A Jewish boys' school in north London has been criticised by Ofsted after it discovered pupils shared a "universal" view that a woman's role was to "look after children, clean the house and cook". Inspectors visiting Beis Aharon School in Stamford Hill also said "fundamental British values", like respecting different faiths and sexual orientations, was not promoted by teachers.
An Ofsted report published on 16 February found the independent primary school, which charges annual fees of £2,860, repeatedly failed to meet a number of required standards. The watchdog said teachers "prioritised the ethos of their faith over the requirements of the independent school standards".
Pupils were found to hold "very narrow views about the role of women in society", with inspectors observing: "The school continues not to prepare pupils adequately for adult life in British society. For example, leaders obscure any images in reading books of women and girls with short sleeves or of children swimming."
The report added: "Pupils universally consider that the role of women is to 'look after children, clean the house and cook', while men 'go to work'."
Senior leaders at the school were also criticised for ignoring the promotion of central characteristics of the Equality Act 2010. Ofsted said many of its 347 pupils, a large proportion of whom are Jewish Orthodox with Yiddish as their first language, failed to show respect for other faiths and people of different sexual orientations.
One example given by inspectors was when they discovered the word "Christmas" had been crossed out whenever it appeared in a Year 4 reading book. Teachers, some of whom were "unqualified", were also found to spend just one hour per day teaching a secular curriculum. Inspectors stated: "The narrow curriculum continues to result in pupils having limited, if any, understanding of democracy and individual liberty."
This is the not the first time the school has failed an Ofsted inspection, with a November 2014 visit also seeing it fail a number of standards. The school has been given a list of 34 points from The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulation 2014 on which to improve.