Ilford Jewish Primary shares site with Hindus

Ilford Jewish Primary to share Barkingside site with school for Hindu children

By Cathy Forman, May 24, 2012

Ilford Jewish Primary staff and pupils will be sharing their Barkingside site with a school for Hindu children.

The Avanti Court Primary is set to open in September. As construction work on the new IJPS building at the nearby King Solomon campus will take at least a year, the primaries will share some facilities.

IJPS head Roz Levin explained that Avanti pupils would start the next academic year in the adjoining former Barkingside Jewish Youth Centre premises.

“We are eagerly awaiting the new site but, in the meantime, we don’t envisage any problems. I have had several meetings with James Biddulph, the headteacher of Avanti, and it is all very amicable.”

The schools will share a gym and there will potentially be “joint assemblies to learn about each other’s faiths”. Another shared activity could be a Mitzvah Day project.

As IJPS has two playgrounds, the schools will have their own play spaces. Avanti will be making its own dining arrangements.

IJPS governors’ chair Howard Kemp felt both parties would benefit from the arrangement. “Community cohesion is very important to us and we intend to carry on the relationship with Avanti when we have moved on to the King Solomon campus.”

Mr Biddulph said it would be “a rich experience” for the 150 four- and five-year-olds enrolling at Avanti. The school would be inclusive with around a quarter of places reserved for local Hindu children.

A Redbridge Council spokesman confirmed that building work on the KS campus would start within the next month. “There has been a plan for Avanti Court to share the IJPS site for the past 18 months.”

When IJPS moves, the KS campus will educate 1,400 children aged from two to 19. The £10 million scheme is seen as a means of regenerating Redbridge Jewish life.

Last updated: 3:09pm, May 24 2012