Family & Education

Akiva rated outstanding for Jewish studies

Children at the Progressive primary have a deep understanding of the Divine in their lives, said inspectors


The UK’s only designated Progressive Jewish primary school, Akiva, has been rated outstanding for Jewish studies in every category.

Pikuach, the Board of Deputies-run inspection service, said pupils achieved very high standards and made rapid progress, praising strong leadership, passionate teachers and the enthusiasm and respect shown to each other by children.

The Finchley-based school demonstrated “a quiet and purposeful atmosphere of goodness and calm”.

Akiva adopts a cross-curricular approach to Jewish studies, integrating them with the general curriculum. 

For Succot, study of the festival was “expertly interwoven” with the national curriculum: year-two pupils, for example, linked the practice of ushpizin — inviting guests into the succah — with a topic on famous people and examined the prayer for rain in the context of agricultural sustainability.

In early years, an exercise for children to write their own commandments into a scroll demonstrated the use of different skills, such as reading, writing, speaking and using information and communications  technology.

Praising pupils’ spiritual development, Inspectors found “a deep understanding of the role of the Divine in their own and other people’s lives.“

Hebrew reading was generally good. Pikuach was impressed with” the tenacity of those who found certain words challenging”. In some cases, “pupils were able to translate into English, and all pupils confidently navigated both the Chumash and the school’s custom-made siddur.”

The Jewish studies programme was customised to meet individual needs. One pupil summed up Akiva’s ethos by stating that: “Everyone understands the Torah in their own way.”

The school, where 10 per cent of the children were Israeli, promoted a “strong affiliation with Israel”.

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