London – A north London Chasidic school which made headlines earlier this year for threatening to ban students whose mothers drive them to school is back in the news again – this time for having its application for state aid rejected.
The Hackney Council has denied Beis Malka Girls’ School, run by the Belz Chassidic Sect in Stamford Hill, the status of a “voluntary-aided, maintained school,” the JC.com reports.
In defending its decision to supply the aid, the Council said, “Information provided by the school identified significant funding over the next five years related to require building works on school premises. It was also noted that the amount identified could be construed as the minimum amount and that other expenditure could come to light at a later date.”
The proposal was also declined because of the quality of the school’s teaching and ability to provide for special needs students, its inadequate coverage of the National Curriculum, outstanding issues about the school site’s “long-term viability,” the condition of its buildings, and overall concerns about safety and health.
The Council also noted that the school was not in “compliance” with the 2010 Equality Act.
A statement issued by the Council said, “In each of these areas, it was judged that Beis Malka was not in a satisfactory position to meet the expectations and demands that becoming a voluntary-aided, maintained school would entail.”
Following a ruling in May by the Belzer Rebbe in Israel, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, both Beis Malka and the boys’ school Talmud Torah Machzikei Hadass attempted to ban students whose mothers drove them to school because the concept of women drivers is against “the traditional rules of modesty in our camp.”
The Equality and Human Rights Commission notified the schools that barring children on such grounds is unlawful.
The yeshivas have since agreed not deny or prevent the admission of any students, regardless of whether their mother drives.