• APPG brings together politicians and Jewish school head teachers

    The All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews convened a meeting between MPs and heads of Jewish schools last week in the House of Commons.

    Matthew Offord, Chair of the APPG on British Jews said: “It was extremely instructive to hear from heads of two of the Jewish community’s foremost schools and to share feedback with my APPG colleagues on what particular issues relating to Jewish faith education need to be looked at over the coming months and years.”

    The meeting, chaired by Matthew Offord, MP for Hendon, included presentations from two headteachers who briefed the MPs and observers on the various issues and concerns relating to Jewish education and faith schools. The meeting was also attended by Politics and Religious Studies Sixth formers from both schools, who were delighted to attend and watch democracy in action.

    Contributors spoke at great length of the importance of Religious Education to every school, not just schools with a religious character. This promotes tolerance and understanding of all cultures and religions in society today.

    The MPs listened to presentations from the headteachers of JFS and JCOSS. Some of the issues raised included: recognition for the effort made by the Board of Deputies – who ran a thorough campaign by galvanising all the schools to lobby local MPs –  and Matthew Offord to help safeguard Ivrit as a taught subject in Primary schools, including by helping to obtain a meeting between headteach


    The headteachers’ presentations were followed by an interactive question and answer session which explored further the issues which had been raised. Students were then given an opportunity to enter the debate and asked pertinent and probing questions to the parliamentarians, headteachers and Senior Vice President Laura Marks who oversees the education department at the Board and the Education Minister; uncertainty over funding from September 2014 for children with special education needs; and the need for continued cultural and religious sensitivity around suitable exam content.