I have written about the importance of having faith schools in this country before but I think it is important to raise this issue again. This is because over the past couple of weeks the Secretary of State for Education, Ed Balls has been backtracking over the Labour Government's support for these schools.
As a former pupil of Rosh Pinah and JFS both Jewish voluntary aided faith based state schools, I believe that these types of schools which have existed for decades and in the case of JFS for hundreds of years are excellent examples of what schools should be like. These and other faith schools produce children and young adults who can become active citizens in this country helping to make it a better place.
I would therefore be concerned if the Government was to stop supporting them.
I was though heartened to hear the recent comments of Michael Gove, the Conservative Education spokesman in Parliament, who highlighted the excellent success story of Jewish schools.
“As to history, I would like the House to recall the experience of one minority community in Britain. Its members came here, often fleeing persecution, with few resources and little in the way of marketable qualifications more than 100 years ago. They found jobs in sweatshops, retail, low-level commerce and other unskilled or low-skilled environments. Yet within 100 years or so—the space of two or three generations—that community has reached a point where it sends 80 per cent. of its young people to university. That community, the Jewish community, is—in education, as in so many other areas—an example to us all. I see no reason why other minority communities might not aspire to similar levels of participation or why we as a nation should not be inspired by that community's example.”
Michael Gove MP, Shadow Secretary for Children, Schools and Families, Hansard 14 January 2008