Religious studies row at Edgware primary

By Jay Grenby, February 12, 2009
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Parents of pupils at Edgware’s Rosh Pinah Primary have been angered by the removal of chumash and Rashi learning from the school’s curriculum following a review of Jewish studies provision.

At least 40 families — representing around 10 per cent of the school’s roll — are said to be deeply concerned at the move. Some are considering withdrawing their children or withholding payment of the voluntary contribution towards Jewish studies.

Edgware Yeshurun congregant Steven Resnick, who has two children at the school, condemned the school’s decision as “absolutely unbelievable. They should not be allowed to get away with it. They seem to have gone non-religious. If they can remove chumash and Rashi from the syllabus, what next?”

Borehamwood mother Rebecca Brummer said that although she did not want to take her children out of Rosh Pinah, “I want them, if they have the ability, to be able to study the advanced texts”.

However, the school’s change of emphasis was defended by Rev Stanley Michaels, who was appointed head of Hebrew and Jewish studies at the start of the academic year. “It is not so much a change that we are making but an improvement,” he insisted. “The aim is to raise the standards of Hebrew reading and fundamental Jewish knowledge among the majority of the children, so that, for instance, they will feel comfortable when they pick up a prayer book or attend a shul service.”

He accepted that a minority of parents were unhappy at the dropping of chumash and Rashi studies and would be happy “to discuss the matter with them, to bring their views before the governors and, hopefully, to come up with an appropriate solution”.

    Last updated: 3:30pm, July 22 2009