Faith school continues to fail due to “narrow” secular curriculum

Posted: Wed, 10 Nov 2021

Faith school continues to fail due to “narrow” secular curriculum

An independent faith school has failed three consecutive inspections due to its "narrow" secular curriculum.

Talmud Torah Toldos Yakov Yosef (TTTYY), an independent orthodox Jewish school for boys in London, was rated "inadequate" in its most recent inspection, according to a report published today by school inspectorate Ofsted.

It was also rated "inadequate" in its last two inspections in 2019 and 2017.

In its most recent inspection in June, Ofsted found the school's secular curriculum "narrow", and said leaders "give little time to secular subjects on the timetable".

The inspection report said that "pupils spend most of the school day doing Jewish studies" and the standard teaching of secular subjects is "weak". It said leaders and teachers "do not have the expertise to teach the secular subjects well" and "do not have high expectations for pupils' achievement". It added that pupils "struggle to read and write English".

The report said leaders "did not allow inspectors to ask pupils about relationships". It said there is "no evidence" pupils have an age-appropriate understanding of healthy relationships.

It added that the personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) curriculum is planned in a way that "respects the ethos of the school", and "does not pay due regard to all the protected characteristics" in the Equality Act 2010.

Schools are required to teach about protected characteristics in equality law, including sexual orientation, to secondary-age pupils in an age-appropriate manner.

The report said pupils "are not well prepared for life in modern Britain. It said they "know very little about different cultures" and "do not interact much with people from other backgrounds". Additionally, their knowledge of religions other than Judaism "does not go beyond knowing the names of religions".

Pupils in Years 7 and 8 "do not receive any careers guidance" and so they "have no idea about the choices on offer for them when they leave the school."

TTTYY's previous inspection reports made similar criticisms regarding the narrow secular curriculum, limited opportunities to learn about other cultures, and inadequate careers guidance.

NSS reaction

NSS head of education Alastair Lichten said: "It is very concerning that schools like this continue to operate after repeated inspection failures.

"Many of TTTYY's failings relate directly to its fundamentalist religious ethos. The school doesn't value preparing its pupils for life in 21st century society. Instead, it is preparing them for a life of limited opportunities within an insular and high-control religious community.

"The government must not allow this school to continue to operate if it refuses to address any of the failings identified by Ofsted. We must not permit children to be left behind their peers due to wishes of religious community leaders."

The NSS has long supported improvements to independent school standards, and warned that schools are not facing appropriate regulatory action despite repeating failing inspections.

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Tags: Education, Independent schools