Sunday, 31 January 2016

Hey, Ofsted, leave them kids alone


Note to Hamodia:

1. If you’re going to run an article on Ofsted it might be an idea not to use pictures of kids with longer hairstyles, shorter peyos and blue and patterned yarmulkes. Their schools are hardly affected and since you’re so proud of our tradition why not use the more traditional look.

2. It’s really useful being told the Latin etymology of words but perhaps also a few words on English and how it’s taught, or rather not taught, in our local chadorim would come in handy.

3. The absence of chareidi Ofsted inspectors – chareidim make up about 0.03% of the UK population – is indeed a scandal of biblical magnitude but may we also know why past chareidi inspectors could never find fault with chareidi schools. Even you’ll admit that they’re perfect only 99.9% of the time.

4. If you want your informed readers to truly believe in your campaign it would be useful to have a quote from a named person. Surely you can do better than a quote from some Interlink spinsheet, though I can understand if the spokespeople are concerned about some uncomfortable questions on their own schools.

5. Talking of Interlink, rather than setting up yet another project with a wonderful name LinkEd to compliment NAJOS, AOJOS, UOHC education committee and probably more acronyms lurking in the background, might it not be an idea for them to defend what is actually going on within the local schools? Or is this project simply to fill a gap in the grants?

6. Grouping yourself with the Board of Deputies and quoting MPs does indeed give your cause immense credibility. But don’t you think that since the issues facing local chadorim are of an entire different nature to those facing the other Jewish schools it might be useful to address those issues? Just asking, of course.

7. I’m afraid the trumpeting of tradition, though it did wonders in the past, has somewhat run out of steam. If this story is kosher you may have heard of the boy who cried wolf a few times too many. I’ve also been searching for a tradition of not teaching kids to read and write and other basic skills and perhaps you can send me some mareh mekoimes. And while you’re searching maybe you’ll also find a source for barely being able to write in Hebrew and Yiddish either.

8. I know your pages have to accommodate the many pictures of engagements, weddings and funerals of the gedoilim and their innumerable grandchildren but perhaps can you also find some time for school admissions, not the national rules you so wonderfully elucidated upon this week, but the ad hoc ‘rules’ and outright lies concocted by schools when they don’t like the length of your wife’s wig or skirt.

9. Please take the above as constructive criticism which is usually allowed. And notwithstanding the above it was really comforting to read your article after coming from the Tribune where Reb Michoel Posen had a half page on how to work the benefits system which was rather upsetting. At least on your pages I could read how the next generation is being prepared to stand on its own feet and for that we really do need Rachamei Shamayim.

(10. I really must apologise for this last one, but since I’m writing I hope you’ll forgive me this minor point. When you next bump in to your ‘consultant’ Pinter can you please have a word with him on ‘his’ school hall. The DfE have just published the 2014/2015 school performance tables showing the self-generated income for Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls School to be £70 per pupil. At 334 pupils this works out at a total of £23,380. However, the school has said that it hired the school hall out 118 times in 1 year at £750 per hire. That makes it £88,500. I know sums don’t come easy to everyone and I wouldn’t want to trouble him on the fact that the community actually pays more like £2,500 per hire because it is after all Stamford Hill. It would however be nice if you could please get from him a short comment, which he is usually so generous with, on this slightly taxing subject.)