Chair's Message: February 2012

In 2012 the JLC will deliver a number of key outputs around our strategic plan, focusing on the kind of work for which the JLC was created. We will publish major reports from our Commission on Women in Jewish Leadership and our Community Vitality Initiative. These reports will tackle different themes, but together with my fellow trustees I am determined that they will continue the precedent set by our Commission on Jewish Schools - making practical and measurable recommendations that the JLC and our members can deliver and promote.

In that vein I am pleased to report that plans to transition our Schools Strategy Implementation Group into a permanent agency are advancing.  A transition group led by Jonathan Goldstein is actively finalising details. It was agreed by our Council of Membership last month that the new agency will operate as a division of the JLC. I am pleased to announce that this will be known as  PaJeS - Partnerships for Jewish Schools. This encapsulates the way in which it will operate, developing partnerships, synergies and central strategies within and across the sector. An approach formulated through discussions in which the schools themselves have rightfully taken the lead. During a JLC arranged visit to King Solomon High Schoolin Redbridge, the Shadow Education Secretary reaffirmed his support for faith schools, but also mentioned that a group opposing faith schooling had recently lobbied him. This underlines the need to continue advocating for our schools and the reason why the Board of Deputies will be partners in PaJeS, which will work to bolster their capacity in this area.

I am pleased to welcome our newest members, the Leeds Jewish Representative Council and the Zionist Youth Council. They will provide valuable expertise as we address the impact of the Localism Act and the challenge of engaging our younger generation.