Nicky Morgan praises ‘outstanding’ faith schools on visit to Yavneh College


“Faith schools are outstanding, provided that they teach their pupils fundamental British values,” according to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.

Ms Morgan praised Jewish schools in general, and Yavneh College in particular, as she arrived at the Borehamwood school today, in a visit that followed the government’s recent approval to build a primary section on its site.

The secretary of state was accompanied by Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden, Yavneh headteacher Spencer Lewis and Yavneh president Benjamin Perl on a tour of the school, observing history, English, chemistry and Hebrew lessons, before taking part in a Q and A session with sixth-formers.

Mr Lewis first told the assembly of staff and students: “It is coming up to Yom Kippur – a period of reflection, which allows us to think about what our priorities are.

“For us as Jews, education is a priority, which is something I know we share with the secretary of state - a passion for learning. I would like to publicly thank her for all her support this year,” he said.

“I am delighted that we have been able to give approval to a new Jewish school,” Ms Morgan said. “My aim is to have every school in the UK offer as excellent an education as you have here.”

The MP, who is also Minister for Women and Equalities, added: “There are parts of our world where girls are prevented from getting an education. Given the UK’s global position, we still have a way to go in improving our English, maths and sciences. My hope is that our recent changes to A level courses will allow the development of deeper knowledge and understanding.”

Ms Morgan celebrated the increased popularity of faith schools in this country, but warned: “A school like Yavneh absolutely subscribes to British values, as do most faith schools in this country – teaching those things we hold dear, like liberty, tolerance and freedom.

“If we don’t talk about them, other people will fill that space with their values which we don’t subscribe to.”

She added: “One of the reasons for opening Yavneh Primary is the demand in the local community. We absolutely understand why faith schools are so popular. They do an outstanding job – both educationally, and across the broader curriculum.

“Free schools are our response to cross-communal and parental demand. I think that is essentially what the education system must respond to.”

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