Hundreds of ex-JFS students urge school to adopt ‘decolonised curriculum’

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Hundreds of ex-JFS students urge school to adopt ‘decolonised curriculum’

More than 700 former students at Europe's largest Jewish secondary say it 'should provide students with an honest portrayal of Britain's Empire and involvement in slave trade'

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

JFS School
JFS School

Hundreds of former JFS students have urged the school to adopt a “decolonised national British curriculum”.

Launched on Sunday, signatories to the open letter say: “As we reflect upon our education with you, we feel we are provided with a predominantly white education that has left many of us ignorant to the structural racism and injustices that Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) face in Britain and beyond.”

Claiming the school should “provide its students with an honest portrayal of Britain’s Empire and involvement in slave trade”, the ex-students call for English texts to be “diversified to reflect the far-reaching influence of Black British and postcolonial literature in the UK today” .

They also urge reforms, including discussion of the experience of Jews of Colour, and discrimination faced by Ethiopian Jews in Israel.

Ella Davies Oliveck and Jacob Middleburgh, who graduated in 2015, and Esther Craven, in 2013, launched the letter which has now been signed by over 700 ex-students and parents. They said: “JFS is a great school in many ways but we feel as though it fell short in providing us with a well-rounded understanding of historical events that are a fundamental part of Britain’s past.

“We want to change this, and propose different methods through which to do so. State schools must teach the national curriculum but have some power as to what they teach and what workshops and other forms of education they provide.

JFS has been approached for comment.

You can sign the letter here.

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