By Simon Rocker
January 23, 2009
Our breakdown, in today's issue, of this year's school league tables confirms that Jewish schools are maintaining their high standards. Particularly worth noting is the high "value-added" rating of state-aided secondary schools: it means that pupils have done better in exams at 16 than could have been anticipated from their ability on entry at 11 (and no, not every pupil has a private tutor).
But one thing that you won't find among the increasing amount of data is how many pupils are taking "Jewish" subjects at GCSE or A-level. Of course, the Jewish ethos of a school extends beyond the formal curriculum and it is good that not everything of educational value can be counted simply in terms of As and Bs.
Yet providing a grounding in Jewish history and Hebrew is the business of Jewish schools and exams offer one incentive to study. Perhaps mainstream Jewish schools should set a target for at least a majority of their pupils to leave with some kind of qualification in Hebrew (biblical or modern).