Glimpse into a positive Redbridge future
Lord Sacks and guests at Monday night’s meeting
Redbridge parents enjoyed a glimpse of the future as plans for the new Ilford Jewish Primary School were displayed at Monday's launch of the biggest Jewish capital project in the area.
The primary will be re-sited on the grounds of King Solomon High School, creating a campus for more than 1,400 children aged two to 19.
The £10 million scheme is seen as a means to regenerate local Jewish life.
King Solomon head Spencer Lewis told a packed meeting in the school's hall: "I am convinced that the project will be transformative of the entire Redbridge Jewish community." Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks also spoke of the potential benefits.
King Solomon pupils recently featured in his annual BBC Rosh Hashanah programme, shown helping the elderly at Jewish Care. It made him feel "proud" to be part of a community with such fine young people.
IJPS is scheduled to move into its new home on the grounds of the high school car park in two years. It will have an intake of 45 children a year with room for an additional 80 in the nursery and gan (crèche).
Primary pupils will also benefit from some of the facilities at King Solomon, including a planned music and arts centre. King Solomon students can look forward to a new sixth-form centre.
IJPS chairman Howard Kemp said the launch "marks the beginning of something that has been a dream of 10 years".
Jonathan Goldstein, who is chair of the project, reported that "substantial sums" had been pledged towards the £2 million required from donations. But he urged parents to "do your bit" for the fundraising drive.
IJPS governor Ruth Landsman, whose eight-year-old twins Jacob and Zack attend the school, hoped the redevelopment would "keep people in Redbridge and show them that there is a future for young Jews here. This is something that makes me think that I don't need to move to north London for my children to have a good Jewish education."
Karen Salahi, who went to IJPS in the 80s, now has three children there - Talia, six, Noah, four and Rafi, two. "It is a wonderful school, which is exactly why I chose it for my children," she said. "It needs some investment and reinvigoration. I am so pleased at this opportunity."