In a landmark for south London Jewry, the Mosaic Primary School opened on Monday in Wimbledon with a full complement of 30 four- and five-year-olds.
Mosaic head Kate Baum said it was “the realisation of a dream, a dream that will see us contributing to the life and education of children from across south London”.
The school has an ethos of inclusiveness, with half the places offered specifically to Jewish children and half on the basis of proximity. It will operate from temporary premises for up to two years before transferring to a permanent site in nearby Roehampton Lane. As a free school, Mosaic will follow the national curriculum but is able to manage its own budget and integrate a Jewish studies programme.
Governors’ chair Shirley Lee said: “The opportunity that a Jewish school in South London will offer to local families is significant. We enjoy and welcome the ongoing support we have received from across the south London Jewish congregations and many other faith communities.”
Jewish community members Andres and Anne Kupfer have twins, Hannah and Simon, among the first intake.
Mr Kupfer was “thrilled that our twins will attend Mosaic. The opportunity to send our children to a Jewish school and remain in south London is something that we never imagined possible.”
Support for Mosaic was expressed across the Jewish spectrum. South London Chabad’s Rabbi Nissim Dubov saw it as “a significant asset to our community. The school will help to draw in Jews from across the region and offer a real boost to a renaissance in south London Jewish life.”
Kingston Liberal’s Rabbi Charley Baginsky pointed out: “Contrary to popular opinion, many Jews live south of the river, where we have a diverse, active and dynamic community. The opening of a Jewish school is not only much wanted but is another exciting step in sustaining and developing this community. It is a product of incredible collaboration.”
Kingston United chair Dr Martin Wolfson spoke of the potential it offered for rejuvenating south London congregations. “Already, as a consequence of hearing about the school, members of our community have committed to staying in Kingston as they have the opportunity to send their children to Mosaic. South-west London is a wonderful place to live and now you can take advantage of a Jewish education.”