SCHOOLS MINISTER REASSURES BOARD OF DEPUTIES OF NEED FOR JEWISH SCHOOLS TO ‘PRESERVE THEIR ETHOS’
Submitted to: Organisations 
Posted: April 14 2008

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LONDON – (12 April 2008) – In a meeting held at the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Minister for Schools Jim Knight reiterated the Government’s support for Jewish schools to maintain their unique ethos and continuing commitment to the integrity of Jewish education in England.

The Minister promised that he would work with the Board of Deputies, religious authorities and schools to ensure their admission arrangements continue to preserve their strong Jewish ethos and promote family values.

In addition, Knight heard concerns about how specific aspects of education law impacted on Jewish schools but said that it was important to maintain a level playing field for schools and families.

Board of Deputies President Henry Grunwald QC welcomed Mr Knight’s comments and reiterated:

“We welcome what you have said tonight and reiterate that we have not only great schools but great Jewish Schools. They of course share your view that they must maintain their unique character. It is because of this ‘added value’ that Jewish schools produce good results and foster such strong citizenship values.”

Schools Minister Jim Knight said:

“I was pleased to have a positive and constructive meeting with Jewish community leaders last night and reiterate again our continued high confidence and trust in their work.

“We are committed to state maintained faith education in this country. That’s why the Government and all the major faith groups, including the Board of Deputies, Agency for Jewish Education and other Jewish school bodies worked so closely together on the landmark Faith in the System document, published last year.

“Jewish schools are among the most successful in the country. They are popular with parents and play a vital role in delivering excellent education for their pupils. The Jewish community’s commitment to helping young people reach their full potential and the high priority education is given at home is a model we can all learn from.

“I was happy to make clear again that schools are able to ask for voluntary contributions and we fully understand that Jewish schools in particular ask for financial contributions towards necessary security costs and extra religious education. However, requests for financial contributions must be kept separate from the admissions process.

“The Board of Deputies and the Government are committed to ending unfair admissions practices and making sure the law is complied with. We look forward to working with Jewish schools and their religious and local authorities to make sure their admission arrangements are in line with the law for 2009 and onwards and I will reflect on how best this work can protect and further their successful ethos.”

Grunwald and a number of head teachers and Governors emphasised that their schools did not exclude anyone because of their family situation or economic background and that this open approach had led to 63% of Jewish children enrolling in Jewish schools.

Mr Grunwald stated: “I am not aware of any Jewish school that refuses admission to a pupil because of an inability to make such a contribution. In fact, at some schools, no more than one third of parents actually make such contributions.”

For more information, please contact

Winston Pickett, Director of Communications, Board of Deputies:

Tel: 0207 543-5400 Mobile: 07932 075 625, E-mail Winston.Pickett@BoD.org.uk

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    Winston Pickett
    Board of Deputies  

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