Family & Education

Hasmonean graded outstanding for Jewish studies

School wins top grade for religious education for a second time in succession


Hasmonean High School has retained its rank as outstanding for Jewish studies after the latest visit from Pikuach, the Board of Deputies-run inspection service.

Inspectors were just as impressed with the Orthodox school’s Jewish studies programme as they were five years ago.

A “dynamic and creative vision” for Jewish education offered “memorable experiences and rich opportunities for high-quality learning”.

Provision for children with special needs was praised as it was for gifted students.

Around 30 per cent of the timetable is devoted to Jewish studies, rising to 50 per cent when after-school classes and Sunday lessons are included.

Last year all boys who left school went to yeshivah, while over the last four years, 80 per cent of girls attended a seminary or another religious course in Israel.

“There has been a huge drive with the new Chumash curriculum to improve textual skills and raise the level of students’ learning, including the accelerated track for girls,” Pikuach reported. “Some lessons are delivered entirely in Ivrit to prepare the girls for seminary in Israel.”

Half of the girls do extra learning at lunchtime or after school, while participation in the “Kodesh Extra” sessions for girl has risen by nearly a fifth over the past year to 290 girls a week.

The increase in students in voluntary classes “reflects the inspiring programme developed by the Jewish studies department,” Pikuach said.

Nearly every student made good or better progress in Chumash in the first five years, while 90 per cent of boys did so in Talmud over the first four.

For biblical Hebrew GCSE and A-level, half of entrants achieved A* or A; for religious studies GCSE, at least 85 per cent achieved A* to C in the past three years, while 54 per cent of those who took A-level religious studies last year gained A* or A.

Boys were able to apply the skills they learned through Talmud study more widely, one telling Pikuach, “It helps me with my revision techniques and this has improved my grades”.

The school fostered a respect for other communities. Girls visited an Islamic school, while after the Grenfell Tower fire, boys created a condolence book which was sent to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

Pikuach said that “alumni of the school become outstanding role models for Hasmonean students and younger people in the wider community. For example, in the sixth form Beis programme, alumni return and learn one-to-one with students.”

Andrew McClusky, Hasmonean’s executive headteacher, and chairman of governors Marc Meyer were “incredibly proud” of the findings.“It is now our responsibility in the years ahead to ensure that each and every child continues to be as inspired and fulfilled by their religious education as possible,” they said.  

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