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News archive - January/February 2019

Pressure builds on school spaces for Jewish children

Pressure builds on school spaces for Jewish children

The number of Jewish children in Jewish schools in the UK is up by nearly 12 per cent over the past three years.

A report from the Institute for Jewish Policy Research and the Board of Deputies says there were 34,547 Jewish children enrolled in day schools in the last academic year - up 11.8 per cent from 30,914 from the previous report produced three years ago.

The strictly Orthodox, who now comprise a majority with 58 per cent of Jewish schoolchildren, increased their intake by 2,367 pupils from three years ago, while the non-Charedi sector rose by 1,666 children.

The number of Jewish children in Jewish day schools has been rising for decades. There are close to seven times as many Jewish children in Jewish schools than there were 60 years ago.

However, the current numbers are “underestimates”, says the report’s author, JPR executive director Jonathan Boyd, because they do not include an estimated 900 boys aged from 13 to 15 in yeshivot that are not registered with the Department for Education.

Day school rolls have risen almost 60 per cent since the mid-1990s.

While the previous report stated that over 63 per cent of Jewish children were in day schools, JPR and the Board have not given an official proportion this time because of the lack of up-to-date population statistics. But the rise in numbers indicates they now probably now amount to around 70 per cent of the age group.

The latest figures show an increasing concentration in London and South Hertfordshire, with three-quarters of children in Jewish schools studying there.

Charedi schools now take 5,000 more children than those in the central Orthodox and pluralist sectors.

While Charedi schools increased by 4.3 per cent annually over the past three years, the other schools still recorded a significant rise of 3.1 per cent a year, which reflects the opening of a number of free schools.

The Charedi school community has increased by 166 per cent since the mid-90s.