Jewish schools fearful of attacks

1st August 2003 at 01:00
THE addresses of Jewish schools are to be removed from online inspection reports amid fears they will be targeted for anti-semitic violence and vandalism.

The Office for Standards in Education has agreed to omit the addresses after schools asked for action to "prevent potentially hostile incidents against the school or community".

The request follows a 13 per cent increase in the number of attacks on Jews in the last year, according to figures provided by the Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-semitism.

A spokeswoman said the rise in violence and vandalism was linked to the growth in tensions in the Middle East.

The charitable trust has advised the 90, mainly private, Jewish schools to limit the information published about them on websites.

Simon Goulden, chief executive of the Agency for Jewish Education, said Jewish schools had become increasingly cautious following anti-semitic vandalism and violence last year.

These included the desecrations of a synagogue in Finsbury Park, north London, and a Jewish cemetery in Milton Keynes, which were both daubed with swastikas.

Mr Goulden did not know of any recent attacks on schools but said that there were several private schools close to the Finsbury Park synagogue.

"Without question the Jewish community is alert to security matters and schools may feel publishing their addresses would help groups which wish to do harm to the community," he said.

Ofsted noted the Jewish schools' concerns in a report this week on consultation over changes to private school inspection.

A spokeswoman said other schools could apply to have their addresses omitted from Ofsted's website, if they had good reason. "This could also be used by schools which provide education for children who have been abused and need protection," she said.

The education watchdog received 344 responses on the plans to inspect private schools, which come into effect from this September.

Letters voicing the greatest opposition came from evangelical Christian schools which were concerned the inspections would not be sufficiently flexible to take their aims into account. Some also asked to be inspected by inspectors with the same faith. Ofsted said it had no plans to do so.

"Consultation on the framework for the inspection of independent schools" is at

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