Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls' School
|Type||Voluntary aided school|
|Headteacher||Mrs Rivky Weinberg|
|Principal||Rabbi Abraham Pinter|
|DfE URN||133599 Tables|
Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls' School is a state-funded Jewish secondary school for girls, located in the Stamford Hill area of the London Borough of Hackney in England. The school primarily serves the Charedi Jewish community of Stamford Hill.
The school has been rated "Inadequate" by Ofsted for the highly restrictive education it provided to its pupils.The Charedi community do not have access to television, the internet or other media, and members of the community aim to lead modest lives governed by the codes of Torah observance. In 2008 it emerged that nine pupils had refused to sit a Key Stage 3 Shakespeare test on The Merchant of Venice because they felt the character of Shylock was antisemitic. There have also been recurring controversies at the school due to failures to teach sex education, the theory of evolution, or various aspects of British history.
The school was founded in 1942 as an independent school with separate sections for boys and girls, and with junior and senior departments. The girls' senior department became a voluntary aided school in September 2005. At this time the school moved into new accommodation. Several figures attended the formal opening of the new school building, including Tony Blair, Lord Levy, Gerald Ronson, and Richard Desmond. In 2007 the school was top of the Department for Education's school's "value added" scoring system for pupil progress. In October 2014 the school was downgraded from "Outstanding" to "Good" in its ratings by the Ofsted inspectorate following a no-notice inspection.
In 2014, the Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR) Exam board, having conducted an investigation into alleged exam malpractice, concluded that the school had redacted (deleted) questions involving the evolution of species on GCSE science exam questions. Ofqual subsequently ruled that blocking out exam questions is malpractice, and, accordingly, not permissible. However it was later revealed that OCR had privately agreed that the school could advise students not to answer particular questions if they "need to do this in view of their religious beliefs." It was downgraded to "Inadequate" in 2018 due to not following the national curriculum, limiting pupils' access to knowledge, poor governance, poor quality teaching, lack of safeguarding, lack of respect for diversity or promotion of tolerance, and failures to meet statutory requirements to equip pupils for adulthood in British society.
The school’s principal, Rabbi Abraham Pinter, said in 2015 that few students go to university because "there isn’t the environment for Haredi girls to do that", and that "Our experience is that the better educated girls turn out to be the most successful mothers. For us, that’s the most important role a woman plays."
In 2018 the school has admitted censoring sections of GCSE textbooks to remove mentions of homosexuals and examples of women socialising with men. For example a references to homosexuals from a section on the Nazi belief in the superiority of the Aryan race. Elsewhere, a number of images of women were censored to hide their chests, shoulders and arms, and legs above the knee. In a section on the position of women in modern American society, references to women smoking, drinking and driving with men were redacted, as was the sentence: “They kissed in public.” Ofsted found further censorship when it reviewed the school, as well as other systemic failures. It rated the school "Inadequate" and recommended it be put into "special measures".
- "School falls down league tables after pupils boycott 'anti-Semitic' Shakespeare | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. 2008-02-29. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
- "The JC Power 100". Retrieved 2013-08-21.
- Paton, Graeme (1 March 2007). "Comprehensive that's in a different class". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
- "Jewish faith school caught censoring questions on science exam papers". secularism.org.uk/. 2013-10-10. Retrieved 2013-10-10.
- "Jewish school redacts exam to remove evolution questions". bbc.co.uk/. 2014-03-04.
- "Evolution exam questions cannot be blocked, says Ofqual". 2014-03-31.
- Alice Harrold (2 December 2014). "Ofsted's 'good' Jewish school: no internet, no evolution". East London Lines. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
- Rocker, Simon (26 June 2018). "Chasidic girls' school Yesodey Hatorah branded inadequate in scathing Ofsted report". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
- Marsh, Sarah (2018-03-09). "Jewish school removed 'homosexual' mentions from GCSE textbook". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-12.