Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Orthodox Jewish girls' school is accused of 'censorship' after gluing textbook pages together to airbrush famous woman including Elizabeth I and Anne Boleyn out of history lessons 

A Jewish girls' school has been slammed by Ofsted for cutting out a 'large chunk of history' by gluing textbook pages together.

Chief inspector Amanda Spielman accused the Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls' School of 'censorship' for redacting history books to cover up elements of Elizabeth I's reign and pictures of men and women together. 

Ms Spielman told a Commons education committee that the north London school made 'extremely extensive restrictions and redactions in all the materials made available to the girls'. 

The school, which caters to the capital's Orthodox Hasidic Jewish community, was run by Rabbi Avrohom Pinter, until his death from coronavirus this month. 

It has appointed an acting headteacher ahead of his replacement, with the website reading simply: 'Our core values and ethos, guided by the Rabbinate of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregation, discourage the use of online communication and Internet use wherever possible. 

'This site therefore holds only statutory and other basic information about the school.'

Ms Spielman made her comments about the school in Stamford Hill during an online hearing of the House of Commons education committee. 

She had been asked to defend criticisms she made in a report of the school in January. 

The Ofsted boss told the hearing passages about Elizabeth I had been removed from textbooks.

It is thought that they were censored because of references to the Queen's special friendship with Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester.  

The pair were also pictured dancing together and these images were redacted, reports The Times.      

The Tudor period was not taught thoroughly by teachers because of Henry VIII's many wives and Anne Boleyn's alleged adultery, according to the newspaper.  

January's report revealed that pupils were not allowed to visit the Tate Modern art gallery because it exhibited works by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, which were deemed far too explicit by staff.

Parts of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels were also redacted, the report said.   

Headteacher Rabbi Pinter became unwell at the beginning of April with symptoms of coronavirus. 

He was admitted to a central London hospital but died after testing positive for the virus.  

Best known for his work as a community figurehead, he was also a driving force in the bid to get state funding for the Yesodey Hatorah Girls School, where a new building was later opened by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair.  

MailOnline has contacted Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls' School for comment.


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