Recently, an orthodox Jewish school failed two consecutive inspections for failing to teach gender ideology. However, once the story came to light, all references to sexual orientation or gender reassignment were deleted from the inspection report by the education regulator.
A few months ago, an orthodox Jewish school in the UK failed two consecutive education authority inspections for failing to teach girls between the ages of 3 and 11 years about sexual orientation and gender re-assignment. In fact, the school faced closure for what the report called their failure to teach these “fundamental British values”.
Vishnitz, an all-girls primary school, receives no government funding, and as a result was able to educate the girls in accordance with orthodox Jewish beliefs. A faith-based institution, the school made the decision to leave all sex education to the parents.
Up until the introduction of same-sex marriage, there had been no problem with this. However, once the Equalities Act was implemented in 2014, the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) began to fail the school when it came to compliance with the Equalities Act and the education of students in so-called “British values.”
The case was raised on a recent episode of ABC’s Q&A by human rights lawyer Karina Okotel as an example of the consequences of redefining marriage. But she was mocked on the program, and the ABC’s so-called ‘Fact Check’ subsequently described her claims as ‘baseless’.
However, during an interview with The Australian she the reason her claims were decried as ‘baseless’ was because Ofsted seems to have drastically modified the reports in the face of public scrutiny.
“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.”
However, Ms Okotel was the one to get the last laugh because, shortly after her interview, Ofsted reluctantly admitted that it had changed the reports:
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.”
The revised report removed the reference to teaching explicitly about sexual orientation, and replaced it with a failure to “encourage respect for other people.” Indeed, all references to sexual orientation or gender reassignment were deleted from the report, and there was no notation anywhere to alert the reader to the fact that it had been amended.
Unfortunately, it is an all too familiar story when it comes to what is being taught in schools.
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.’’
Similarly, when the Do Opposites Really Attract? toolkit, being taught in NSW schools came to public attention, it came straight down off the NSW Department of Education website.
The content did not change; all that happened was the ability for parents to know about it, and whether it was in their kids’ school, was removed.
In the UK, outrage that girls as young as three years old might be required to learn about gender reassignment was addressed not by removing the requirement, but by euphemising the language used in the inspection report. The effect of this is that those who seek to question or criticise the State’s dramatic overreach into the education system following a change in marriage law are, like Karina, labelled as liars.
Despite last Wednesday’s disappointing result, we need to remain on guard against such tactics, because freedoms are not lost all in one go, but one at a time.