Student absences from state-funded Jewish secondary schools were generally higher than the national average during the last full school year, figures obtained by Jewish News reveal.
Department for Education statistics show an average of 3.4 per cent absence recorded as authorized and 1.3 unauthorized from Years Seven to Eleven at 3,400 public secondary schools in England during the year school year 2020/21.
A Freedom of Information request sent to secondary schools in Jewish states following the government’s new Schools Bill, unveiled in the Queen’s Speech last month, shows they are falling far behind the national average for attendance.
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Six Jewish schools, Yavneh College, JCoSS, JFS, King Solomon High School and Hasmonean Boys’ and Girls’ Schools had higher leave of absences (AA) in 2020/21 than the national average of 3.4%.
Yavneh College was twice as high at 6.8%, JCoSS at 5.0%, JFS 3.38%, King Solomon High School 4.44%, Hasmonean Boys’ school 4.63% and Hasmonean Girls’ school 4, 01%.
Three Jewish public schools had unauthorized absences (AU) above the national average of 1.3%. JFS was 3.71%, King Solomon High School 3.46%, and Hasmonean Boys’ school 1.80%.
Hasmonean Girls School at 1.29%, JCoSS at 0.9% and Yavneh College at 0.42% were below the AU average.
King David High School in Liverpool did not provide figures.
Six Jewish schools, Yavneh College, JCoSS, JFS, King Solomon High School and Hasmonean Boys’ and Girls’ schools had higher leave of absences (AA) in 2020/21 than the national average.
After analyzing the numbers, a prominent Jewish educator pointed out that unauthorized absence does not necessarily mean truancy, but rather covers a range of circumstances. He added: “There is also an element of discretion in the way schools code absences, so it is risky to compare one school with another or with national figures.
“School truancy rate is an outdated and imprecise term. Does that mean a deliberate absence or just an unauthorized absence that includes everything from occasions when a relative forgot to write a note, to emergency visits to dying relatives in Israel? Or does it mean parents are keeping their children at home due to covid anxiety or lack of home schooling? »
The 2020/21 academic year has been significantly impacted by the pandemic with full closures and gradual returns through spring. These figures do not include forced absences due to Covid.
After reviewing the numbers, Rabbi David Meyer, executive director of Partnerships for Jewish Schools, said: “School attendance is an essential aspect in the education of children and repeated absences can have a significant impact on the progress of pupils. Small deviations are to be expected, but parents are primarily responsible for their child’s attendance and these figures underscore the essential role parents play in their children’s education.
The government unveiled its new Schools Bill in the Queen’s Speech last month, under which English schools would be required to publish an attendance policy and keep a compulsory register for children who are not in school. class so that authorities can identify those who are not receiving a full-time education.
The bill also aims to crack down on school truancy, strengthen the powers of education watchdogs and reform the funding system in new legislation to create “a school system that works for every child”.
Education Secretary Nadim Zahawi said: “These measures will ensure that students get every possible time in class and create a school system that works for every child, parent and family, bringing every school up to our highest standards. current.
“We are determined to raise the standards in our schools so that every child has access to the same opportunities wherever they live, and our brilliant teachers are supported to do what they do best, which is why we enshrine our ambition in matters of education in law.”
He added: “By giving every child a good education, we give them the opportunity to thrive so they can reach their full potential and get the jobs they need, this is absolutely vital to our upgrading mission. .”