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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 4, no. 5 (March 25, 1996).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c March 25, 1996
Opening up Jewish education to inspection : the impact of the OFSTED inspection system in England / Judy Keiner.
Arizona State University.
University of South Florida.
t Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
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1 of 25 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 4 Number 5March 25, 1996ISSN 1068-2341A peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal. Editor: Gene V Glass,Glass@ASU.EDU. College of Educ ation, Arizona State University,Tempe AZ 85287-2411 Copyright 1996, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES.Permission is hereby granted to copy any a rticle provided that EDU POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES is credi ted and copies are not sold.Opening up Jewish Education to Inspection: the Impact of the OFSTED Inspection System in Engla nd Judy Keiner University of ReadingJ.C.Keiner@reading.ac.uk Abstract: Although Jewish schools in England are generally d eemed successful, internal communal surveys have highlighted concerns about th eir teaching of Jewish studies and modern Hebrew. The UK government in 1993 establishe d detailed national criteria for four-yearly published inspections of all schools. T his imposed the need to develop criteria for the evaluation of these specifically J ewish subjects, and both schools and foundation bodies have begun to respond through tra ining and development activities. Analysis of the first published reports, shows evid ence of mismatch between Jewish schools' aims for Jewish Studies and their practice Common findings on modern Hebrew teaching indicate concerns about planning, m ethodology and assessment. The response of Jewish communal bodies is explored, sho wing an increasing focus and some rivalry towards servicing the inspection and develo pment needs of Jewish schools. Jewish communal press reporting and parental respon se to inspection is considered. Historical background to the Jewish school system i n England England is always different. This statement is true for almost any aspect of education policy or provision you might care to ana lyse. The reason for that is largely to do with the particular history of English education and the historical penchant of English policy and practice for combining evolution ary and incremental change. Not surprisingly, Jewish schools in England are differe nt too. Since World War II, there has been a great rise in the number of Jewish primary s chools established within the state
2 of 25system, which now includes twenty five state-aided primary and secondary schools, of which one new primary and one secondary school were established in the last three years (Note 1).There is a further substantial number of i ndependent Jewish schools which do not receive any state aid, but which have tax-free charitable status. Of these schools, a small minority offer the similar combinations of se cular and religious studies as their state-aided equivalent. The remaining schools are m aintained by the most strictly orthodox, mainly separatist communities, including Chassidic communities, which in the UK number less than five per cent of the total Jewish community of around 275,000. The medium of instruction in many of these schools is Yiddish, and the courses of study are almost entirely centered on traditional sacred texts, with only a small proportion of time given to the teaching in English of English, m athematics and other secular subjects. Five further new Jewish schools are in the advanced stages of planning, and plans to incorporate three formerly independent existing schools into the state aided system are also in their final stages. Whilst in the wider wor ld, England is often assumed to be synonymous with the UK as a whole, the school syste m in Scotland is again different and autonomous. In Wales and Ireland, although very closely tied to the English school system, the school systems are under the auspices o f the respective regional administrations. All Jewish schools in the UK are u nder the English administration apart from one primary school in Scotland. The status of Jewish schools in England differs fro m other diaspora countries. In most countries, Jewish schools are private, receivi ng little or no state aid. But the history of mass provision for schooling in England began la rgely through the initiatives of Christian church foundation bodies setting up schoo ls piecemeal, with dramatic rises in the number of schools in the wake of early nineteen th century industrialization. There was effectively an unevenly distributed but still n ationwide network of church schools before 1850. The state began giving aid to these vo luntarily established schools in the mid nineteenth century. As early as 1853 (Alderman (1989) p.16), England first gave the then very small number of Jewish schools state supp ort, and then gradually absorbed them into the English state funded system (Note 2). This was achieved without any significant controversy (Note 3) as far as Jewish s chools were concerned, since the state funding has always been solely for the secular subj ects taught at the school, as well as a half of the cost of buildings. Such controversy as there was in the early years of the twentieth century, when the current state system of aiding voluntary schools was established, centered almost entirely on state subs idies to Roman Catholic schools, under the inflammatory banner of protests against Rome on the rates". From the end of World War I until the early 1960s, there were fewer than ten state aided Jewish schools in total, the vast majority of Jewish children attending secular state schools. That system offered much prized opportunit ies to enter elite educational institutions via competitive selection for prestigi ous state-aided day schools. This was the major route of social mobility and assimilation for the daughters and sons of Jewish immigrants, who were disproportionately successful in gaining places and scholarships. The rising popularity of Jewish schools since the 1 960s In the early 1960s, a combination of catalysts bega n to shift Jewish communal and parental priorities towards Jewish schools. There w as an accelerating process of moving out from inner cities into outer suburbs, fueled by much wider availability of low-cost mortgages. Under the Labour administrations of that period, state selective schools were increasingly abolished or converted into fully comp rehensive all-ability intake schools. There were the beginnings of media-fueled parental anxieties about ethnic conflicts and
3 of 25underachievement in schools as substantial communit ies from the "New Commonwealth" countries of the Caribbean and Indian sub-continent settled in the UK, mainly in the inner cities and some of the outer Lo ndon suburbs previously much favored by Jewish communities. With the new growth in the popularity of Jewish sch ools at this time, the Zionist Federation Educational Trust (ZFET) emerged as the foundation body responsible for the largest number of Jewish schools (Note 4). By t he early 1990s ZFET was the foundation body for four thousand children in their schools. The ZFET schools strongly promoted the teaching of Hebrew as a modern languag e, with a focus on Israel as great or even greater than that on the promotion of Judai sm being their raison d'etre. The orthodox United Synagogue, the largest synagogal bo dy in the UK, established a smaller number of schools in the London area, being respons ible by the early 1990s for over two thousand four hundred pupils. Still other Jewish sc hools, particularly in the provinces, were independent organizations. Jewish schools in the UK never followed any single agreed common religious education syllabus. The main Jewish voluntary organ ization responsible for religious education in the early post-war years was the Londo n Board of Jewish Religious Education, founded in 1946, whose main responsibili ty was for organizing after-school and Sunday religious classes, at a time when there were relatively few Jewish state schools (Alderman (1989) p.105). The Board, which w as closely connected with the United Synagogue, and was redesignated the United S ynagogue Board of Religious Education in 1987 (Note 5), also formerly provided a syllabus for the teaching of religious education for Jewish children in local au thority state schools in London, where the numbers were large enough to warrant the provis ion of classes by peripatetic teachers (Note 6). The influence of the Board sylla bus was still detectable in the curricula of some Jewish primary schools when the N ational Curriculum (NC) was introduced in England and Wales at the end of the 1 980s. The introduction of the National Curriculum The National Curriculum has been one of the most fa r-reaching policy initiatives to affect education in England in the twentieth cen tury. Prior to its introduction through the 1988 Education Act, the only legal curriculum r equirements of schools were that they taught physical education and religious instru ction. It also for the first time enshrined the principle of pupil entitlement, rathe r than opportunity, as the basis on which curriculum access was to be offered. By the time of the National Curriculum, it is proba bly true to say that for secondary schools, the syllabuses for Jewish studie s and Hebrew were effectively defined by the requirements of external school exam inations. Few primary schools had religious education syllabuses which were other tha n a statement of the topics and reading skills set out in the old Board syllabus. I n some primary schools, no written syllabus existed, and the curriculum was organized by reference to the Jewish calendar, with its associated agenda of weekly readings and f estivals, and by whatever primers were used to teach reading of Hebrew for religious purposes. The National Curriculum is compulsory only in state and state aided schools, a nd so does not impinge directly on the independent schools. Nevertheless those Jewish inde pendent schools which seek to combine secular and religious studies cannot avoid incorporating some of its requirements into their own curricula because of th e requirements of entry to presitigious state schools and because public examinations assum e a basic coverage of NC requirements.
4 of 25Recent dilemmas facing Jewish schools in England Jewish state and state-aided schools in England hav e recently been in the headlines for very positive reasons. Jewish seconda ry schools in London and Liverpool have featured very prominently in the highest posit ions of the unofficial league tables, showing comparative results of examinations taken a t 16 and 18, which the UK press has published over the last five years or so (Note 7). The schools are in very great demand by parents, with all but one or two schools, in areas of declining Jewish population, being substantially oversubscribed.In r ecent years, this apparently rosy picture has concealed a degree of communal and prof essional concern about the quality of Jewish religious and cultural education in the s chools. In 1991 and 1993 respectively, the two major foundation bodies involved in state J ewish education, the United Synagogue and the Zionist Federation Educational Tr ust (ZFET) independently undertook reviews of Jewish education under their a uspices (JEDT(1992); Hyman & Ohrenstein (1993) (Note 8). Both bodies came to sim ilar conclusions about the problems, acknowledging a degree of lack of success in teaching both Jewish RE and both biblical and modern Hebrew, which are deemed e ssential for participation in prayer, and, in the case of the latter, for a relat ionship with the only Jewish state in the world, Israel. Both bodies acknowledged the need to remedy these shortcomings by developing major in-service programmes. The United Synagogue review additionally urged the setting up of a single educational agency for the entire Jewish community, which would in corporate the ZFET. These initiatives marked the first effective move b y Jewish foundation bodies into in-depth long-term strategy and policy making. It i s interesting that their frames of reference were primarily those of corporate managem ent; cost effectiveness and efficiency. There does exist within talmudic and ot her traditional religious sources a range of starting points which might be used for ge nerating a policy analysis framework for Jewish education; these include references to t he maximum size of classes, to what makes for educational success and failure, and to i ssues like competition and motivation. Nowhere in either of the reviews was any reference made to these sources. It was not surprising that issues of teaching effectivenes s were, along with those of curriculum management and resourcing, at the center of the sho rt comings identified. Historically, the staffing of the teaching of Jewish religious ed ucation and Hebrew has been on a different basis from that of the staffing of the se cular subjects in Jewish schools. Frequently, these two subjects have been taught by supernumerary specialist staff, whose sole role has been in either religious studies or H ebrew teaching. Their salaries have been paid by voluntary parental contributions, supp lemented by subventions from the foundation bodies, which fund raise and, in the cas e of the United Synagogue, use a proportion of the substantial income gained from me mbership and burial ground fees. The staff often had no professional teaching qualif ications recognised by the Department for Education and Employment (DEE). The religious s tudies staff in many cases obtained qualifications through private Jewish reli gious academies in Britain or in the USA or Israel, and the Hebrew staff often had Israe li teaching qualifications, albeit not qualifications for the teaching of Hebrew as a fore ign language. The Hebrew staff have also frequently been short term placements sent fro m Israel, sometimes owing their placement to the fact that their spouses have been posted in England as representatives of Israeli government organizations. The organizati on and management of the schools has tended to reflect the different status of these staff. They have not usually held senior management responsibilities, and or taken responsib ilities for pastoral work. Until
5 of 25relatively recently, they would frequently not have been involved in staff meetings or school based in service training days for the whole school. The implications of National Curriculum for Jewish education With the passing of the 1988 Education Reform Act b y the Conservative administration of Margaret Thatcher, the emergence of the National Curriculum came to pose particular challenges to Jewish schools. The 1 988 Act maintained the careful delineation established in England and Wales of rel igious education, and particularly religious education in state-maintained schools run by voluntary religious organizations. The Act did not include religious education amongst its list of legally compulsory core and foundation subjects (Note 9), but recognised th e continuing status of religious education as a pre-existing compulsory subject unde r the legislation of the 1944 Education Act. Thus, while legally binding specific ations for what was to be taught at each stage of the curriculum were issued, in the fo rm of printed folders, for each of the nine secular core and foundation subjects, the spec ification of the religious education curriculum remained as an evolutionary continuation of the pre-existing forms of local authority and voluntary foundation body control. Day-to-day discourse in English schools and in the press about National Curriculum has almost invariably seen it as referri ng to the nine secular subjects, and not to religious education, which by reason of not havi ng its own common national folder, has come to be seen as having less prestige and pri ority in the allocation of scarce resources for school development. Yet religious pur poses were nevertheless central to the aims of the 1988 Education Reform Act, which in its opening clause refers to the requirement for "a balanced and broadly based curri culum which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society" (Great Britain (1988)). While the Act itself explicitly excluded the specif ication of precise subject hourages, it did assign to each core or foundation subject notional pro portions of the curriculum time available in the school. The time t hus allocated added up to some ninety percent of the curriculum, and a common complaint o f head teachers and their staffs was that one hundred percent of curriculum time was not sufficient to deliver the legally required demands of the National Curriculum. Such p ressures were the stronger on Jewish primary schools, where the time devoted to r eligious studies and to the teaching of modern Hebrew has usually been of the order of t wenty to thirty percent of the school timetable.Dilemmas facing Jewish schools as a result of the N ational Curriculum The response to this particular challenge of Nation al Curriculum innovation varied amongst the Jewish schools, with the greates t pressures being on the primary schools, which had not previously experienced the d emands of externally defined curricular criteria. The inclusion of modern foreig n languages amongst the foundation subjects of the curriculum potentially posed a majo r challenge to the teaching of Hebrew. The National Curriculum specification was b ased on current modern language teaching principles, requiring a substantial focus on developing pupils' ability to speak spontaneously in the target language. Hebrew teachi ng in Jewish schools has tended to focus strongly on reading and to some degree transl ation, since the reading of prayer books and the Hebrew bible are a central requiremen t of both Jewish religious education and Jewish practice. Moreover, the reading skills n eeded must encompass the classical
6 of 25Hebrew in which the bible and liturgy are written. In practice, therefore, Hebrew teaching in Jewish s chools has tended to be somewhat formal in nature, almost invariably based on highly structured graded readers and written exercises with controlled vocabulary. B ecause the Introduction of the National Curriculum was phased over several years, the specifications for modern languages were published only in 1991 and came into force in 1992. Modern languages were specified only for Key Stages 3 and 4 (ages 11 -14) of the National Curriculum, and therefore the specifications appeared only to cover teaching in secondary schools. As previously stated, the impact on secondary schools was limited because their curricula have always been closely related to the demands of external examinations. The Jewish schools responded to the pressures in a variety of ways, with the responses in the primary schools ranging from a sub stantial extension of the length of the school day to, in the case of at least one prim ary school, a recognition that meeting the entire National Curriculum legal requirements w as not compatible with its commitment to devoting twenty five percent of teach ing time to Jewish studies and Hebrew, and that the legal requirement would not be fully met. The National Curriculum thus introduced the first stage of a modern nationa l quality control system to English schools, in its precise specifications of curriculu m requirements and assessment criteria, together with requirements to publish nationally mo derated assessment results at specified points. Because the NC was introduced over a phased period of five years, starting in 1989, the years 1989-94 saw almost all the developm ent energies of schools focused on implementing one core or foundation subject after a nother. Each new subject implementation brought pressures on schools to revi ew curricular provision and resources, with a legal requirement to produce a de velopment plan setting out action programmes to bring any gaps in resources and provi sion into line. Finally, as a result of nationwide evidence of excessive workload resulting from the pressures described above, together with the growing organized teacher resistance to the implementation of the assessment system, the government instituted a major review which resulted in the slimming down of the NC to take up eighty rather th an ninety percent of schools' curriculum time, to take effect from the 1995-96 ac ademic year. Already marginalized from the center of whole scho ol initiatives for the reasons indicated above, the advent of the National Curricu lum era served to widen the difference between the requirements and expectation s of secular and of Jewish studies and Hebrew teachers in Jewish schools. The latter c ould see themselves as unencumbered by the straitjacket of National Curric ulum legislation and its accompanying administrative work of assessment and record keeping. It might have been thought that Head Teachers and Governors, freq uently feeling under great pressure with the volume of NC implementation, would feel it to be a positive benefit that two areas of the curriculum central to the raison d'etr e of Jewish schools were not to be subjected to the same pressure of intensive review and adjustment which accompanied the coming into force of the secular subject regula tions. However, as the NC process became embedded in the primary schools, Heads of Je wish schools could also see the opportunities given by the publication of national criteria and benchmarks for exercising a closer degree of quality control over Jewish stud ies and Hebrew than they had previously been able to do.The emerging incorporation of Jewish studies and He brew into national quality control initiatives
7 of 25 Two factors unforeseen at the time of the passing o f the Education Reform Act came to shift the focus of curriculum priority in J ewish schools much more centrally onto Jewish studies and Hebrew. An initiative start ed from an internal Conservative administrative decision to review the role of Her M ajesty's Inspectorate (HMI), which has always had a degree of autonomy from direct gov ernment control, in much the same way as the judiciary. It was seen at the time as po ssibly not sufficiently attuned to the educational vision of the Conservatives, and to som e degree viewed with suspicion within the administration as being tainted with pro -teacher, pro-progressivist and anti-government perspectives, a bulwark of what the administration viewed as an entrenched educational establishment. The review culminated in the replacement of HMI as the main agency of direct quality control inspection of schools with a new sy stem of inspection by external teams of private contractors who would operate according to criteria set down by a new government agency for standards in education. A new Education Act, passed in 1992, established the new system of inspection, to take e ffect from 1993. Secondly, the Secretary of State for Education who was in office at the time of this new legislation and until 1994, Mr John Patten was not only a man of strong personal religious convictions but one who also adv ocated strengthening traditionalist religious education and Christian religious worship in schools as a bulwark against a supposed disintegration of societal values in Brita in. During his period of office, religious education, previously all but neglected b y his predecessors, and virtually ignored as part of the vast programme of National C urriculum training, became the subject of major new initiatives, including a requi rement in the 1992 Education Act that religious education and worship in state schools ot her than those controlled by voluntary religious bodies, be in the main Christian. Such initiatives can hardly have been implemented a s the outcome of one politician's preoccupations, yet the initiatives we re potentially explosive. For although religious education and religious worship had been compulsory under the terms of the 1944 Education Act, for many years very substantial numbers of schools had not carried out the obligation to hold a daily act of collectiv e worship for all pupils. Indeed, the design of many modern secondary schools built over the last thirty years was such as to make it impossible to hold collective worship for t he whole school; the largest assembly spaces in many of such schools are too small to sea t the whole school simultaneously. Significant numbers of schools, particularly LEA sc hools in inner city areas, have not offered religious education on a regular timetabled basis, or where they have, it has frequently not followed the legally required Agreed Syllabus which each LEA had been required to establish for its schools under the ter ms of the 1944 Act. How the establishment of the new inspection system incorporated two historical traditions The legislation implementing the new inspection sys tem set out separate procedures for secular and religious education in s chools controlled by religious foundations. Section 9 of the 1992 Education Act la id down procedures for the inspection of those aspects of any school covered b y National Curriculum and other legislation, such as the Equal Opportunities Act an d the Health and Safety Act. Section 13 of the 1992 Education Act laid down inspection p rocedures for the religious education which is wholly under the control of the governors and the foundation bodies of voluntary aided schools. This apparently strange separation of inspection procedures was the consequence of historical traditions of Eng lish state and religious schooling
8 of 25referred to above. The whole history of the status of voluntary aided schools has been rooted in an exclusion of state competence from any involvement in the specification or quality control of religious education in these sch ools. While such a distinction did not at first sight present any difficulties, there were profound contradictions built from the start into the 1992 legislation. For the 1988 Educa tion Act itself carried in its first clause referred to above an obligation on all schools to p rovide for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils. These aspects of each school, broadly referred to a s its ethos, were to be part of the Section 9 inspection. Yet for voluntary aided s chools, the spiritual and moral, if not also the moral ethos of the school was surely deriv ed substantially from its programme of religious education. The regulations allowed for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural aspects of the school to be inspected as p art of the Section 13 inspection, if desired by the governors (Note 10). Nevertheless a further contradiction remained, for even in such cases, it was still to be the responsi bility of the secular Section 9 inspection to report on whether the requirement for a daily ac t of worship for all pupils was being carried out, because of daily collective worship be ing part of the national statutory requirement for all schools. There was yet a furthe r level of potential confusion and contradiction arising from the ambiguities of respo nsibility. Although the governors were given the option referred to above, confusion could arise because the arrangements for the two inspections could be made quite separat ely. It would not necessarily be clear to a Section 9 team whether arrangements for the Se ction 13 inspection to report on spiritual, moral, social and cultural aspects were being made, since there was no obligation to arrange the inspections to dovetail r esponsibilities. The implications of the new inspection system, tog ether with the new policy interest in promoting religious education only beca me fully clear from the academic year 1993-94 as the new government agency responsible fo r the organizations, the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED), took shape under a Circular issued by DfEE defining its mode of operation (Great Britain-DfE (1993)) One of the concerns expressed about the replacement of the former Her Majesty's Inspect orate, appointed by officially trained but independent contractors, was that schools would be able to choose contractors they deemed might be likely to write more favorable repo rts. The emerging inspection system and the choices open to governors of Jewish schools Circular 7/93 made clear that the system of contrac ted inspections would be handled by the OFSTED office itself, with OFSTED pu tting out tenders and a warding contracts for inspections of individual schools. In spections were to be conducted by inspectors who had to follow a very detailed handbo ok (O FSTED (1993)), laying out criteria for the evaluation of every aspect of a sc hool's performance. Each inspector would to have pass a rigorous training course desig ned to ensure their competence to apply the criteria and report according to procedur es laid down in the handbook. However, this system was to apply only to Section 9 inspections. For the section 13 inspections of voluntary aided schools, it would be for the governors of each school to nominate the inspector or inspectors, and no criter ia were specified for the selection and competence of the inspectors, or of the inspection of the subjects. It was thus to be open, for example, to the Governo rs of a Jewish school to choose to appoint, if they were minded to, the Prince of W ales, Ms Madonna Ciccione, a Governor's relative or a Jesuit priest to inspect t heir school's religious provision, and for that inspector to follow either the criteria laid d own for the inspection of religious
9 of 25education in state schools or any supplied by the G overnors, or none at all. It was also left for the Governors of voluntary aid ed schools to choose whether or not they wanted the inspection of the religious sid e of the school's life to be inspected at the same time as the Section 9 inspection or not. S imultaneous inspection would be open to them only if they chose an inspector who had suc cessfully completed the OFSTED training course. In this case it could happen only if the approved inspector contracted by OFSTED to lead the Section 9 inspection agreed that the Section 13 inspector could be part of the team. In such a case, the Section 13 in spector would also be able to have access to the full curriculum documentation which s chools are required to provide as part of the Section 9 inspection. He or she could a lso take part in the team meetings which are an essential part of the inspection proce ss in enabling inspectors to come to a consensus in judgements on the school. There was another major and unforeseen implication of the OFSTED system for Jewish schools. This was the procedure adopted by O FSTED for inspecting subjects of the National Curriculum being taught for age groups other than those for which they were specified. It was that such subjects would be assessed in terms of the National Curriculum framework as published. Thus it emerged through processes of informal consultation with OFSTED that Hebrew taught in the Jewish primary schools for any amount of time longer than an hour a week would be assessed according to the specifications set out in NC Modern Languages. In t he event, all modern Hebrew teaching in Jewish schools so far inspected has bee n reported on by OFSTED reports on this basis.The impact of the changes on Jewish education How then have these changes impacted on Jewish educ ation? There are two main sources of impact; firstly in the foundation bodies responsible for the schools, and in communal bodies closely involved in Jewish educatio n. Secondly, there is the impact on the schools themselves, and on the wider Jewish com munity which they serve. From dilemmas to turf wars: the emerging response o f the foundation bodies and communal organizations As has already been noted above, the two major foun dation bodies, the United Synagogue and the Zionist Federation Educational Tr ust(ZFET), had already mounted major reviews of Jewish education. In each case the impetus for the major reviews came from sources, particularly cash crises, other than either the National Curriculum or the OFSTED inspection system. In the case of the United Synagogue Board of Religi ous Education, a major impetus came from the financial crisis in which the parent body the United Synagogue found itself in 1989, where it became clear that th e cost of supporting the schools for which it is the foundation body was adding consider ably to the financial crisis. The report however took on the issue of Jewish educatio n as one not simply of financial exigency but as a central dilemma for the future of Jewish life in the UK. The foreword to the report was written by the newly installed Ch ief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks, who argued eloquently that at key moments when Jewish s urvival was at stake, it had always been initiatives related to education which had pro ved the turning point in Jewish survival (Note 11). This theme was to be amplified and promoted even more dramatically as the central issue for the very futu re of the present Jewish community in
10 of 25the UK. In 1994, the Chief Rabbi published "Will Our Grandc hildren be Jewish?" (Sacks, J (1994)), developing the arguments used in the for eword to the United Synagogue's report. (Note 12) It argued in particularly vivid t erms that the current substantial continuing demographic decline of the Jewish commun ity could be halted only by initiatives centered on Jewish education. This book was in turn the starting point for the launch of a very high profile and ambitious communa l funding and development organization, Jewish Continuity. Jewish Continuity' s initiatives began with full page advertisements in the "Jewish Chronicle" depicting the decline through intermarriage of the Jewish comm unity in an image of ranks of young Jewish people relentlessly marching over the edge of a precipice. It announced commitments to major initiatives to improve Jewish education, both formal and informal, and Jewish communal life (Note 13). A substantial component of these was a start-u p establishment of a unit for research and quality development in Jewish education at a co st of over 31,000,000 Pounds Sterling. Further substantial funding for education development was to be made available through an open competitive scheme for gr ant awards to be allocated twice yearly to Jewish schools and educational bodies. Alongside this, Jewish Continuity contributed subst antially to the establishment of an ambitious new foundation body, designed to repla ce the United Synagogue Board, as recommended in the United Synagogue's report. The n ew body, the Agency for Jewish Education was set up with the goal of becoming a se lf-funding agency. Amongst the goals set out in its first strategic development pl an was the development of an inspection service, including the preparation of Jewish school s for Section 13 inspection (Agency for Jewish Education (1994). Additionally a more lo ng term target was the establishment of a new agreed syllabus for religious education. The ZFET's review had identified additional problem s relating to the system of having a series of two-year secondments from Israel for its Director of Education. A central theme for ZFET's report was issues related to the quality of Hebrew teaching and the lack of a common national curriculum frame work Nevertheless, no mention was made of the existence of the National Curriculum fr amework for modern languages and the fact that it was legally compulsory for the sec ondary years. A conference held for ZFET Head teachers, heads of Hebrew and Jewish Stud ies and governors in May 1992 included a keynote speech on the implications of NC modern languages for the teaching of Hebrew. It was received with interest but no fur ther initiatives were taken at that time either by ZFET or individual schools. The emergence of the new Jewish Continuity funding structure together with personnel changes proved to be a decisive catalyst for refocusing the organization's energies on tackling the development of Hebrew teac hing to take account of both National Curriculum and OFSTED criteria. A funding proposal was submitted to Jewish Continuity in April 1994 (Serra and Keiner (1994), proposing the development of a specific curriculum and assessment framework for He brew to be based on the model of National Curriculum modern languages, explicitly in order to enable schools to meet the challenge of having their achievements in Hebrew te aching assessed by OFSTED. In the event, Jewish Continuity rejected the propos al as marking too radical a departure from traditions of Hebrew teaching, but Z FET proceeded with a modified version of the proposal by committing substantial f unding from its own resources. With the prospect of OFSTED inspection imminent for its schools, the Head Teachers expressed enthusiastic support for the initiative. Pilot work in developing the curriculum approach was carried out in two schools, one of whi ch underwent an OFSTED inspection in the Autumn of 1994. By the summer of 1995, following six months'
11 of 25drafting and consultation, the organization, now re named the Scopus Jewish Educational Trust (Scopus) published curriculum frameworks for both Hebrew and Jewish Studies, both based very closely on the revised National Cur riculum frameworks, including the specification of attainment targets, level descript ions and specific programs of study for each of the Key stages from 5-16 (Keiner, Korn, Ser ra and Frankel (1995a, 1995b). The consultation process revealed continuing strong sup port and commitment to adoption of the frameworks by the schools. A third major Jewish communal body came to take an increasingly proactive role with Jewish schools in response to the emergence of the OFSTED system. This was the Education Committee of the Board of Deputies of Bri tish Jews (BD). The BD is a long-established representative body for the Britis h Jewish community, its membership representing mainstream orthodox and reform synagog ues and other communal bodies. Because it does include representation of non-ortho dox religious groupings, it differs from both the major education foundations which are orthodox foundations, and it has therefore claimed and been given legitimacy in cons ultations with national bodies by reason of this wider degree of representation. Over the years its education function has been prim arily that of representing Judaism and Jewish educational concerns to the nonJewish educational world, for example developing training and curricular material s about Judaism for non-Jewish schools. It has also had an important role in negot iating with examination bodies and local authorities about providing for the observanc e of Jewish holy days for Jewish examination candidates and teachers. In practice, a ll its materials and pronouncements can be seen to contain no element which represents interpretations of Judaism and Jewish practice other than the orthodox. With the advent of the National Curriculum, with it s extensive programme of consultation at the stage of the development of the proposed curricula, the BD came into increasing prominence on the national educational s cene, as the DfEE's first port of call for consultation of the Jewish community. As the re ligious education initiatives referred to above came into prominence, the BD came to play a major role as the effective sole representative of Judaism on the national curriculu m development body responsible for outlining model religious education syllabuses. The Director of Education of the BD was one of a new breed of Jewish community professional s, proactive and ready to play a high-profile role in promoting Jewish education and Jewish educational interests. Previously, Jewish community professionals involved in education have tended to be highly successful in promoting Jewish education thr ough an unrivalled command of official procedures and informal consultative proce sses with central and local government education administrations.The emergence of a major initiative on the inspecti on of Jewish education Once the OFSTED system of training inspectors had b een established, the BD set out a initiative to influence and co-ordinate the s election of inspectors for the inspection of Jewish schools in general and of Section 13 insp ections in particular. It began with the more traditional method of forming an invited w orking group drawn exclusively from educationists who were members of the orthodox community and within the United Synagogue's sphere of influence (Note 14). I t also advertised in the major communal newspaper, the "Jewish Chronicle" asking a ny Jews who had qualified in OFSTED training to contact the BD in order to regis ter as qualified inspectors with Jewish status. The BD as the result of its group me etings evolved an ambitious programme which ch could be seen as amounting to a major if inexplicit challenge to the
12 of 25two Jewish foundation bodies in seeking to become t he most influential body in relation to quality control of Jewish schools. It subsequently emerged that a more subtle process of religious vetting would be involved in the BD's proposal to establish a regist er of qualified inspectors with Jewish status. At a meeting of the Association of Governor s of Orthodox Jewish Schools in April 1994, the Director of Education commented tha t "OFSTED inspection will be able to do for schools what heads and governors have wan ted for years" (Note 15). He outlined the BD's intention to establish a training programme for inspectors of Jewish schools which he hoped would be the sole validated route recognised by OFSTED such schools. He envisaged that the religious credential s of inspectors to be involved in Jewish school inspections would be subject as part of this process to approval by the senior judge of the United Synagogue's ecclesiastic al court. The newly established OFSTED bureaucracy appeared t o be as eager to embrace the BD's initiative as the Board itself was to esta blish it. Faced with the prospect of including inspections of up to a quarter of the exi sting Jewish voluntary aided schools in the first year of its operations, OFSTED's then Chi ef Executive established contacts with the office of the Chief Rabbi and the BD and was pr epared to offer accelerated access to OFSTED training, for which there was a substantial waiting list to candidates approved by the BD. In February 1995, the present Chief Executive of OF STED gave the keynote ad dress at a conference of teachers called by the BD to promote awareness of the implications for Jewish schools of OFSTED inspectio n (Note 16). He stated that OFSTED looked forward to Jewish schools defining st atements of religious values as a contribution to OFSTED's work on seeking to define what constitutes spiritual, moral, social and cultural values, suggesting that in main stream schools there were insufficient initiatives of this kind. Much of the discussion at the Conference centered on the desirability of establishing an approved list of in spectors for Section 13 inspectors of Jewish schools. The Director of Education of the BD argued enthusiastically for inspections of Jewish schools not to be carried out by inspectors who were merely Jewish but by inspectors who were Jewish by practic e and conviction, a view which was not universally endorsed by the meeting. The BD subsequently obtained substantial funding, f rom Jewish Continuity, of over 310,000 Pounds Sterling to develop a framework for Section 13 inspections of Jewish schools, designed to parallel the published framework for OFSTED's Section 9 inspections. In doing so, it was emulating initiati ves taken by the two major Christian voluntary school foundation bodies, the Church of E ngland and Roman Catholic Diocesan authorities. The BD's initiative was as am bitious as that of the Scopus organization in formulating its curriculum proposal s. In July 1995, BD issued the first draft of a very detailed framework (Note 17). Entit led "Pikuach" (Hebrew -inspection), it adopted a novel approach to the interpretation o f the legal responsibilities for Jewish religious education. The proposals were sent in con fidential draft form to the Head Teachers of all Jewish schools, with a covering let ter stating that Head Teachers were to have ownership of the proposals, although a wider p rocess of consultation would be involved. The responsibility for religious educatio n matters in voluntary aided schools in fact rests with the governors of each school, and t o some degree with the foundation bodies which appoint them. The BD's stance was anal ogous to according ownership of quality control procedures for enterprises such as public utility companies to the chief executives of those companies. The proposals assigned responsibility for reporting on whether the assemblies conformed to the legal requirements to the Section 13 inspection, although the law
13 of 25assigns them to Section 9. The proposals suggestion s for the evaluation of pupils' spiritual and moral development went far beyond the scope of the equivalent criteria for the review of religious education in secular school s, as outlined in the OFSTED handbook. Additionally the proposals required Inspe ctors to take into account the "levels of Jewish commitment amongst the communal groups se rved by the school" and "any other relevant influences on pupils' behavior and J ewish values which are at play in the wider community and the school environment". These specifications constituted a significant departure from the generally firmly evi dence-based approach of OFSTED criteria, because there is no readily available way in which such judgements could be made on other than a common sense speculative basis Additionally the requirement, made in the first dra fts and subsequently removed, to consider the levels of Jewish commitment amongst all the school's Jewish teachers, not specifically those involved in Jewish religious education, brought to the proposals an approach to inspection not otherwise encountered in English educational practice. The final edition (BD (1996)) requires inspectors to ta ke into account the degree to which teachers are in sympathy with the Jewish ethos of t he school. Nevertheless, for the most part the BD proposal was very closely modelled on O FSTED's handbooks, and as such added up to by far the most searching and rigorous framework for quality control ever applied to Jewish education in England. As these proposals came to fruition, they were chal lenged by new developments which had threatened the credibility and even the e xistence both of OFSTED and the new Jewish Continuity organization. There was a con tinuing and rising outcry from school staffs about the impact of OFSTED inspection s, based on allegations that the documentation required by the inspections produced unacceptable overload. This came at a time when the Conservative administration, fac ed with an increasingly dismal public standing, was ready to make concessions to teacher unions which it had previously been determined to face down. The OFSTED process was sub jected to a review, and a considerably slimmed down new Handbook produced, to apply to all inspections from April 1996. Subject specific inspection guidelines were replaced by generic curriculum criteria. However, new subject criteria (Note 18) w ere published and issued to OFSTED team inspectors, thus making the supposed slimming down appear perhaps more of presentation than substance. But the pre-existing s eparation between the Section 9 and Section 13 regulations was left untouched, even tho ugh consultations with OFSTED inspectors had indicated their wish to have the ano malies clarified and at least some more decisive guidance on the boundaries between th e two types of inspection. Jewish Continuity itself became a subject of intens e controversy inside and outside the Jewish community. A major television do cumentary made by the BBC as part of its prestigious prime-time "Everyman" serie s portrayed it as a almost sinister body bent on promoting Jewish separatism, inspired by advertising which had sought to sensationalize Jewish outmarriage. More sustained a nd damaging controversy bubbled up repeatedly within the Jewish community, focussin g on the incompatibility of its claims to be a cross-community body, whilst quietly ensuring that all its major decisions and recipients were within the United Synagogue or other orthodox orbit. It is not clear whether senior policy makers at OFS TED were aware of the fact that BD initiatives concerned with education were e ffectively becoming enmeshed within the "turf wars" amongst the various Jewish c ommunal and professional organizations concerned with education. Senior OFST ED officials continued to appear at BD-organized events related to the development o f "Pikuach", notably a consultative conference held to discuss its third draft, in Nove mber 1995 (Note 19), at which the President of BD referred to its claims to work ac ross cummunal boundaries and reach
14 of 25across the divisions" and to its "vibrant and proac tive role in enhancing Jewish education". Thus from having previously been an org anization largely confined to advocacy of Judaism and Jewish educational roles to the wider world, BD was now claiming a central, perhaps the central role in pro moting Jewish education in the UK. In March 1996, Jewish Continuity published a self-r eview (Note 20), based on substantial consultation across the Jewish professi onal and lay communities, which reflected the profound disquiets and conflicts rais ed by its ambiguous position, including its position in seeking to promote educational deve lopments. It reported views that its interventions in education had been seen as aggress ive, ignoring existing communal expertise, and that its decisions were thought by m any to be taken privately by its Chairman and Chief Executive. The report proposed t o remedy this by reconstituting the organization as a genuinely cross-communal initiati ve. It remained at the time of writing to be seen whether this could be achieved in a situ ation where Orthodox participants will accept only the legitimacy of their own authorities within any cross-communal initiative. OFSTED's first inspection findings on Jewish school s The OFSTED system had by the start of the 1995-96 a cademic year been in full operation for two years, although the programme of primary inspections only began in 1994-95. Under the legislation, inspections of scho ols are required to take place once every four years. In practice, the full quota of a quarter of all primary schools which should have been completed has not been achieved fo r two reasons. Firstly, the number of inspectors so far successfully trained for prima ry schools and for special educational needs has not been sufficient to carry out the insp ections. In addition, the independent free market system for awarding inspection contract s has resulted in OFSTED receiving no bids or only one bid for substantial numbers of schools. By February 1996, three inspections had taken place of Jewish voluntary aided schools, two of secondary schools and one of a prim ary school. Of those schools, two of the secondary schools are grant maintained, one of them having a link to the United Synagogue, and the other two being independent Orth odox foundations. The primary school is part of the Scopus (formerly ZFET) networ k. All the Section 9 teams inspection included at least one Jewish inspector. In the case of the two London secondary schools, the Registered, or lead, inspect or was Jewish, and there were additional team members who were Jewish. In the cas e of the primary school, there was more than one member of the inspection team who was Jewish. However, as the Director of Education of BD had pointed out, member ship of Jewish ethnic credentials did not necessarily indicate knowledgeability about Jewish religious education and values. Of all the schools, only the primary school had its Section 13 inspection take place at the same time as the Section 9 inspection. The g overnors appointed a single inspector who is an OFSTED-trained deputy head teacher, with specialist training in Jewish religious studies, whose school is a member of the same foundation body as the inspected school. In the case of one secondary scho ol, the inspection took place separately from the Section 9 inspection, and was c onducted by two inspectors, both members of the orthodox Jewish community, one of wh om is an OFSTED accredited inspector who also serves as a local authority insp ector, and one of whom is an OFSTED accredited lay inspector. In the case of another secondary school, the Sectio n 13 inspection took place eight months after the completion and publication of the Section 9 inspection, and in the next academic year. This inspection was thus in breach o f the DfEE regulations which state
15 of 25that the Section 13 inspection must be conducted in the same academic year. The general DfEE regulations also state that in the case of a S ection 9 inspection, inspectors must not have had any significant prior connection with the school in either a personal or a professional capacity. In the case of this school, the school's governors awarded its Section 13 contract to a gentile inspector who was formerly the religious education adviser for the local authority of which the school was a part before the school obtained grant maintained status. This would appear to raise further issues about the procedures governing the two types of inspection, since it wou ld not appear that there have been any consequences a rising from the apparent breaches of the regulations. The inspection teams of the schools which have comp leted a Section 13 inspection have thus been different both in terms o f composition and mode of inspection. No Section 13 inspection to date has us ed a set of published criteria to work to which was specific to Jewish education. Indeed, in no case has any set of criteria used been explicitly identified. In no case was the Sect ion 13 inspector solely responsible for reporting on the spiritual, moral, social and cultu ral dimension of the school, or for the school's achievements in Hebrew teaching. In fact, in the case of all the Jewish schools inspected so far, there are paragraphs on pupils' p ersonal development and behavior in the Section 9 report covering the social, moral, sp iritual and cultural dimension, based on the criteria specified in the 1993 OFSTED handbo ok. The equivalent Section 13 reports, with one exception, have paragraphs which are largely confined to statements about the extent to which spiritual, moral, cultura l and social issues are encountered in the school's assemblies and religious studies progr ammes. Thus these inspections already demonstrate that, in practice, judgments ab out the school in general and about its Jewish ethos in particular appear to be being made in a different way from what was intended by the legislation. The Board of Deputies' initiative "Pikuach" (BD 199 5(a), 1995(b), (1996)), referred to above, is making enthusiastic claims to meet the need for clear criteria. It certainly offers a comprehensive descriptive framew ork, but its criteria for evaluation could be said to beg the question, since it leaves it to each school to specify which criteria are to be used for the purposes of inspect ing the content of Jewish Studies courses. Thus, the situation, referred to above, in which one school does not offer preparation for any external Advanced Level syllabu s examination cannot be judged a failure or a serious weakness, because the school i tself makes a judgement that the existing examinations do not match its self-chosen criteria for teaching Jewish Studies. A basic principle of OFSTED is to make judgements a gainst criteria which are either explicitly stated within laws and regulations, or w ithin the legally compulsory NC subject documentation. Thus the claim of Pikuach to legitimacy for inspection purposes within an OFSTED framework appears to be difficult to reconcile with that principle. Inspection findings on the ethos of Jewish schools In the case of all the schools, we need to look to the Section 9 inspection report for judgements about the extent to which the schools ar e achieving a Jewish ethos overall. In the case of both the secondary schools, the Sect ion 9 inspectors commented on the relative lack of integration between the secular st udies of the school and its Jewish life. In the case of one secondary school, the stark comm ent was that ...most teaching misses valuable opportunities to c ontribute to pupils' spiritual development. Likewise, outside Jewish stu dies and modern Hebrew, there are few references to Jewish culture in the curriculum, with
16 of 25the result that Jewish matters are separated from s ecular matters. The school should consider whether this situation accords with its ethos. (OFSTED (1995a) para 33) The Section 9 inspection of the second secondary sc hool reported that The curriculum makes a variable contribution to pup ils' cultural development. In most subjects the content is restri cted to white western cultures. Modern Hebrew plays a role in reflecting and affirming Jewish identity, values and experiences; some Holocaust li terature is read and discussed in English; Jewish musical styles are stu died and performed, alongside culturally and stylistically varied music al traditions; and in art there are incidental references to Jewish craft and design traditions and their contribution to culture in a variety of contexts. H owever, the potential for Jewish exemplars in all areas of the curriculum is not fully realized. Pupils generally do not appreciate deeply enough how other societies function and pupils awareness and appreciation of cultural diver sity is limited.(OFSTED (1994c, para 39)) The primary school's Section 9 report, while praisi ng the positive impact of the school's Jewish life on the school as a community, made simi lar points about the relative insulation of Jewish ethical perspectives from thos e of the curriculum as a whole: ...prayer is an important feature of each day, rest ating and celebrating the school's values and beliefs. There is scope across the curriculum to address spiritual and moral issues more directly and to pro mote greater levels of curiosity and a sense of discovery amongst the pupi ls. Attitudes to work and to the life of the school are positive. There is a strong Zionist flavour throughout the school and the children are taught H ebrew as a second language. However, the pupils need to explore more fully the variety of cultural traditions both within their own and the w ider world. (OFSTED 1994b) Dilemmas of inspecting Hebrew teaching Further common findings of the inspection reports r elated to the teaching of Hebrew, reported on as a modern foreign language as part of the Section 9 report. Although Hebrew reading is a major component of Jew ish studies, neither the Section 9 nor the Section 13 inspection reports of the second ary schools addressed the issue of the effectiveness of the modern Hebrew teaching in cont ributing to preparing pupils for those needs. In the case of both the secondary scho ols, the Section 9 reports commented that the Hebrew department needed a closer relation ship with the separate modern languages department. In both schools, comments on the status and quality of Hebrew teaching reflected a mixed verdict. Although achievements in public examinations were a bove expected national standards, and pupils benefited from teachers who w ere native speakers, there was evidence of underachievement by lower ability pupil s, and of a lower status being accorded to Hebrew as an option beyond the first tw o years of the school. In spite of its importance in relation to the schools' ethos as Jew ish schools, the schools offered Hebrew as an examination subject only beyond the fi rst two years of the secondary
17 of 25phase. In the case of one of the schools, it was cr iticised for offering Hebrew, for pupils who wished to take both French and Hebrew, only as a course to be taken outside school hours. The reports on both secondary schools reflected var iations in the quality of teaching and learning, with a significant minority of lessons showing evidence of poor organization. In one school, no pupil below sixth f orm level was observed to speak Hebrew spontaneously. In neither secondary school w as the use of information technology incorporated into Hebrew teaching as req uired by NC, and pupils did not make sufficient use of dictionaries and glossaries. Both secondary reports commented on insufficient provision to meet the needs of pupils with learning difficulties. In the case of the primary school, the Section 9 re port commented favorably on the Hebrew teaching offered, and the Section 13 report specifically considered the extent to which it enabled the pupils to tackle religious tex ts. The latter report identified lack of liaison between the Hebrew and Jewish studies depar tments as contributing to mismatch between pupil capability and teacher expectations.Inspection findings on the quality of Jewish Studie s In terms of the specific quality of religious educa tion in Jewish schools, there are now three Section 13 reports published (OFSTED, 199 4b; 1994d; 1996) although as shown above, the Section 9 reports did address the impact of aspects of religious education across the whole of the curriculum offere d by the school. All the reports commented substantially favorably on the Jewish stu dies curricula of the schools. All commented on the positive effect of the programmes of Jewish teaching offered on the pupils' social and moral development.. On the case of one secondary school and the primary school they also reported on the pupils' kn owledge of Jewish prayers and practices, identifying substantial knowledge of tex ts. The Section 13 report on the second secondary schoo l contained many highly complimentary findings, but also more surprising on es, such as the fact that it does not conform with legal requirements for collective wors hip, that its pupils do very little written work in Jewish studies, that its GCSE resul ts in Jewish Studies are substantially lower than in the great majority of secular subject s, with those of girls showing a very substantial decline in the last year. It reported t hat by choice the school does not offer any Advanced (University Entrance) Level examinatio n courses in Jewish Studies. There appeared to be no attempt in this report to evaluat e the pupils' knowledge of Jewish texts or prayers and other rituals. Among its most compli mentary findings were those on the success of its Informal Education program of Jewish studies, which includes organized periods of study in Israel, study weekends and othe r activities in and out of school. Nevertheless the report indicated that only a small minority of the school's 1400 pupils participated in the programme. The report commented that the school had no objective system designed to measure the success of its objec tives of increasing commitment to Judaism, Israel and Jewish life. In fact, in all cases, the Section 13 reports drew attention to the relative lack of in-house monitoring and evaluation of the quality o f Jewish education. All the reports comment on the lack of effective whole school asses sment policy in Jewish studies, with considerable variations of assessment and marking p ractice. The primary school report indicated that no records were being kept of progre ss in Jewish studies. The messages in the reports so far do much to confi rm and extend the analyses presented in the earlier reports of the United Syna gogue and the Scopus foundation bodies. Those reports primarily focused on the need to build better structures and
18 of 25mechanisms for those bodies, and on the need for a major program of general in-service training. However, it would seem that the enthusias m which the Heads of the Jewish schools are showing for the establishment of publis hed curriculum, assessment and inspection systems specific to Jewish Studies and H ebrew, owes much to the advent of the OFSTED inspection era with its system of publis hed criteria, quality control procedures and published reports.Reporting inspection findings in the Jewish communi ty press It is also an additional measure of the impact of t he new inspection system that it provides a new focus for discussion of the performa nce of Jewish schools in the Jewish press. In recent years, the "Jewish Chronicle" has regularly published features summarizing the GCSE and A Level achievements of th e various Jewish schools (Note 21). However, although the results of NC assessment s at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 3 have been published for several years, they have ne ver been reported on in the Jewish or local press. The publication of OFSTED reports has attracted coverage, and the report in the Jewish Chronicle on one secondary school's OFST ED report highlighted criticisms made of the teaching of modern Hebrew (Note 22). Th e only mention of the primary schools in the OFSTED report referred to the inspec tors' commendation of Hebrew and Jewish studies teaching. There is evidence of growi ng attention to achievements in these subjects, with the appearance of an editorial in th e "Jewish Chronicle" in the same week as its reporting of Jewish schools' secular examina tion successes referring to the failure of the schools to reach the levels of achievement i n Hebrew and Jewish studies required by the community (Note 23). Nevertheless, the fact that schools are able to set their own timetable for Section 13 inspections can mean that the attention of the press is avoided. The report on the school which had its Section 13 r eport published in the following academic year to is Section 9 report received no me ntion in the Jewish press, although it contained what might be thought to be some newswort hy revelations, as referred to above. This lack of press coverage was presumably d ue to the fact that inspection reports on the school were considered old news.Responses to inspection by governors and foundation organizations The legislation on OFSTED inspections defined how s chools must respond to both Section 9 and Section 13 inspection reports. I t required the governors of each school to submit to OFSTED and publish to parents a separate action plan for each report, detailing their intended response to the ke y issues for action identified by the inspectors, within forty days of its publication. A s already indicated above, for Section 9 reports of Jewish schools, this has in practice cov ered substantial aspects of the school's distinctively denominational practice, noticeably t he teaching of Hebrew. In practice, unified action plans by Jewish schools have include d responses to both the Section 9 and Section 13 reports (Note 24). It is not widely appr eciated that governors of schools in England and Wales, community volunteers who have of ficial responsibility for the curriculum and policy management of schools, have i n the past had little access to direct evaluative evidence about the achievements of their schools, other than the results of external examinations and. latterly, the results of the externally monitored and marked tests which NC requires at ages 7, 11 and 14 for se cular subjects. There has not previously been any consistent and reliable source of evidence about the efficacy of a particular school's Jewish Studies or Hebrew progra mme, and most governors of Jewish
19 of 25schools will readily acknowledge that they know lit tle or nothing of what is achieved beyond what they can deduce from parental comments or public presentations by the school. The advent of OFSTED reporting adds dramati cally to the base of evidence which is available to them. Governors, head teachers and staff are now having t o debate and agree responses to inspection reports, which may include responses related to school policy and practice on curriculum, resources and assessment. Those resp onses must ultimately derive from the teaching staff concerned, and it is now clear e ven with only a small number of inspection reports so far published th at the impac t on them in terms of expectations and accountability will be considerable. Many responses will need to be at the level of the whole school, where such matters as resource alloca tion and assessment policy may need to be reviewed. A further major impact must therefo re be in increasing the integration of Jewish studies and Hebrew teaching into the centre of school development as a whole. Parental interest in inspection reports Whether this new level of accountability will have any lasting impact on parents remains to be seen. The very fact that the Section 9 and Section 13 reports are published separately may tend to lessen parental focus on the inspection verdicts on the specifically Jewish dimension of the school's achievements. Whil e parents receive free of charge summaries of both reports, an indication of levels of parental interest can be derived from the number of parents and others being prepare d to pay for full copies of reports, for which schools are allowed to charge. The demand for full reports for Section 9 inspections has been substantially higher than for full Section 13 reports. In only one school, copies of the complete Section 13 report ha ve been provided to all parents, when the Section 9 report has been distributed to them a s a summary, as required by the regulations. This suggests some particular motivati on on the part of the school, perhaps connected with building parental support for desire d policy initiatives, since the expense of duplicating the report must have been a signific ant budgetary decision taken by the governors and senior management staff. Parental reasons for choosing a Jewish school are c omplex, including their assumptions about whether their children are likely to do better in secular subjects at Jewish schools, as well as considerations of their desire to foster their children's commitment to Judaism, and their perceptions of the peer groups their children might meet in non-Jewish schools It is clear that the p opularity of Jewish schools owes much to their high achievements in secular studies. Rece nt demographic research on the Jewish community suggests that only a small minorit y of the community actually practises orthodox Judaism (Note 25). The reports a s circulated have included in the cases of some schools some very substantial critici sms in relation to both secular and Jewish studies. There is as yet little evidence tha t reporting on the quality of Jewish education and Hebrew will affect parental decisions for the vast majority of parents. However, it will certainly heighten awareness of wh at their children are and are not achieving in this field.Notes Elements of an earlier version of this material wer e previously presented at the Conference of the International Sociological Associ ation Sociology of Education Research Committee, "Educational Knowledge and Scho ol Curricula: Comparative
20 of 25Sociological Perspectives", The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, December 27th 1995. 1. Minutes of a meeting on the Inspection of Jewish Schools, Board of Deputies of British Jews Education Department, 6th February 199 4. Her Majesty's Inspector Mr R Long reported that there are an additional forty se ven known Jewish independent schools, which HM Inspectorate service. Further app lications for state-aided status are currently in the pipeline for at least five further Jewish schools, three of which are from reform or liberal Jewish bodies, and two from ortho dox bodies. All but one are for the outer London suburban areas.2. The oldest Jewish school in England, the Jews' F ree School (JFS) comprehensive, formerly the Jews' Free School, dates back to 1817 (Gartner (1960) p.221). 3. ibid., p.22. There was opposition to the payment of grants to religious schools in general by some Liberal nonconformists at the time of the establishment of the state aid system established in 1870, with additional objecti on to support for non-Christian religious education. There was also opposition by n onconformists to religious education in secular schools, and it was open to the School B oards established by the 1870 Education Act to decide whether or not it was to be included. 4. Hyman & Ohrenstein (1993) cited four nursery sch ools, six primary schools and four secondary schools as being under the aegis of the Z FET. Two of the nursery schools and one of the primary schools are independent non-stat e aided schools. 5. Although by far the most influential organizatio n in Jewish education, the United Synagogue is directly responsible for only five of the twenty four state-aided Jewish schools.6. It currently runs withdrawal classes in Jewish r eligious education at two major prestigious independent schools in London which hav e very substantial numbers of Jewish pupils.7. In 1995, the Hasmonean High School, a Jewish com prehensive school, achieved the highest percentage for all comprehensive schools in England and Wales of A and B grades in the GCE Advanced Level examinations, and the sixth highest percentage of all state schools, including selective schools. The JFS comprehensive school achieved forty fifth place in the percentage rankings for state sc hools for A and B A Level grades, and the King David High School Liverpool achieved 178th place nationally. Rankings in the previous year were: Hasmonean High, fifteenth, JFS, twenty-second and King David High, Liverpool, fifty-third.8. Jewish Educational Development Trust (1992), kno wn as the "Worms Report", after its Chairman, Mr Fred Worms, was the United Synagog ue's review; Hyman & Ohrenstein, op. cit., was the ZFET's review.9. The core subjects are: English, mathematics and science. The foundation subjects are: technology, history, geography, art, music, physica l education and, for pupils over 11, a modern foreign language.10. The somewhat complex arrangements for Section 9 and Section 13 reporting on the spiritual, moral, social and cultural aspects of th e school are set out in DfEE Circulars
21 of 257/93, Appendix B and 1/94, Para. 134. There is some ambiguity between the positions set out in the two documents, with Circular 7/93 st ating in Appendix 6 Paragraph 6 that "inspection for a school which offers denominationa l education cannot cover this aspect, although it must cover the moral, spiritual, social and cultural development of pupils across the whole range of the school's activities". On the other hand Circular 1/94 Para. 134 states, "The Registered Inspector has the duty. ..to report on the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils in all sc hools, but in [denominational schools] that duty is limited to noting that the school meet s the requirements of the law to provide RE and a daily act of collective worship. The Regis tered Inspector is not concerned with the content of such provision."11. JDT (1992) op. cit. pages i-ii.12. Sacks (1993) particularly at pages 34-48 and 10 4-111. 13. Jewish Continuity (1994). An initial outline of Jewish Continuity's goals and strategy was previously given in Sacks (1994) pages 106-111 and 117-123 14. Minutes of a Meeting of the Association of Gove rnors of Orthodox Jewish Schools, 23rd January 1994. Notes of presentation by Mrs Sym a Weinberg of Jewish Continuity. 15. Presentation by Mr Laurie Rosenberg, Director o f Education of the Board of Deputies of Jewish Schools, 24th April 1994, Meetin g of the Association of Governors of Orthodox Jewish Schools.16. Meeting of Jewish Teachers' Forum on "OFSTED an d the Jewish School", organized by the Education Department of the Board of Deputie s, 1st February 1995 17. Board of Deputies of British Jews Education Dep artment (1995a) 18. See for example OFSTED (1996a)19. "Pikuach" Board of Deputies Education Departmen t Consultation Conference, 20th November 199520. Reported in the Jewish Chronicle, 15th March 19 96, pages 1 and 25. 21. Cf. Jewish Chronicle 25th August 199522. Jewish Chronicle 3rd February 199523. Jewish Chronicle 25th August 1995, Second leade r. 24. For example, Simon Marks Jewish Primary School (1995) 25. See JEDT (1992), Section 1, para 1.1 References Agency for Jewish Education (1994). Target 2000.5 y ear Plan 1995-2000 (mimeo) Alderman, G (1989) London Jewry and London Politics 1889-1986. London: Routledge.
22 of 25Board of Deputies of Pikuach. Inspecting Jewish Sch ools. The Framework. First Draft (mimeo)Board of Deputies of British Jews (1995a) Pikuach. Inspecting Jewish Schools. The Framework. First Draft (mimeo)Board of Deputies of British Jews (1995b) Pikuach. Inspecting Jewish Schools. The Framework. Third Draft Version 2.1, November 1995.Board of Deputies of British Jews (1996) Pikuach. I nspecting Jewish Schools. The Framework. 22nd February 1996.Gartner, L (1960) The Jewish Immigrant in England 1 870-1914 London: Simon Publications.Hyman, B & Ohrenstein, A (1993). Blueprint for Prog ress. An examination of the present structure of the ZFET with recommendations for the future (mimeo). Jewish Continuity Strategic Direction.(1994) 5 Year Goals and 1995 Programme. 22nd December 1994 (mimeo)Jewish Education Development Trust (JEDT) (1992). S ecuring Our Future: An Inquiry into Jewish Education in the Development Trust Unit ed Kingdom.London: Jewish Education Development Trust.Keiner, J, Korn, E., Serra, D. & Frankel, J. (1995a ) Scopus National Jewish Studies Curriculum. London: Scopus Jewish Educational TrustKeiner, J.,Korn, E.,Serra, D. & Frankel, J. (1995b) Scopus National Hebrew Curriculum. London: Scopus Jewish Educational TrustSacks, J. (1994). Will We Have Jewish Grandchildren ? Jewish Continuity and How to Achieve It. London: Valentine Mitchell.Serra, D. & Keiner,J.(1994). New Life for Hebrew Te aching. Proposal for funding to Jewish Continuity (mimeo)Simon Marks Jewish Primary School (1995). OFSTED Ac tion Plan 1994-96 (mimeo) Official Publications Great Britain (1988) Education Reform Act Chapter 4 0. Part I, Chapter 1, 1(2) Great Britain Circular 7/93. Inspecting Schools: A Guide to the Inspection Department for Provisions of the Education (Schools) Act 1992 in England. Education and Science(DfE) (1993)Great Britain Circular 1/94. Religious Education an d Collective Worship Department for Education(DfE) (1994)Office for Standards Handbook for the Inspection of Schools in Education London, HMSO (OFSTED)(1993)
23 of 25 Guidance on the Inspection of Secondary Schools. Th e OFSTED Handbook, London, HMSO (1995b)Guidance on the Inspection of Nursery and Primary S chools. The OFSTED Handbook. London, HMSO (1995c)Guidance on the Inspection of Special Schools. The OFSTED Handbook. London, HMSO (1995d)Inspection Resource Pack. The OFSTED Handbook. Lond on, HMSO (1995e) Primary Subject Guidance, London, Office of Her Maj esty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England (1996a)OFSTED Inspection ReportsOFSTED (1994a) Report of Inspection under Section 9 of the Education (Schools) Act. Simon Marks Jewish Primary School. Inspected 3rd-6t h October 1994 OFSTED (1994b) Report of Inspection under Section 1 3 of the Education (Schools) Act 1992. Simon Marks Jewish Primary School Inspected 3 rd-6th October 1994 (OFSTED 1994c) Report of Inspection under Section 9 of the Education (Schools) Act. Hasmonean High School, Inspected November 21st-25th 1994 (OFSTED 1994d) Report of Inspection under Section 1 3 of the Education (Schools) Act 1992. Denominational Religious Education and Collec tive Worship.Hasmonean High School. Inspected 4th-8th December 1994.OFSTED (1995a) Report of Inspection under Section 9 of the Education (Schools) Act. Jews' Free School, Inspected March 9th-15th 1995OFSTED (1996b) Report of Inspection under Section 1 3 of the Education (Schools) Act. JFS. Inspected 20th-22nd November 1995.About the Author Judy Keiner is Senior Lecturer in Education, Department of Educ ation Studies and Management, University of Reading, England. She is also a school inspector. Her undergraduate degree is in English literature, and has postagrduate degrees in sociology and information technology. She taught in primary a nd secondary schools and in further and higher education and has worked for over 25 yea rs in teacher education. Her current research interests focus on Jewish education and on the use of the World Wide Web by children. Samples of her current work may be reache d via her Web page at http://www.reading.ac.uk/~veskeinr/.Email: J.C.Keiner@reading.ac.uk Copyright 1996 by the Education Policy Analysis Archives
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