The Way Forward

Our community recently received a gift of sorts from OFSTED, when it formally stated that it would no longer penalise primary schools for not teaching about all 9 protected characteristics. I’m told that this has been the Department for Education’s recommendation for a number of years, but, until last week, OFSTED insisted on their own…

A Woman of Valour, Who Can Defame?

A number of readers have called me out over articles where I have discussed the role of women in the Charedi community in a cavalier way. While it is true that almost every well-run institution in Stamford Hill, to quote myself, is ‘run by women who are feisty and articulate’, that doesn’t do justice to…

The Leadership Deficit

The latest news from the holy land is bleak. Once cited as a model example of Covid-19 suppression, Israel is now suffering from one of the world’s worst second waves. Yet another country faced with the awful choice between plague, on the one hand, and economic collapse and nationwide house arrest, on the other, looks…

The Gathering Storm

I‘m afraid I have some disturbing news. Living amongst us, indeed in the heart of our capital city, is a group of people who can only be described as barbaric fiends. In this community there is ‘not a single man who is in any way psychologically normal’ and they are all, for good measure, ‘profoundly…

Yeshivas: Worth fighting for?

For the past five years, the ‘Chinuch crisis’ in the UK has centered on the battle between OFSTED and schools. This confrontation has played out on two levels. The first concerns the poor quality of secular education in many boys’ schools, particularly chassidic chedorim. The second is the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and…

Time to grow up

My last article was about our collective inability in the community to speak up to a minority of bullies who have taken upon themselves the mantle not only of bossing us around, but also speaking on our behalf to outsiders. No better example of the latter phenomenon can be found than the recent disinvitation of…

Speak up!

'The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity'W.B. Yeats Most of my readers will be aware of the article I recently wrote in the Jewish Chronicle. I don’t need to elaborate any more on what I said there, even though the Chronicle, in its wisdom, declined to run some of…

Enough is enough

Last Monday I appeared on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme to discuss allegations of Charedi schools pressuring parents to take up their legal right to opt out of sex education lessons. I argued that there was no evidence that either Yesodey Hatorah or Lubavitch were pressurising parents and that they were merely doing their duty…

No True Charedi

Many readers of this blog will be aware of my participation in a debate carried out in the pages of the Jewish Chronicle concerning the ongoing standoff between Charedi schools and the Department for Education on the topic of compliance with the Equality Act 2010 . I was moved to write my articles above all…

Improving schools: courage, not cash

Ten years ago, secular education in the typical Chassidic boys school (cheder) in Stamford Hill looked very much like it was: a joke. Textbooks were outdated and motheaten, curriculums and syllabuses were non-existent, and the words ‘lesson plan’ were never so much as uttered. Six years ago, however, the authorities in England reversed their decades-old…