There has been a growing suspicion in Great Britain, according to Jewish News, that religious schools are being targeted, after news broke this summer of Operation Trojan Horse, an organized attempt by Islamists to covertly co-opt schools in England.
So how did the Jews end up getting “inspected”?
In a letter to both Ofsted and Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, Jewish educators have argued that their students were being “disproportional targeted” and that “Jewish values and ethos are being questioned by inspectors in a climate of hostility designed to unsettle the pupils at member schools.”
Ofsted denied that Jewish schools were being singled out, according to Jewish News. Of the 4, 000 inspections conducted this year, only ten were in Jewish schools, and only two of those were unannounced.
Ofsted did admit having inspected 12 independent Jewish schools, and three of those were surprise visits.
Ofsted’s Chief Operating Officer HMI Matthew responded to the horrified accusations saying: “Inspectors must ask questions which probe the extent to which pupils are prepared for the next stage in their education, or employment, or for life in modern Britain.”
Where, no doubt, they would have to reconsider their sexual identity…
Matthew added: “I am sorry if these questions seemed insensitive or offensive. Inspectors use age-appropriate questions to test children’s understanding and tolerance of lifestyles different to their own.”
“Ofsted is not looking for answers to questions which are contrary to their faith, simply that they are able to express views which are neither intolerant nor discriminatory towards others. This is vital if we are to make sure young people are ready for life in modern Britain.”