A SOUTHAMPTON primary school has been criticised by a Jewish organisation for not including Judaism as one of its core religious education classes from September.

Foundry Lane Primary School, in Shirley, will not teach Judaism as a core subject on its own from September. The religion's traditions and festivals will still be covered.

The revelation was made when it presented its new syllabus at a city council Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) meeting.

But a Jewish organisation says this is the wrong decision as education is the way to counter the recent rise in anti-Semitism in the UK.

At the meeting, a school representative said: “We do not have any Jewish students or teachers in our school. We have a focus on teaching Islam to try to combat the rise in Islamophobia.”

Meanwhile, deputy headteacher Helen Aldred stated: “We teach the religions that are specific to the school context each year.

“As a school we are aware of all the faiths represented within school.

“Our curriculum is designed in a way that enables children to make connections to their own experiences, but also to develop an understanding of different beliefs so that we develop mutual respect for each other.

“When teachers have pupils with additional beliefs in their class they will make reference to these when and where appropriate.”

The statement went on to say: “The curriculum design is that [within Abrahamic religions] we teach Christianity and one other religion.”

That ‘one other’ Abrahamic religion is Islam to which it allocates four half-terms in years 5 and 6.

Ms Aldred added: "Our collective worship themes also include celebrating and learning about different religious festivals across the calendar year. Within this, we do share about a number of Jewish festivals and traditions. These include Shabbat, Sukkot, Hanukkah and Passover. This enables us to extend children’s understanding even further."

However, the decision not to teach Judaism as a core subject has been criticised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BOD).

A spokesperson at the BOD said: “Children learning about the faith of those who do not attend their school or live in their area is vitally important. If they never come across anyone Jewish and are not educated about Jewish faith and practice, they may develop false ideas and prejudices which may then affect their beliefs and even behaviours later in life.

“The rise in anti-Semitism in Britain in recent years is very scary and educating children is the way to combat the problem.”

SACRE meetings, according to the BOD, should always have a representative from each religion in attendance, in order to offer a fair and balanced decision-making process.

The BOD says it tries to ensure that there is a Jewish representative at each SACRE meeting so that the decisions made and the syllabus taught includes Judaism, and that is taught in an ‘authentic way’.

Dr Gil Dekel, the Jewish representative for Southampton City Council was not at Monday’s meeting.

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