School gets better Ofsted marks

By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, December 30, 2008

An Orthodox boys’ school placed on special measures by Ofsted in 2006 as “inadequate” is celebrating an improved inspection report.

Pardes House Primary in Finchley, North-West London is now rated as “satisfactory” by Ofsted, which noted: “The headteacher, the menahel [religious principal] and the governors have a shared will and determination to bring continuing and sustained improvement.”

However, Ofsted cautioned that “there is some way to go before it provides the high quality of education they wish to give the boys”. It also rebuked the school for “not promoting a broad awareness of other and wider communities”.

Governor Shmuli Smus paid tribute to Robert Leach, the school’s first permanent head teacher in over eight years: “He has really put his heart and mind into the school. The leadership in the school is very solid and all the staff are working togetherI’m a lot happier sending my son there now,” Mr Smus said.

Other improvements include a new art and technology centre, built with a £75,000 Barnet Council grant, interactive whiteboards and the establishment of the M@P (Mothers at Pardes) club, which stages social events for pupils.

Pardes House also plans a supervised kosher kitchen and a refurbishment of the school hall.

“For the last two years we have been working on improving the quality of teaching, the behaviour of the pupils and offering a broader curriculum,” Mr Leach explained. “We’re relishing the chance to begin to develop links in other national and even global communities.”

Last updated: 3:06pm, December 30 2008