School text book that mixed up Jews and Muslims withdrawn

The GCSE religious studies text book on Judaism is so littered with errors that a school has produced its own four-page leaflet of corrections.

It includes picture of a Muslim kneeling in prayer, described as a Jew. One pupil said: "It was so bad, the teacher kept telling us, 'don't listen to this, ignore this, half of this is wrong'."

The textbook is the AQA GCSE Religious Studies A: Judaism textbook, produced for the examination board by the educational publishers, Nelson Thornes.

Staff at the Jewish Free School, in Kenton, North West London, have issued GCSE pupils with a list of corrections. One angry parent of a JFS pupil told the Jewish Chronicle newspaper: "The textbook contains countless errors and general, confused assertions about Judaism. The factual errors are laughably bad.

"A section headed 'Reform Judaism' in fact talks about the practice of Orthodox Jews. A picture of a person kneeling in prayer, described as a Jew, is in fact a Muslim, while a picture of Jews ostensibly at a Seder table, is a Shabbat meal.

"Other assertions in the text, including commentaries on women who wear wigs, and why Jews think they do what they do, are misleading and offensive".

Religious studies GCSE is a compulsory examination at JFS and around 300 pupils are estimated to take the exam each year. The parent said that GCSE students at JFS had been instructed to look at the school's corrections each time they needed to refer to the text book.

She claimed that JFS had to reach agreement with the AQA that if students used the correct information about Judaism it would not be marked incorrect by examiners, because it did not tally with the information in the textbook.

A spokesperson for AQA said: "AQA doesn't publish text books. We do liaise with publishers to try to ensure references to our syllabus are accurate; however the publisher is responsible for the content of the book and, therefore, any errors.

"JFS brought the errors to our attention and we raised them with the publisher. This book is being reprinted by the publisher and we have asked them to address these concerns." The school's head-teacher, Jonathan Miller, said: "We have worked closely with AQA over the past year and are pleased that they are preparing a new draft of the Judaism text book which will deal with any inaccuracies." .

Steven Mintz, the head of Jewish studies at Manchester's King David High School, confirmed that he had co-written the textbook, but declined to comment further.