A Jewish school in London is refusing to teach pupils about same-sex relationships despite warnings from education watchdog Ofsted.
The Talmud Torah Machzikei Hadass, a strictly Orthodox school in Hackney, was rebuked by Ofsted for failing to meet the requirements of the curriculum.
In a recent inspection report Ofsted said: “The curriculum did not pay regard to all the protected characteristics, specifically same-sex relationships and gender reassignment. Leaders are absolutely clear that they continue to have no intention of referencing same-sex relationships and gender reassignment with pupils.”
An independent day school for boys of the Jewish faith, Talmud Torah Machzikei Hadass has 641 pupils between 3 to 16 and is chaired by Rabbi Baumgarten and Rabbi Klein.
Judaism categorically asks its followers to abstain from practicing same-sex relationships. Leviticus condemns the act, saying: “If a man lies with a male as one lies with a woman, the two of them have done an abhorrent thing; they shall be put to death – their bloodguilt is upon them.”
Some Reform Jews may accept homosexuality, arguing that today’s culture is very different to that of the Ancient Hebrews. However, most Orthodox Jews would argue that God’s commands must be obeyed in a literal sense, in the same way that they follow the Jewish laws relating to food.
This is the second inspection of the school. In the 2020 inspection report Ofsted found that the “standards of literacy in English were poor” and “the teaching of early reading in English did not start early enough.” Furthermore, it said pupils’ weak reading and writing skills had a knock-on effect on their learning in other subjects.”
The inspection report also stated that “pupils did not learn enough about science, history or geography and teachers lacked expertise. There was not enough subject-specific training for staff.”
Although the current inspection report suggests that some improvements have been, the report says: “Improvements represent a step in the right direction. However, their long-term impact is yet to be seen.”