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The cash injection will fund guards at all 39 Jewish state schools, lifting a financial burden shouldered by parents and educational institutions for decades.
Described last night as a “wonderful Chanukah gift”, the announcement makes good on a pledge made by Education Secretary Michael Gove during the general election campaign.
Gove said: “Faith schools make a fantastic contribution to our education system and none more so than Jewish faith schools, which teach children the importance of ethos, values and a belief in social justice. Children and staff at these schools should feel safe at all times and able to learn in an environment free from any anti-Semitic or racist threats.”
The money will be provided in arrears for the current academic term and up to 2m pounds has already been secured for 2010-11, subject to further evaluation. It will be allocated according to factors including a school’s location and number of students by the Community Security Trust.
Its chief executive Richard Benson said: “The funding is necessary due to the harsh reality of the scale and nature of the terrorist threat. It lifts a significant financial burden, and it is a real step forward to see Government making such a practical commitment to the well being of our community.
“Discussions about security funding have gone on for a considerable length of time, including with the previous Government. It has been a serious challenge to accurately assess the costs across 39 schools, and to develop mechanisms for the provision and delivery of funding.”
He added the “support, guidance and determination shown by John Mann MP and Michael Gove, has been of paramount importance” in reaching yesterday’s announcement.
The educational philanthropist Benjamin Perl said the move would enable schools to concentrate on teaching the next generation, while Dayan Ehrentreu applauded Gove’s initiative to “provide the full measure of security so desperately needed by our Jewish day schools. It’s supremely fitting that this statement should be issued on the last day of Chanukah, which conveys the message of light, hope and security for all”.
Schools will continue to fund security for infrastructure such as gates and CCTV, with the support of around 400,000 pounds annually from the CST.2 Million for school safety by Justin Cohen