Schools secretary Ed Balls has praised the work of faith schools and emphasised the “high standards” he has seen at Jewish schools.
Mr Balls addressed more than 150 faith school teachers during the Keeping Faith in the System conference this week in central London. Representatives from Hertsmere Jewish Primary School, Beis Yaakov High School, Salford and Clore Tikva School in Ilford were among those who attended.
Mr Balls said: “Faith schools have strong leadership, are part of the wider community and make sure each child succeeds, while maintaining an ethos of the highest aspirations for every pupil.”
During his speech, he highlighted the work of Yavneh College in Borehamwood and said that when he attended its opening day, he felt “staggered” by those involved, who were completely “committed to education and excellence among young people”.
He also praised JCoSS, due to open in Barnet next year and available to all pupils who consider themselves to be Jewish, which he said will “drive for the highest standards and inclusion”.
Daniel Marcus, deputy headteacher at Yavneh College, said there is always a concern that children at faith schools will lose exposure to other communities. He said: “To ensure that there isn’t a possibility of becoming insular, we always need to make sure people meet those outside their own religion. Without this, we only give them half the picture.”
Meanwhile Mr Balls also announced that his department would be providing £50,000 worth of funding to the Schools Linking Network to support more link projects involving different faith schools.
Almost 70 faith schools, including a number of Jewish schools, have joined the SLN, which partners faith schools. Mr Balls said he wanted “to see more of these partnerships as part of our commitment to Faith in the System”.