The head of the Brodetsky Jewish Primary in Leeds has said that the successful integration of an influx of non-Jewish pupils disproves the claim that faith schools are insular.
Jeremy Dunford reported that 12 of the 274 Brodetsky pupils are from African, Asian and non-Jewish British backgrounds.
The majority enrolled this academic year because of a severe shortage of places in other schools in the area. They had been welcomed by other pupils and staff and joined lessons in Jewish and Hebrew studies.
Brodetsky’s Jewish pupil numbers are rising, with its 45-place reception intake nearly double that of upper school years.
“Any school, whether faith or community, which sits alone and doesn’t interact with the community around it can be accused of being insular,” Mr Dunford pointed out.
“Brodetsky is an Orthodox Jewish school and its service to the Jewish community will always be its first port of call. But we want children to be proud of who they are side-by-side with, acknowledging the wider community.”
Meanwhile, architectural drawings for the Jewish high school due to open on the Brodetsky site in September were released this week. Current Brodetsky buildings will be remodelled into classrooms, science labs, drama and food technology suites.
An additional building will be completed by 2014.