New Leeds school takes the modern approach

Touch-screen tablet computers for every pupil are an intended feature of the first Jewish secondary school in Leeds, parents of 20 prospective students have been told.

The parents were attending the first open day for the Leeds Jewish Free School, which will be based on the site of the local Brodetsky Primary in government-funded buildings. The turnout was significant because the school’s leadership have 25 places to fill when it opens next September. Sixteen parents have already pledged to send their children to the school.

Brodetsky head, Jeremy Dunford, who will also lead the new school, said parents had a “one-off opportunity” to shape their children’s secondary education, including a working group to select the external education provider that will hire teachers.

“The parents will also be involved in designing buildings, an overseas residential trip in the first year, possibly to Israel or Europe, and the school’s IT development. One thing we are looking at is mobile technology instead of computer rooms to provide tablet computers to every pupil for classwork and homework.

“Some of a starter grant of £300,000 to cover legal fees and project management will reach the school’s new bank account next week.”

Mr Dunford added that a separate building grant had been increased by the Department for Education to secure dedicated science and food technology labs, which had been planned as shared spaces. But there are concerns that the school will not secure a teaching provider or have building plans approval from the DfE before the October 31 application deadline for places.

Interested parent Zoe Cohen said families, “who decide to send their children will have a big part of the decision-making process, like what languages they teach, so potentially it could be very exciting. But it’s all very much up in the air. I will apply, but they are cutting it quite fine not to provide more details.”

Last updated: 12:47pm, September 27 2012