Rabbis representing Britain’s main Orthodox communities have told the government that their schools cannot discuss LGBT-related issues with pupils.
According to the Jewish Chronicle, the rabbinate of Chinuch UK have made it clear that its 35 or so private schools cannot comply with the latest pro LGBT directives from the state.
Orthodox Judaism, like Islam, prohibits homosexuality. However, no Muslim schools have taken such a clear stand against LGBT teachings up to now.
In a statement, Chinuch UK said that schools should not “not describe to pupils lifestyles prohibited by the Torah” and “ensure that inspectors do not speak to pupils about these matters at all.”
They said schools, when asked by inspectors, should “state clearly and respectfully that they do not cover these subjects.”
But schools were directed “to demonstrate that pupils are taught to act respectfully to all people regardless of difference.”
The declaration from Chinuch UK’s rabbis has been provoked by recent correspondence to some schools from the Department for Education.
Independent schools are required as part of their teaching to cover groups listed in Equality Law which include those of same-sex orientation or who have reassigned their gender.
Schools are also required to acknowledge the existence of LGBT people as part of relationships and sex education which comes into force this September.
Recently Ofsted said Gateshead Jewish Primary School did not meet independent school standards because its leadership confirmed that “pupils would not be taught about different sexual orientations or gender identity.”
It is the fifth strictly Orthodox school in little over a month that Ofsted said was falling down on LGBT issues.
Inspectors concluded that “although pupils know that other people have religions and beliefs that differ from their own… they are not knowledgeable about what those beliefs are.”