Education

School chairman denies crisis claim

By Simon Rocker, June 25, 2009

The chairman of the governors of Simon Marks Jewish Primary School in Stoke Newington, north London, has denied claims of a crisis and of the impending dismissal of three staff. These allegations were made in an anonymous letter purportedly from a parent which was sent to the JC and others this week.

But Simon Marks chairman Peter Kessler insisted: “The school is not in crisis. It is undergoing a process of gradual change for the better.

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JCoSS is non-Orthodox, not ‘cross-communal’

By Rabbi Harvey Belovski, June 25, 2009

The scheduled opening of JCoSS (the Jewish Community Secondary School) next year has generated unprecedented interest. Adorned with the slogan “excellence, choice, openness, inclusion”, its website describes it as “the first cross-communal Jewish secondary school in the UK”. JCoSS takes pride in its admissions policy, which “will treat on an equal basis all pupils recognised as Jewish by any of the UK’s mainstream movements” and its intention to deliver Jewish studies “while being non-judgemental between the various mainstream Jewish traditions”.

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Jewish school entry policies are unlawful, court rules

By Simon Rocker, June 25, 2009

Many Jewish schools in the UK will be forced to tear up their entry rules after the admissions policy of the largest school, JFS, was today ruled racially discriminatory.

In a landmark judgment, the Court of Appeal said that it was illegal for Jewish schools to admit pupils on the basis of whether their mother was Jewish or not.

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Israeli teachers ‘back to basics’ as international rankings fall

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 21, 2009

A new education minister in Israel almost always heralds a complete revolution in pedagogical priorities and teaching methods; until the next change at the top.

Likud’s Gidon Saar is no exception. His predecessor, Professor Yuli Tamir, promoted advanced learning theories. Now, Mr Saar is promising “back to basics” for Israeli schools.

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Cash crisis crippling US schools

By Gary Rosenblatt, May 21, 2009

Jewish day schools, found to be the most effective means of maintaining affiliation among young people in an increasingly assimilated American community, are in serious economic crisis.

Two burning questions are emerging: Can they survive? And who cares?

There are about 200,000 youngsters attending some 700 day schools and yeshivot in the US, about 80 per cent of which offer an Orthodox curriculum.

Ten per cent are Conservative schools, eight per cent are “community”, or non-denominational, and the rest are Reform.

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Coach blasts Tribe over ‘ridiculous’ reasons for sacking

By Leon Symons, May 14, 2009

A table tennis coach sacked by Tribe, the United Synagogue’s youth branch, has complained to education watchdog Ofsted.

Father-of-two Steve Cohen, 52, worked with Tribe for five years until the end of last month, when he was called to a meeting and dismissed after a complaint had been made against him. Subsequently, he was sent a letter in which two further complaints were made.

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JFS entry case is appealed

By Simon Rocker, May 14, 2009

An Appeal Court case opened this week into whether the entry policy of Britain’s largest Orthodox school breaches anti-discrimination laws.

It has been brought on behalf of “M”, a boy who was refused a place by JFS in London for September 2007 because his mother was converted by a non-Orthodox rabbi and therefore considered not Jewish by the school’s religious authority, the Chief Rabbi.

Lawyers for the boy maintain that to decide entry on the basis of whether a child’s mother is Jewish or not is racially discriminatory.

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Manchester rabbi departs

May 7, 2009

Prestwich Hebrew Congregation members have said goodbye to Rabbi Yehoshua Landes after 10 years of service. His departure was agreed last summer and he has begun teaching at the King David High School.

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Class act for Ivrit lessons

By Cathy Forman, May 7, 2009

Clore Tikva Primary in Redbridge this week formally launched a new programme of Ivrit teaching commissioned by Leo Baeck College.

The curriculum has been piloted since September, when Ivrit classes for pupils were reduced from three to two per week because of a fall in parental contributions at the voluntary-aided school. Clore Tikva’s Hebrew co-ordinator Dalia Wittenberg has developed the UJIA-funded programme.

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Swine flu alert teacher sent home

By Jan Shure, May 7, 2009

A primary school teacher was sent home for seven days after she returned to work from a Mexican holiday.

The reception-class teacher left halfway through the first day of term at Simon Marks Jewish Primary in Stamford Hill, north London, after telling colleagues she had been to Mexico.

Peter Kessler, chair of governors, said she came to school unaware of the swine flu outbreak.

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