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Jewish school will tell pupils to skip 'inappropriate' exam questions

A state-funded, Orthodox Jewish school will encourage students not to answer GCSE exam questions on “inappropriate” topics such as evolution, homosexuality and “street culture”, TES can reveal.

Last year, Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School in North London attracted national attention for redacting questions on evolution in GCSE science papers. In response, exams watchdog Ofqual issued guidance warning schools not to “tamper” with papers, because it “prevents the candidate achieving their full potential and therefore disadvantages them”.

Yesodey Hatorah’s principal, Rabbi Avraham Pinter, told TES that the school would no longer obscure any questions on “inappropriate” topics, but would instead advise students not to answer them.

“We would say [to students], ‘This is the ethos of the school, you would be avoiding that question.’ Not instruction but advice,” he said. “The school has an ethos. This is what the parents want.”

Stephen Evans, campaigns manager for the National Secular Society, said this was an “intellectual betrayal” of the school’s pupils. “Advising young people not to answer exam questions is clearly not in the students’ best interests,” he added.

Read the full article in the 14 November edition of TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.


Related stories:

Religious studies: pupils must study two faiths for new GCSE - November 2014 

Faith schools that redact questions on evolution guilty of 'malpractice' - March 2014

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