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JPR's research work featured prominently in a keynote presentation delivered at the annual conference of the Association of Headteachers of Jewish Schools.
In his address, entitled “Using new data to support planning for Jewish schools”, Jonathan Boyd cautioned against misinterpretation of age data from the UK Census which demonstrates that the Jewish community has experienced a baby boom in recent years.
Boyd noted that a considerable proportion of the growth has taken place in the most Orthodox parts of the community, and thus should not be considered part of the potential pupil pool for mainstream Jewish schools.
He further argued that whilst data from JPR’s recent National Jewish Community Survey demonstrates that younger Jews in the UK are more likely to be religiously observant than older Jews, this is primarily likely to be a result of demographic shifts over and above educational achievements. “It is not so much that young people are becoming religious,” argued Boyd, “but rather that religious people are young.”
The presentation concluded by outlining JPR’s proposals for further research in the Jewish educational sector. “The data we now have available could provide an extraordinary amount of valuable information to help plan and develop the sector in the years ahead," said Boyd, “although funding is needed to enable schools to take full advantage of it. It remains to be seen whether school and community leaders will act on that or not. But no one will be able to say with any legitimacy in the future that they could not possibly have known what was coming. The data exist, they are unprecedented in their depth and breadth, and JPR is open for business.”