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Tory councillor slammed for saying Jewish faith schools don’t need Ofsted ‘giving children ideas of homosexuality’

PUBLISHED: 17:01 22 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:24 24 January 2020

Cllr Aron Klein. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cllr Aron Klein. Picture: Polly Hancock

Picture: Polly Hancock

Hackney Conservatives are investigating after a Stamford Hill councillor said unregistered Jewish faith schools don’t need Ofsted “giving children ideas” of homosexuality or atheism.

Cllr Aron Klein's homophobic comments come in response to a story about Hackney Council struggling to ensure all schools in the borough, including the yeshivas in Stamford Hill, are registered.

An LGBT+ education charity has criticised the remarks, which came in a barrage of emails sent to the Gazette on Monday night.

Cllr Klein, who was elected to Stamford Hill West with 1,468 votes in 2018, said: "The Haredi community pride itself with a youth clean and pure from crime.

"The way they do it is a total ban of television at home. Films or video or cinema is totally forbidden as not to give the kids any idea of crime, mischief of any sort.

"Most boys and girls are getting married at around the age of 19 after years of learning in yeshiva to respect your partner.

"We pride ourselves with a divorce rate of one out of ten.

"Why bring in Ofsted to our yeshivas? They give the children ideas of atheist, gay, early childhood sex. We don't need all this thank you."

In a subsequent email the Stamford Hill West councillor turned his attention to Hackney mayor Phil Glanville, who is planning to write to the government calling for powers to take action against unregistered schools.

"You mentioned Philip Glanville," he said. "I believe he is gay. Good luck to him. No thank you. We don't want Ofsted coming mixing, confusing our children. For us it's Adam and Eve. A man and a woman. A boy and a girl."

Mr Glanville did not wish to respond to the comments.

Dr Elly Barnes MBE, a former Stoke Newington teacher who founded charity Educate and Celebrate to ensure all schools and organisations have LGBT+ friendly curriculums, said: "All public bodies, including faith schools and all institutions, must adhere to The Equality Act.

"We would expect there to be no hierarchy of equality between age, disabilities, sex, gender identity, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy, race or nationality, religion or sexual orientation according to the law of the UK.

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"Identifying as LGBT+ is legal in the UK. To deny this education to young people who are already struggling with their place in the world only increases self-harm, suicide and mental health rates."

Parents in England can withdraw children from sex education until the age of 15. Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman criticised the government on Tuesday for a lack of action over protests against LGBT+ equality lessons in primary schools.

Her comments came after teachers at the Birmingham schools that faced protests last year called on the government to do more.

Cllr Klein also said the children at yeshivas, who are aged 13 to 19, should not be "mixed up with so many different studies" when it comes to religion.

He went on: "We teach our children god created the world some 6,000 years ago within six days and rested in the seventh.

"Ofsted come in and says you must also teach the atheist version. The world was made by itself from evolution millions of years ago. Leave us alone, it's all baloney.

"We teach our children the prophet Moses Torah. Ofsted comes in, we must also teach Jesus, bible and Mohammed, Quran.

"They are all great religions I am sure. They are made for schools where the children are born into this particular faith."

He also pointed out the council's own children's social care department had "failed miserably". It was given a "requires improvement" grade by Ofsted last month.

"Why is Philip Glanville going on about yeshivas?" he said. "Let him look into is own backyard, not complying with Ofsted."

Cllr Klein later made clear he was not representing any community or party with his comments, which were his own views.

He added: "Yes Ofsted studies are very nice. It will get you a job: doctor, accounting, solicitors, but we are not looking into this sort.

"Most our people jump in to self employed business adventurers, making money, paying taxes honestly."

Hackney Conservative Federation said it was "looking into the matter".

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