State-funded Orthodox Jewish school removes images of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers from textbooks

'It is not acceptable for a state school to take such a censorious, homophobic and misogynistic approach to education,' campaigners said

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Friday 09 March 2018 16:04
A faith school in London has been redacting references to ‘homosexuality’ and women’s rights
A faith school in London has been redacting references to ‘homosexuality’ and women’s rights

An all-girls faith school has reportedly removed examples of women socialising with men from textbooks – including an image of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing.

Pictures of women’s shoulders and legs, as well as references to homosexuals and abortions, have been redacted from Understanding the Modern World at the Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School in Hackney, north London.

It is one of the exam board AQA’s GCSE history resources.

Concerned members of the community shared the redacted books with the charity Humanists UK, which has described the London school’s approach to education as “censorious, homophobic and misogynistic”.

The school – which serves the orthodox Charedi community in Hackney – has been rated as “good” by Ofsted, which says that schools should be actively promoting “fundamental British values”.

After the textbook redactions were revealed, Humanists UK has called on Ofsted to investigate the situation at the state school.

References to homosexuality have been redacted (Humanists UK)

The allegations come just days after Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, told MPs that inspectors had found books advocating men beating their wives in unregistered schools.

Jay Harman, education campaigns manager for Humanists UK, said: “It is simply not acceptable for a state-funded school to take such a censorious, homophobic and misogynistic approach to education.

Pictures of women’s legs and and shoulders in the textbook have also been covered up (Humanists UK)

He added: “Once again, the consequences of giving religion free reign over our education system are brought into sharp focus.

“Children deserve so much better than this, so we hope Ofsted will now investigate and take action immediately.”

An Ofsted spokesperson said: “Ofsted is clear that all schools have a duty to actively promote fundamental British values. This includes mutual respect and tolerance of those who hold values different from their own.

“We will not hesitate to act where we have concerns that schools are failing to uphold these values, and to ensure that pupils are properly prepared for life in modern Britain.

“Inspectors have recently visited the school and will publish their findings in due course.”

A spokesman for Yesodey Hatorah School said the claims were “old news”.

“It is well known that we redact our textbooks and it has been reported time and again as well as being well documented by all relevant authorities,” he said.

“This policy has nothing to do with homophobia or misogyny but is to protect our girls from sexualisation in line with our parents’ wishes and religious beliefs.”

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