YEP Says, October 17: Should faith schools continue to receive public funding?

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...and another chance for Leeds to shine on world stage

SET against a backdrop of squeezed funding and a looming shortage of school places, the £3m spent on a free school with just 23 pupils doesn’t add up.

However, supporters of the Leeds Jewish Free School – which initially opened with just eight children on the roll – say that it has a vital role to play in ensuring the Jewish community in North Leeds survives.

They say that if the city doesn’t have a Jewish high school that reflects their faith then many families will simply up sticks and move to Manchester and London.

It should not be underestimated just how much of a contribution the Jewish community in Leeds has made over the years both in terms of the cultural richness of the city and in its support of civic projects – the Ziff family being an obvious example. Losing that would make Leeds all the poorer.

Then there is the fact that other faith-based free schools receive similar levels of funding from the public purse. If one group is entitled to this sort of backing, why not another?

Ultimately it comes down to how much this type of diversity should be encouraged when it comes to schooling. Certainly it will strengthen in some people’s minds the argument for a secular approach to education would see faith schools phased out and publicly funded schools equally welcoming to all children, regardless of their religious and philosophical backgrounds.

Another chance to shine on world stage

LEEDS doesn’t boast too many World Cup winners, so it was good to welcome former rugby star Jason Robinson back to the city.

And it was great that he brought the Webb Ellis trophy he lifted in 2003 with him to promote Leeds’s hosting of games in next year’s Rugby World Cup.

On the hunt for volunteers to follow in the footsteps of the Tour Makers who helped make the Grand Depart such a huge success, he was impressed by the enthusiasm that’s building ahead of the tournament.

This is another chance for Leeds to shine on the world stage – we’re sure those who step up to represent us will once again do the city proud.


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