Ofsted, the educational inspectorate that has been downgrading Jewish schools, has admitted to making a mistake after being threatened with legal action.
In June, Manchester’s King David High School was downgraded from “outstanding” to “inadequate” on the grounds of “unlawful segregation” in its Yavneh Girls and Yavneh Boys divisions. This segregation was in breach of the Equality Act, Ofsted claimed.
The school’s chairman of governors, Joshua Rowe, said, “I argued with Ofsted for three months prior to them publishing their report in June that they were wrong. We issued proceedings, and then, within a 21-day period, they conceded they were wrong – and they were wholly wrong. It was ill-advised for them to take this stance in the first place.”
He added, “I estimate the costs we have incurred will be in the region of £80,000 – you have to prepare a good case for a judicial review. We employed a solicitor and two Queen’s Counsel.”
Ofsted was ordered by the court to pay the school’s “reasonable costs.”
Ofsted said, “We have taken the very unusual step of giving consent to the quashing of the most recent inspection on King David’s High School in Manchester, which was published in June 2019.
“We have agreed with the school that, given the school’s particular arrangements, it was not open to us to conclude that there was unlawful discrimination on grounds of either sex or religion and belief, when comparing a pupil in either of the single-sex streams with a pupil in the main stream.
“Quashing the report will allow us to re-inspect the school at an appropriate time, looking again at how it manages the separation of pupils by sex and assessing the education it provides against our new inspection framework.”
No Confidence Discussion Scheduled For Kol Nidrei Night
Outrage was expressed in the Jewish community when a Labour branch scheduled a vote of no confidence in Jewish MP Dame Louise Ellman on Yom Kippur.
Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl said: “That a Jewish MP should be threatened with a vote of no confidence tabled for Yom Kippur – the holiest day in the Jewish calendar when she has no opportunity even to respond – ought to be a source of shame for the Labour Party. Louis Ellman has fought bravely against anti-Semitism in her own party and she should be applauded, not vilified.”
Ellman’s rabbi, Ariel Abel, told The Jewish Press, “Dame Louise Ellman is a life-long activist for justice and fair treatment of all her constituents, Jew and gentile alike. … For the British Labour Party and her local constituency party to even consider her for a vote of no confidence is, in my opinion, not only an attack on her sterling record as a dedicated servant of the people but against the values she represents.
“The move to suggest such a motion is far from the minds of the vast majority of her electorate, who gave her the third largest majority of any Parliamentarian in the last election.”
The branch, St Michael’s, was warned by Labour’s North West Region not to call on Ellman to resign at the meeting on Kol Nidrei night, as were two more branches who wanted to submit votes of no confidence in Dame Louise.
A source close to Dame Louise told The Jewish Press, “The official selection process has not yet started. Those attempts at votes of no confidence were to try to jump the gun. They are so eager to get rid of Dame Louise. It is very unpleasant.”
Conservative Candidate Reveals Jewish Roots
Rory Stuart, the former Conservative MP, who is standing as an independent candidate in next year’s London mayoral election, has revealed that he has Jewish roots.
The MP, who ran against Boris Johnson for the Conservative leadership and lost the Conservative whip for voting to stop a no-deal Brexit, began his campaign for London’s top job in the highly Jewish populated area of Golders Green.
He disclosed that his mother’s grandparents (on her father’s side) were Jews who came from Romania to New York in 1880 and moved 20 years later to London. His American wife, Shoshanah, meanwhile, is Jewish as the daughter of a Jewish woman.
He told the Jewish Chronicle, “We celebrate Jewish festivals, but also Christian festivals.”
He told the Jewish News that he intended to add Yiddish to the 11 languages he already knows, in order to understand Yiddish letters from his Jewish great-grandfather that are in his possession.
Maharat Graduate To Serve As Scholar-In-Residence
A Modern Orthodox woman with rabbinic ordination will serve as a scholar-in-residence for the UK Jewish Feminist Alliance.
Eryn London, from Randolph, New Jersey, studied theatre, psychology, and Judaic studies at Goucher College, Baltimore, where she became Hillel president.
Upon graduation, she continued her studies in London, writing a dissertation on ritual in community building. She then made aliyah and studied at Midreshet Lindenbaum and then, by distant learning, at New York’s Yeshivat Maharat, from which she received her ordination.