What the school league tables don’t tell you


By Simon Rocker
January 23, 2009
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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).

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