A Jewish or a non-Jewish school: What lies behind parents’ decisions about how to educate their children?

Integration, convenience, availability and academic standards, all play important roles

Dr Jonathan Boyd

In this report:

As a new school year begins, this factsheet looks into Jewish education in the UK and the rest of Europe, highlighting parents’ different motives when choosing a Jewish or non-Jewish school for their children. The paper draws data from three sources: previous JPR research on school registration numbers, a 2018 pan-European study sponsored by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), conducted by a joint JPR-Ipsos team, and JPR’s spring 2023 survey of Jews in the UK.

Some of the key findings in this factsheet:

  • The number of Jewish children attending Jewish schools has increased significantly over time and is expected to reach about 40,000 by the mid-2020s;
  • In the UK, the number of children attending haredi (strictly Orthodox) schools outnumbers the number of Jewish children in mainstream Jewish schools by about three to two;
  • Parents in the UK, France and across Europe are most likely to point to a desire for their children to develop strong Jewish identities as a motive for registering their children in a Jewish school;
  • Parents also send their children to Jewish schools because they want them to have friends with similar values;
  • Jews in France are more likely than Jews elsewhere to point to concerns about antisemitism in general schools as a motive for sending their children to Jewish schools;
  • In the UK and France, the most common motive for parents to send their children to a non-Jewish school is actively preferring a non-Jewish ('integrated') environment, cited by about two-thirds of all such parents in both countries;
  • Convenience also commonly features as a reason not to send children to a Jewish school, coming second on the list in the UK and France, and topping it elsewhere in Europe;
  • Academic standards and availability are also marked highly as reasons parents prefer a non-Jewish school for their children, particularly in the UK.

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Dr Jonathan Boyd

Executive Director

Dr Jonathan Boyd

Executive Director

Jonathan has been Executive Director of JPR since 2010, having previously held research and policy positions at the JDC International Centre for Community Development in...

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