Family & Education

Eden rated outstanding for Jewish studies

Cross-communal free school is praised for its creative vision


Eden Primary, the cross-communal free school opened in Muswell Hill seven years ago, has been ranked outstanding for Jewish studies.

Pikuach, the Board of Deputies-run inspection service, highlighted a “relentless drive for excellence that contributes to pupils working at great depth” and a “unique, dynamic and creative” vision for Jewish education.

Eden caters for pupils from unaffiliated to fully observant Jewish families, while 10 per cent come from other faiths or none.
Jewish studies, which occupy around 15 per cent of the timetable, are integrated into the wider curriculum and taught in parallel with other subjects.

Eden, Pikuach said, “enables pupils of all denominations and other faiths and background to participate with comfort and enjoyment, learn about Judaism and share their own experiences and traditions whilst considering universal values.”

Its “commitment to celebrating diversity within Judaism, and understanding Judaism within the context of the wider world, ensures that Judaism is studied in comparison to other religions, cultures and communities.”

One year-six pupil commented: “I have learnt how enjoyable Jewish learning is at this school and I want to continue to learn about Jewish things when I leave.”

A year-two discussion on tikkun olam (“being custodians of the world”) was “exceptionally deep, using a variety of Jewish sources”.

“Amazing” activities inspired by the school’s artist-in-residence included a “Pesach in the Woods project”, where pupils made a Seder plate from natural materials found in the local woods.

“Outstanding” tefillah (prayer) enabled moments of reflection which made it personal and relevant. One year-two pupil who took part in “tefillah in the woods” remarked, “I feel I can connect more with God in my prayers when I am in the vast quiet area of the forest.”

Hebrew reading had improved since the introduction of the Aleph Champ programme.

Pikuach assesses schools on the basis of their individual Jewish education objectives rather than a common standard across schools.
Eden is the fourth Jewish primary to be awarded outstanding status by Pikuach this year.

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