Guardian article regarding government funding for security guarding at Jewish schools

27 Jan 2012 by CST

CST is astonished that the Guardian has chosen to mark Holocaust Memorial Day by attacking the funding provided by the government to pay for security guarding at Jewish state schools in England and Wales.

This funding is provided to protect Jewish schools against terrorism. This is a real threat: just this week, as we reported on this blog, the authorities in Azerbaijan announced that they had foiled a terrorist plot relating to a Jewish school in Baku.

The Guardian story is misleading as it suggests that the money provided by the Department for Education pays for CST to provide security at Jewish schools. In fact the money is merely administered by CST and distributed in full to the Jewish schools who then use it to employ their own security guards (not from CST). Previously, these guards were paid for by parental contributions at the Jewish schools. CST does not keep any of the grant money and there is no allowance made for CST's staff time in administering the funds to each school. In the end the project actually costs CST money, the exact opposite of the impression given by the Guardian.

We remain grateful to the Department for Education and the Secretary of State for providing this funding to alleviate the financial burden on Jewish parents, and we are proud of our role in helping this to take place.

CST's only funding from government remains the grants given under the Ministry of Justice Victims Fund (previously run by the Home Office), which supports our work with victims of antisemitic hate crime. The overwhelming bulk of CST's funding is provided by voluntary donations from the UK Jewish community.

If the Guardian had contacted CST for comment before running the story, we could have explained all of this to them.

UPDATE: After a complaint from CST, the Guardian have now added a paragraph near the end of their article which reads:

All the money is distributed by the trust to the schools which then employ the security guards. As the trust's role is essentially adminstrative, none of the money is retained by the trust or pays for any of the trust's work.

However, this acknowledgement that the grant does not pay for CST's work is not reflected in the headline or opening paragraph of the article, which have not been amended.

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“Since 2003, CST has been a stalwart supporter of ODIHR in its efforts to effectively monitor antisemitic hate crime in the OSCE Region. With its rigorous methodology and innovative partnerships with the British police, it is viewed by many as representing the gold standard for NGO responses to all forms of hate crime. I wish CST all success in its exciting new phase of work.”

Michael Georg Link
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights