Government announces funding for security at Jewish faith schools
8 December 2010
Earlier today the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove MP, wrote to CST to announce that the Government has agreed to provide financial assistance for the payment of security guards at all 39 Jewish Voluntary Aided faith schools in England.
CST has held discussions with the Department for Education about security funding for a considerable length of time, including with the previous Government. It has been a serious challenge to accurately assess the costs across 39 schools, and to develop mechanisms for the provision and delivery of funding. Today's announcement is the result of lengthy and intense discussions and technical negotiations to assess needs, costs and delivery mechanisms.
The initial payment is for the 2010-11 school year and will be distributed to schools via CST. The Department for Education is not able to guarantee payments beyond this date, but we will work to ensure that this funding is repeated as necessary in future years.
CST hopes that this will help the Jewish community in many ways. It lifts a significant financial burden, and it shows the Government making a practical commitment to the well being of British Jews.
None of this would have been possible without the hard work, communication and co-ordination between the schools, CST and the Department for Education all of it framed by the recommendations of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism and achieved through genuine partnership between CST, PCAA, John Mann MP, many other politicians and civil servants, as well as many others from within and beyond the community. CST is extremely grateful for the co-operation of the schools throughout this process, and in particular for the support, guidance and determination shown by John Mann MP and Secretary of State Michael Gove.
Below is the Department for Education's press notice announcing today's decision.
Funding for tighter security to protect Jewish schools from antisemitism
Education Secretary Michael Gove today confirmed up to £2 million to fund tighter security measures in Jewish faith schools.
Community Security Trust (CST), a charity working to ensure the safety and security of the Jewish community in the UK, will receive revenue funding for the extra measure of security guards at 39 Jewish Voluntary Aided faith schools across England.
Parents of children at these schools currently pay around £1.6 million a year out of their own pockets, along with the CST providing £400,000, to ensure their children have a school environment safe from any potential anti-Semitic or racist threats.
Schools are responsible for funding general security measures such as fencing, gates and CCTV out of their main school budget. However, following assessments obtained by the CST, the extra security provided by guards in place at Jewish faith schools helps ensure pupils and staff remain safe.
Confirming the funding on the last day of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, Michael Gove said:
"Faith schools make a fantastic contribution to our education system and none more so than Jewish faith schools, which teach children of the importance of ethos, values and a belief in social justice.
"Children and staff at these schools should feel safe at school and able to learn in an environment free from any anti-Semitic or racist threats. That is why I have secured funding of up to £2 million for 2010-11 to be made to the 39 schools via the Community Security Trust."
The first payment of £650,000 will be paid in arrears for the autumn 2010 term, with up to £2 million funding being provided for 2010-11, subject to further evaluation.
Richard Benson, Chief Executive of Community Security Trust, said:
"CST is grateful to the Secretary of State for recognising the importance of security provision at state-funded Jewish schools, and for the time he and his Department have spent assessing the problem and constructing a viable solution. We will work with the Department for Education and the Jewish school sector to ensure that the funding for school security is distributed efficiently and according to need."
Joshua Rowe, Chair of Trustees at King David Schools in Manchester, welcomed the news:
"What a wonderful Chanukah present for the whole Jewish community. We hugely appreciate the support the Secretary of State for Education and the Government will now offer to ensure that our schools and pupils receive the protection they require and deserve."