Adjust size of text


Follow us and continue the conversation

Your saved articles

You haven't saved any articles

What are you looking for?

Investigation finds thousands of Hasidic boys in London can barely speak English

TJI Pick
Print this

Published: 10 March 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

A Times of London investigation has revealed thousands of pupils in London’s unregistered yeshiva high schools receive no secular education.

Up to 30 educational institutions in the Hasidic London enclave of Stamford Hill offer no secular studies and are  operating as unregistered institutions. This makes them exempt from the state curriculum due to a loophole that allows them to avoid being labelled as schools.

“Men in my community emerge from 15 years of schooling unable to read English, unable to write grammatically in any language, unable to understand basic mathematics and science, and, distressingly often, unable to speak English fluently,” the paper quoted the head of one Hasidic elementary school as saying.

The report comes months after a bombshell New York Times investigation revealed that ultra-Orthodox boys’ schools in the United States were hardly teaching English, math and other secular subjects.

The investigation has also exposed the widespread use of corporal punishment in the schools, which was also an issue in the New York Times investigation.

Women in the community generally receive a significantly higher level of secular education.

 Yehudis Fletcher, an activist and co-founder of Nahamu, an organisation combating religious extremism in the UK Jewish community, recounted how, when she got married, her husband – who had attended one of these Hasidic schools – “didn’t know his colours,” because that “was a woman’s thing and these were words he didn’t need to know the meaning of.”

Yeshiva Ketanas (ultra-Orthodox boys’ high schools) “across the board” are “unregistered and operating outside of safeguards, including ones affiliated with the Belz, Satmar and Vishnitz” Hasidic sects, she said.

“All of them are problematic for that reason,” although they are mostly affiliated with primary schools that do teach some, albeit minimal, secular studies, and are registered and inspected by Ofsted (the British government’s regulatory education authority).

Thousands of Hasidic boys in London deprived of secular education, unable to speak English (Haaretz)

Photo: Ultra-Orthodox boys in London on a Purim outing this week (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

Enter site