Faith school found inadequate for ten years fails inspection again

An independent faith school has been found inadequate for the tenth year after failing its latest Ofsted inspection.

Talmud Torah Yetev Lev, an independent orthodox Jewish school in Hackney, has not been found to be of a satisfactory standard since 2011, and has received a rating of “inadequate” since 2014.

In its report published this week, Ofsted said the school’s secular curriculum is “disjointed”, “lacks coherence”, and is “not well planned or sequenced”. Similar weakness in secular teaching have been identified in every inspection since 2014.

Ofsted also said the school “does not do enough to promote pupils age appropriate awareness and understanding of people with different beliefs, views or experiences to them”, thereby limiting their preparedness for life in modern Britain and understanding “beyond their immediate community”.

In their conversations with pupils, inspectors were prevented from discussing specific topics, “including some aspects of relationships”, by school leaders. Some religious schools obstruct Ofsted inspections from asking questions that conflict with their religious beliefs, such as those concerning relationships and sex education.

In 2019, a no-notice inspection found a litany of safeguarding failures at the school. This included the use of methods of discipline “harmful to pupils’ physical and emotional well-being”, including “cheek pinching, smacking and slapping”, and a failure by the school to inform the Department for Education (DfE) that a building was being used for teaching.

Due to its failings, an independent school warning notice was issued to Talmud Torah Yetev Lev in 2019.

The school remains subject to a restriction from the DfE which prevents the admission of any new pupils. There are 636 pupils currently on the school roll, significantly more than the school’s registered admission number of 567.

NSS: Failings “inevitable” when religious interests prioritised

National Secular Society campaigns officer Jack Rivington said: “Failings like those at Talmud Torah Yetev Lev are inevitable when schools prioritise religious indoctrination over pupils’ education and wellbeing.

“It is shameful that over the decade this school has been found inadequate, hundreds of children have been deprived of an adequate education, and the opportunities it brings.

“More must be done to ensure schools which continually fail their pupils over many years, and show no inclination to change their practices, are held to account and closed if necessary.”

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