Birmingham school funding assured

By Cathy Forman, February 12, 2009

Birmingham Hebrew Congregation has refuted a claim that it will be withdrawing funding from the Jewish studies department of the city’s King David Primary.

The claim was made in a letter to the Birmingham Jewish Recorder by King David governors’ chair Dr Michael Wolffe, who warned that such a move would leave insufficient funds to meet the salaries of the two Jewish studies teachers.

An editorial about the issue in the Recorder had caused further disquiet.

But BHC chairman Keith Rowe insisted: “There is not a shred of truth in this. The synagogue is not withdrawing funds from the school. We have not changed any arrangements at all.”

The synagogue had called a meeting of the school’s foundation governors to emphasise its commitment to King David. There was no threat to the jobs of the teachers. Although unable to attend, Dr Wolffe subsequently accepted that there was no immediate financial concern.

However BHC — which finances Jewish studies along with the Central Synagogue, Birmingham Jewish Education Board and parental contributions — has set up a committee to look into funding.

According to Mr Rowe: “The funding is not set up in a well-structured way. We need to see how to do things better in the future.” The committee is due to report its findings in April.

The voluntary-aided King David has 245 pupils. Half the children are Muslim and around 30 per cent are Jewish.

Last updated: 4:22pm, July 16 2009