Teaching Jewish Heritage in the National Curriculum

Jewish heritage and history can readily be taught as part of the National Curriculum, which emphasises the need for schools to recognise issues of diversity and incorporate them into pupils’ studies. To this end, work on the Anglo-Jewish community, its history and its heritage can readily be made part of several subjects including, amongst others, Citizenship, History, Religious Studies and Geography. Jtrails would recommend that, where possible, pupils study their local Anglo-Jewish community both in terms of the past and the present, to avoid local Jewish history being perceived merely as an isolated element of a bygone age. Cross-curricular collaboration between faculties and departments, such as history and RE, would be effective in this respect.

Citizenship, in particular, provides some of the best opportunities for lessons on local Jewish communities, as it is still a new subject in the National Curriculum and highlights the study of local diversity and diversity issue. Citizenship advises that students learn about, ‘the origins and implications of the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding.’ It also urges students to understand the experiences of others and the origins of difference within our society.

PHSE offers a linked range of perspectives and opportunities similar to Citizenship. Pupils are encouraged to, ‘think about the lives of people living in other places and times, and people with different values and customs.’

The History curriculum advises the study of, ‘the way of life of people in the more distant past who lived in the local area or elsewhere in Britain’. This could readily include the study of the local Jewish community or a nearby historical Jewish community. The changes in the Jewish way of life over time could also make a useful subject of study. The History curriculum mandates the use of local study, which at KS 2 can include a study of ‘how an aspect in the local area has changed over a long period of time’. At KS 3, pupils are advised to study history from different perspectives including a religious perspective. The study of local Jewish history and heritage also allows the use of many different sources, resources and media, different modes of historical questioning, as recommended in the key stages, as well as guided independent work by students, the development of research and communication skills, engagement with the local environment and study outside of the class room

Religious Studies
The Religious Studies curriculum emphasises the need to study, ‘a religious community with a significant local presence, where appropriate’. Where there is a local Jewish community, the study of Judaism in the context of this community and its heritage would be ideal.


Citizenship - Key Stages 1-4

History - Key Stages 1-4

Religious Education - Key Stages 1-4

PHSE - Key Stages 1-4

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