The number of Jewish pupils enrolled in Jewish schools has been climbing consistently for several decades. There are now over 5,000 more Jewish children enrolled in strictly Orthodox (haredi) schools than in mainstream ones.
A new paper, entitled JPR.BOD – Jewish Schools Statistical Bulletin for 2015-16 to 2017-18 – January 2019, commissioned by the Board of Deputies and produced by JPR and authored by JPR Executive Director, Dr Jonathan Boyd, contains the most recent data on Jewish school enrolment in the UK. The paper is intended to help community educators monitor changing trends over time and to inform thinking about the development of the field.
Among the key findings in the paper:
• There were 34,547 Jewish children studying in Jewish schools in the academic year 2017/18.
• This represents an increase of 3,633 children, or 11.8% since the last figures were published for the academic year 2014/2015.
• This increase can be observed in both the mainstream and strictly Orthodox sectors: the mainstream sector had 1,666 more Jewish children in 2017/18 compared to 2014/15; the strictly Orthodox sector had an additional 2,367 children over the same period.
• 58% of Jewish children in Jewish schools are in strictly Orthodox schools; 42% in non-strictly Orthodox or ‘mainstream’ Jewish schools.
• Three quarters of all Jewish children in Jewish schools are in the Greater London area or South Hertfordshire.
• Enrolment in strictly Orthodox schools continues to increase dramatically over time, increasing by an estimated 166%, or over 12,000 children, since the mid-1990s.
• The annual growth rate of the strictly Orthodox sector is estimated to be about 4.3%, compared to 3.1% in the mainstream sector.
Board of Deputies Vice President Edwin Shuker commented:
“The continued increase in the number of children attending Jewish schools as highlighted by this latest research demonstrates a welcome trend. This report will provide the community’s lay leaders and educators with valuable data for medium- and long-term planning in the education sector. Having strong educational institutions has long been a key part of what it means to be Jewish. We continue to be proud of our Jewish schools’ strong academic performances and their commitment to nurturing our youth.”
Executive Director of JPR, Dr Jonathan Boyd, said:
“This latest paper provides further evidence of two important trends in British Jewish life: demographic growth in the haredi community and a community-wide increase in numbers preferring Jewish schooling. Monitoring both is important to ensure we maintain an up-to-date perspective on how our community is evolving, and to stay clear-sighted about future challenges and opportunities.”