A private school for Orthodox Jewish girls aged three to eight faces closure because pupils are not taught about homosexuality or gender reassignment.
The Vishnitz Girls School, in north London, does not give pupils “a full understanding of fundamental British values” according to a report by
the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Schools (Ofsted).
The report claimed girls “are not taught explicitly about issues such as sexual orientation. This restricts pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and does not promote equality of opportunity in ways that take account of differing lifestyles.”
As a result of its defiant stance in refusing to bow to state pressure, the school failed its Ofsted inspection for the third time since February 2016.
The report added that school leaders “recognise the requirement to teach about the protected characteristics as set out in the Equality Act 2010. However, they acknowledge that they do not teach pupils about all the protected characteristics, particularly those relating to gender re-assignment and sexual orientation. This means that pupils have a limited understanding of the different lifestyles and partnerships that individuals may choose in present-day society.”
The school has 212 pupils and annual fees of £5,200 (about $6,600). It was praised elsewhere in the report for the education it offers.
Private schools in the UK that do not meet Ofsted’s requirements can face closure by the Department for Education.
Gill Robins, of the campaign group Christians in Education, said in a blog post that Ofsted’s decision showed that “the Equality Act is actually hierarchical, with sexual orientation and gender reassignment at the apex of the Act.”
She wrote: “All equalities are equal, but some equalities are more equal than others. It doesn’t matter how good your school is in all other respects – simply refusing to teach very young children about gender reassignment will lead to your closure.”