Simon Rocker

Plan to help 'needy' pupils welcomed

By Simon Rocker, November 10, 2016

The government's intention to look at better support for pupils from families who are "just managing" financially has been welcomed by Partnerships for Jewish Schools.

Schools receive extra money only for children eligible for free school meals.

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Inspectors return to JFS

By Simon Rocker, November 10, 2016

Inspectors returned to JFS this week nearly two and a half years after they downgraded it from an outstanding school to one requiring improvement.

The school has been braced for a follow-up visit from Ofsted this term.

Although inspectors in 2014 found the teaching was good and sometimes outstanding, they were concerned about aspects of the school's disciplinary policy, its monitoring of att

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Court ruling raises question of equality

By Simon Rocker, November 10, 2016

This week a High Court judge rejected the claim that separating girls and boys for lessons in a state-aided faith school amounted to discrimination.

But his ruling still seems to leave the door open to a case being brought under the 2010 Equality Act against certain Orthodox schools.

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Lighting the way to digital Jewish studies

By Simon Rocker, November 3, 2016

It is often felt that Jewish studies teachers lack the resources enjoyed by their secular colleagues to enliven lessons. But London-based Jewish Interactive is determined that Kodesh does not lag behind in the digital era.

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Norwood to close 'outstanding' nursery at the end of the year

By Simon Rocker, November 3, 2016

Norwood is to shut its inclusive Hendon nursery for children with, and without, special needs at the end of December because it is only half full.

A spokesman for the charity said that it had been forced to meet over 60 per cent of the costs of the nursery, which is based at the Kennedy-Leigh Centre.

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Oxford seeks professor of Israel studies after Penslar move to Harvard

By Simon Rocker, November 1, 2016

Oxford University is looking for a new professor of Israel studies after the inaugural holder of the post returned to North America.

Professor Derek Penslar, the author of numerous books on Zionism, antisemitism and modern Jewish history, has taken up the William Lee Frost chair in modern Jewish history at Harvard University.

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Edgware and Hendon merger 'an ideal union for the future of the Jewish community'

By Simon Rocker, November 1, 2016

Edgware and District Reform Synagogue (EDRS) last night voted to merge with Hendon Reform Synagogue, following the latter’s approval of the move last month.

Perry Newton, EDRS community director, said his congregation “overwhelmingly” supported the unification of the two communities which have a membership of around 2,600 families between them.

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Book review: The Shofar - its History and Use

By Simon Rocker, October 27, 2016

Jeremy Montagu
Rowman & Littlefield, hardback, £54.95

The shofar is the oldest musical instrument in continuous use, says Oxford musicologist and shofar-collector Jeremy Montagu in his fascinating study of the definitive ritual object of Rosh Hashanah.

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Kantor King Solomon High School: 'No plans' to relocate

By Simon Rocker, October 27, 2016

The leaders of Kantor King Solomon High School in Essex say they have "no plans" to relocate it.

Governors of the state-aided United Synagogue school - the only Jewish secondary in the area - last week announced a "wide-ranging" review into the future of Jewish education in north-east London.

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The options for King Solomon

By Simon Rocker, October 27, 2016

No one can second-guess the outcome of the review of the Kantor King Solomon High School (KKS) in Redbridge, which has just been announced by its governors.

But its result will be closely watched beyond the immediate Essex community since it may have implications for the wider Jewish school system.

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New entry code for Yavneh

By Simon Rocker, October 27, 2016

Yavneh College has published its revised entry rules for September 2017 after being forced to amend them by the Office of Schools Adjudicator.

If the secondary school is oversubscribed, priority will now simply go to children living nearest to the school.

It had wanted to create a catchment area for those in the WD and AL postcodes in Hertfordshire.

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Reform recruits more rabbis

By Simon Rocker, October 21, 2016

Alyth has appointed a final-year rabbinic student at London's Leo Baeck College as the third member of its rabbinic team.

Hannah Kingston - who is due to graduate from the five-year rabbinic training scheme in summer - will join the Reform synagogue in Golders Green next September.

Shul chair Noeleen Cohen said Ms Kingston " will have a specific role building relationships and programming t

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Mayim Bialik bound for Limmud

By Simon Rocker, October 21, 2016

Limmud doesn't go in for headline acts for all presenters are equal in its egalitarian eyes.

But it must be chuffed that one of the guests coming to December's conference this year is Mayim Bialik, star of the E4 comedy The Big Bang Theory.

She will join a cast that includes Rabbi Zev Farber, whose unconventional views on the Torah sparked fierce debate within American Orthodoxy, as well as

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King Solomon High School takes a step closer to leaving Essex

By Simon Rocker, October 21, 2016

The governors of Kantor King Solomon High in Essex are actively considering relocating the school to north London.

The United Synagogue, KKS's foundation body, has already been exploring the possibility of moving the school as a way to solve the shortage of Jewish secondary places in that part of the capital.

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Jewish schools top new GCSE charts

By Simon Rocker, October 21, 2016

Jewish schools are the best-performing group of state schools at GCSE, according to new data released by the Department for Education this month.

Pupils at the 11 state-aided Jewish schools in England that took exams scored an average of 60.2 points under the new Attainment 8 measure released last week - almost 10 points more than the national average.

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New secondary option for pupils in London

By Simon Rocker, October 21, 2016

A comprehensive in Cricklewood, north-west London, is aiming to offer a Jewish studies programme from next September to cater for students unable to gain a place at a Jewish secondary school.

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New secondary school option for Jewish pupils in London next year

By Simon Rocker, October 14, 2016

A comprehensive in Cricklewood, north-west London, is aiming to offer a Jewish studies programme from next September to cater for students unable to gain a place at a Jewish secondary school.

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Jewish schools top GCSE charts

By Simon Rocker, October 13, 2016

Jewish schools are the best-performing group of state schools at GCSE, according to new data released by the government today.

Pupils at the 11 state-aided Jewish schools in England scored an average of 60.2 points under the new Attainment 8 measure released today – almost 10 points more than the national average.

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New course aims to train dayanim to be moderate

By Simon Rocker, October 13, 2016

A new course to train dayanim for diaspora communities is to launch in London next month, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.

Two of British Jewry's best-known Modern Orthodox rabbis, Michael Harris and Naftali Brawer, are among a dozen students from around the world who have signed up for the five-year part-time programme.

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Alma pupils settle into their new home

By Simon Rocker, October 13, 2016

Alma Primary School in north London has moved into its permanent new home - a former police station in Whetstone.

After three years in temporary premises, the cross-communal free school now has a place of its own.

The site was bought and mainly funded by the Department for Education with a further £150,000 raised from trusts and foundations.

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