The UK education watchdog has retrospectively altered a contentious inspection report of a Jewish school in London at the centre of the debate over same-sex marriage, overturning its initial finding that students were not taught in line with “fundamental British values.”
The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) initially criticised the Vishnitz Girls School in its May 10 inspection report because students were not taught about “gender reassignment and sexual orientation” in line with the 2010 Equality Act. The report found pupils had only a “limited understanding of the different lifestyles and partnerships” and concluded they were not given a full understanding of “fundamental British values”.
The crackdown on the school was seized on as an example of how legalising same-sex marriage in Australia could marginalise faith-based institutions including schools that continued to promote traditional marriage.
No campaigner and vice-president of the federal Liberal Party, Karina Okotel, used the Vishnitz school to warn on ABC TV last month that same-sex marriage strengthened the rollout in the UK of “LGBTI education in all schools.”
But her claim the legalisation of same-sex marriage was a key reason Vishnitz students were found not have been taught in line with “fundamental British values” was also attacked as baseless by the national broadcaster. She told The Australian yesterday it was “alarming” that Ofsted had now changed its inspection report to remove all references to teaching students about sexual orientation and gender reassignment.
“Every time a concern is raised about the material making its way into our schools, the records get changed and those who spoke up are denigrated as liars,” she said. “I was called a liar when speaking about Vishnitz Girls’ School … (I was) telling the truth, but the education authorities did their best to hide the evidence.”
An Ofsted spokeswoman confirmed the body had “amended some lines in the inspection report” in order to “clarify which standards the school met, and did not meet, with regard to British values and the Equalities Act.” “The report now states that the school met the standard regarding British values, but not the standard regarding equalities,” she said. “The standards do not expect schools to teach pupils in detail about different lifestyles, gender reassignment or sexual orientation.
“Only that they encourage respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equalities Act. The report also now clearly states this.”
It is the view of Ofsted that all schools must pay regard to key “protected characteristics” contained in the Equality Act and it rejects suggestions the inspection report was influenced by same-sex marriage.
Spokesman for the Coalition for Marriage Lyle Shelton accused Ofsted of “deception.”
“Activists sneak radical LGBTIQ sex and gender theory into the classroom and when they are called out on it, they just remove all the evidence,” he said.
“It happened with Safe Schools. It happened with the push to have the Gender Fairy brought into kindergartens.’’