A private Orthodox Jewish elementary school called the Vishnitz Girls School in Hackney, north London, is facing closure by the British government because it does not include curriculum that teaches children about homosexuality and gender reassignment surgery.
According to Heat Street, a report by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Schools (Ofsted) says that the Vishnitz Girls School does not teach its 212 attending children — aged three through eight — “a full understanding of fundamental British values.”
The report explained that the 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.”
It added that school administrators “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.”
Heat Street reported that the school has defiantly resisted the British government’s attempt to force its views on the school’s children, and has failed its Ofsted inspection three times since February 2016.
According to Schools Week, Vishnitz was not the only religious private school to fall short of the Ofsted checklist standards. Three schools have seen their Ofsted grades drop due to “lack of progress for pupils.” Bnos Zion of Bobov, also in Hackney, failed the Ofsted inspection because the school made “no reference to protected characteristics for sexual orientation and gender reassignment.”
According to British regulations, private schools that do not meet the Ofsted standards will have their school taken off the independent school registrar, which means that it will be a criminal offense for them to stay open.
Gill Robbins of Christians in Education, a pro-religious campaign group, wrote that despite school having a stellar reputation, a well rounded staff, and enthusiastic students, the Ofsted test proves that British laws for schools are “hierarchical,” with homosexuality and the transgenderism at the top, and religious belief taking a back seat.
Finally, Ofsted has revealed its true agenda. 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. That is the possible outcome for not only this school, but other Jewish schools which refuse, as a matter of faith, to teach about LGBT issues. All the indications are that the Orthodox community is prepared to stand its ground.
The argument used to justify such sanction is that these are protected characteristics. So is religious belief, but it’s now been made crystal clear by Ofsted that the Equality Act is actually hierarchical, with sexual orientation and gender reassignment at the apex of the Act. All equalities are equal, but some equalities are more equal than others.