Family & Education

Good reports for Akiva and Alma from Ofsted

Stamford Hill independent school also gets thumbs-up from inspectors


A number of Jewish schools have received favourable inspections from Ofsted over the past couple of weeks

Children at Alma, the cross-communal primary in Whetstone, which was rated good in all categories, “arrive with a smile on their face,” inspectors reported.

Leaders “want pupils to become responsible and respectful citizens and to play their part in developing a ‘world built on kindness'. Pupils are taught how to manage their feelings, to collaborate and to look after others.”

Children were given opportunities to debate “philosophical issues” such as whether knowledge was always a good thing, which helped them develop their own ideas. They enjoyed talking about the books they read, Ofsted said.

The Progressive primary Akiva, in Finchley, also remains a good school, said Ofsted, which last paid a visit five years ago.

Pupils responded well to the high expectations set for them, behaving well and listening well in class.

They showed “great kindness and respect to each other and adults” and valued the roles of responsibility they were given.

Among the extra-curricular activities, Ofsted noted the daily gardening club “where pupils take great pride in the flowers and produce they grow”.

Another school that earned approval from inspectors was Talmud Torah London, an independent boys’ school in Stamford Hill,  headed by one of the Charedi community’s most prominent educators, Eli Spitzer. The school, rated good overall, teaches boys from 5 to 13.

“Pupils talked about reading a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books. Leaders have considered carefully how to introduce pupils to classic texts, such as those by Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare and Rudyard Kipling,” Ofsted reported.

They also learned about “people who have faiths that are different from their own. For example, staff organised workshops where pupils got the chance to meet pupils of different faiths. They discussed the similarities and differences between their beliefs.”

The requirements for relationships and sex education have posed problems for many Strictly Orthodox schools. But at TTL leaders have followed statutory guidance and “worked out a way to ensure that what pupils are taught takes into account the school’s religious ethos.”

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