The growth of Jewish schools is the single largest change in the UK Jewish community over the last twenty years with over 34,000 children educated in 117 Jewish schools. This means that our schools play an essential part in influencing the next generation’s Jewish identity.
The Jewish Leadership Council’s (JLC) report in 2008 on ‘The Future of Jewish Schools’ and subsequent report ‘The Future of Jewish Schools: Three Years On’ recognised this major shift required a serious and thoughtful response to help schools shape their strategic future, and thereby strengthen Jewish life in the UK and in 2012 Partnerships for Jewish Schools was established.
Every Jewish school is different, with its own ethos, goals and values. We believe that this diversity should be celebrated, and that as a community we should be proud of the options we give parents to find the best fit for their child.
PaJeS seeks to identify the areas in which Jewish schools can work together, and to provide them with high quality support, services and strategy to help them achieve their goals. We work with over 100 Jewish primary and secondary schools across the UK and our curriculum materials are being taught in over 50 schools. Our work can be split into four key areas:
1. Supporting school infrastructure
- Planning the establishment of the Jewish Schools Network to support & encourage collaboration between schools.
- Providing information on www.findajewishschool.co.uk to help parents choose Jewish schools. The website averages 4,000 hits a month.
- Collecting data from schools on pupil numbers in order to try and map future supply and demand for school places.
- Working with the CST to update Heads and Governors on current security issues.
2. Training and recruiting the next generation of teachers
- Partnering with other organisations to deliver programmes of initial teacher training, qualified teacher training and leadership training. This has included developing the Jewish Studies components of the School Direct programme, which enables teachers to become qualified whilst in employment.
- Advertising school vacancies free of charge on www.pajes.org.uk. The current vacancies page received over 1,650 hits in April 2015 alone.
3. Creating curriculum and providing professional development
- Launching the Yesh v’ Yesh! Wohl Hebrew programme for secondary school years 7 to 9, which aims to impact 4,100 students in 12 secondary schools per year once complete.
- Improving Jewish Studies teaching through our comprehensive JCP Chumash curriculum and interactive Tefillah resource, Mesillot Lashem, with specialist training days for teachers and an in-school support programme.
- Improving Ivrit teaching in primary schools through our innovative online resource, Ivritbeclick, training days and individual teacher support programme.
- Working with the Board of Deputies to give guidance and support to schools on British values – what are the legal requirements and what is best practice?
4. Developing school leaders
- Facilitating a work discussion group for head teachers of primary schools.
- Running a series of training workshops for school governors.
- Launching Heads Up, a fortnightly e-newsletter that keeps schools up to date with information about relevant communal and educational news and events.
PaJeS envisions a world in which all Jewish schools are inspirational centres of learning. Together, we believe that we can create a generation of engaged, educated and enthusiastic young Jewish people.