Ultra-Orthodox School That Refuses To Teach English Defies Brit Order To Close

The Forward/March 24, 2016

By Emily Siegel

British education watchdogs last month ordered an ultra-Orthodox Jewish school to close its doors for refusing to teach English, but it defiantly remains open.

The Evening Standard reported Thursday that kids with backpacks continue to enter and leave Talmud Torah Tashbar in North London everyday.

“I didn’t know it had been told to close, kids are still going in and out at all times, there’s been no difference,” a nearby resident told the paper.

Despite it being slated for closure by Feb. 12, neighbors told the Standard that they still see children with backpacks and buses outside the school each day.

Investigators from the Department of Education inspected Talmud Torah Tashbar in North London last year and found that the 200 students were only taught in Hebrew, failing to met minimum standards. The investigation also showed that the school was unregistered and had been operating illegally for 40 years.

The Independent requested school reports under Freedom of Information and found that the school states that it does not allow children to learn English as a religious principle nor will it provide a secular education.

“Every year that these schools remain open, thousands of children continue to be subjected to indoctrination, and the denial of even the most basic learning beyond the study of scripture,” Jay Harman, of the British Humanist Association told the Standard.

The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) had initially been told that the use of the school was changed to a community center and that the children were being homeschooled. A new probe has been launched.

OFSTED is also escalating investigations into unregistered schools. Sir Michael Wilshaw, the Chief Inspector of Schools, says that they might prosecute unregistered Islamic schools as well.

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