School refusing to teach kids about LGBT+ lives should not be allowed to expand, says Ofsted

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A primary school that refuses to teach children about LGBT+ lives should not be allowed to expand, Ofsted has said.

Talmud Torah London, a fee-paying boys primary school in North London that primarily serves the Orthodox Jewish community, applied to the Department for Education (DfE) for permission to expand its offering to years seven and eight.

Government guidance for relationships and sex education (RSE) states that secondary (which covers years seven to 11) pupils must learn about the LGBT+ community, with individual schools given discretion as to what age this is introduced.

The school told Ofsted inspectors it “has no intention of ever referencing those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender as part of PSHE education or relationships education”, The Telegraph reported.

It did plan on including the “encouragement of respect for other people”, particularly in regards to protected characteristics identified in the Equality Act 2010.

Despite noting other positives about the school, the proposed curriculum covering relationships and sex education did not meet inspectors’ standards.

Ofsted is often commissioned to inspect and assess whether schools are suitable to be granted expansion status, and inspectors who visited the school noted that its proposed secondary curriculum, apart from its lack of LGBT+ education, would “be suitable”.

In their report, inspectors stated: “The planned curriculum covers all the required areas of learning, including religious education, English, mathematics, science, computing, physical education, music, geography and history.”

Additionally, it was noted that the school had strong safeguarding principles for their pupils as well as “credible and ambitious plans” for its development in other areas.

Talmud Torah London has a “good” rating by Ofsted, as of June 2021, but in 2017 were issued with a notice by DfE regarding its curriculum not meeting the standards for independent schools.

The DfE will have final say as to whether the school is approved for expansion, regardless of Ofsted’s recommendations.

Talmud Torah London have been contacted for comment.

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