The relationship between attending a Jewish secondary school and one’s beliefs and identity in adult life

Chloe Spencer-Dene

Abstract

Faith schools remain a topic of debate in contemporary Britain. In 2017, faith schools accounted for 33.7% of state-funded mainstream schools. Faith schools differ from other state-funded mainstream schools in many ways. For example, they have the ability to control the content taught in their Religious Education and Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) syllabuses and have control over their admissions arrangements. This project explores the impact Jewish schools can have on one’s adult beliefs, through a small-scale study. This study analyses online questionnaire responses from 25 participants aged 19-27. All participants in this sample attended the same Jewish secondary school in London, referred to as ‘School A’. The responses show that faith schools can have a significant effect on one’s adult beliefs, due to the ways in which they teach pupils about different religions, political ideologies, and sexuality. This was found to be mainly due to the perceived exclusion of other religious beliefs and opinions. Despite this, most of the participants still felt able to express themselves and their beliefs. Moreover, this study’s participants felt that their adult beliefs were more significantly impacted by their family and community, rather than by their school. The study’s findings highlight a need to improve the inclusivity of SRE teaching in Jewish schools. This project recommends that further research is conducted on the impact of attending a Jewish secondary school on an individual’s beliefs later in life, and whether this is also representative of all UK faith schools.

 

Spencer-Dene, C. (2021) The relationship between attending a Jewish secondary school and one’s beliefs and identity in adult life. Transformations, [online] Vol. 4(1). Available at: https://educationstudies.org.uk/?p=11975 [Accessed 01 Mar, 2024].

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