New re­port blasts faith schools

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY CHAR­LOTTE OLIVER

and a hid­ing place for lower school stu­dents, is trans­formed into a (booze­free) bac­cha­na­lian frenzy. Ta­bles decked out with pas­tries, candy floss, pop­corn and other sweet treats cover the length of the rooms. There are even in­flat­a­bles and slides to tempt those self-im­por­tant older stu­dents to re­dis­cover their in­ner child.

Yom Ha’atz­maut brings sim­i­lar fes­tiv­i­ties, with danc­ing in the am­phithe­atre and a man with an im­pres­sive beard on the mi­cro­phone. Such a whole­some cel­e­bra­tion can make even the most cyn­i­cal teenager smile.

Lunchtimes can feel manic and the school day can be a so­cial whirl of min­gling with ex­tended fam­ily and friends.

Faith schools may have their draw­backs but JFS of­fers an amaz­ing sense of com­mu­nity. The fes­ti­vals are cel­e­brated in style and although it may not be nec­es­sary to have re­li­gious ex­pe­ri­ences at school, it makes for some odd and lovely mem­o­ries of our school days.

It is no won­der that a lot of JFS stu­dents end up at a few univer­si­ties; once you’re part of the pack, few want to leave.

Many stu­dents jump at the chance to chal­lenge their teach­ers

Emma Ja­cobs, 17, is in Year 13 at JFS, Ken­ton and is study­ing for her A-Lev­els

A RE­PORT re­leased this week by the Bri­tish Hu­man­ist As­so­ci­a­tion (BHA) ac­cuses faith schools of fail­ing to com­ply with ad­mis­sions reg­u­la­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to the BHA, a group that of­ten speaks out against re­li­gious school­ing, a quar­ter of faith schools in­ves­ti­gated were con­tra­ven­ing the law and pri­ori­tis­ing re­li­gion over other cri­te­ria such as the prospec­tive pupils’ looked-af­ter or fi­nan­cial sta­tus.

The re­port, called An Un­holy Mess: How Vir­tu­ally All Re­li­giously Se­lec­tive State Schools in Eng­land are Break­ing the Law, sur­veyed 70 faith schools, in­clud­ing Jewish schools, in the UK.

A Depart­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion spokesper­son said: “We want ev­ery child to have ac­cess to the best ed­u­ca­tion pos­si­ble, and where there is ev­i­dence that a school does not have fair and trans­par­ent ad­mis­sions ar­range­ments, swift ac­tion will be taken.

“We will con­sider the find­ings of the BHA’s re­port care­fully. All of the ob­jec­tions they have listed have now been re­solved.”

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