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Leeds school receives grant from Covid relief fund

Educating for Impact was impressed with Brodestky Primary's engagement with families during lockdown

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Brodetsky Primary in Leeds has received a grant from an emergency relief fund set up to help Jewish schools across Europe through the coronavirus crisis.

More than £2 million of aid has been distributed to 13 schools from Athens in Greece to Tallinn in Estonia via the London-based Educating for Impact (EFI)

Brodetsky had already formed a partnership with EFI — the only UK school to do so — which provides educational support from a team of experienced teachers.

But after the pandemic struck, donors banded together to offer financial assistance.

Jason Broch, Brodestky’s chairman of governors, said an initial £5,000 had been used to replace equipment such as nursery toys which were not Covid-secure.

But more significantly, the EFI fund will make available £50,000 of matched funding over the next year. “We are going to have a real funding drive,” Dr Broch said.

With the school’s deficit of £60,000 projected to increase to £200,000, access to the EFI money “makes all the difference,” he said. “It will help with financial sustainability.”

EFI has been impressed with how the school has coped with the challenges of recent months and particularly with its engagement with families, running digital festival-activities such as cheesecake baking for Shavuot.

“During Covid, we kept on all our staff, including our Jewish studies staff,” Dr Broch said. “We made sure that pupils had access to at least two Zoom lessons a day as well to further online resources. We did a lot of activities to help keep a sense of community.”

Like other Jewish schools, it has to reckon with a fall in voluntary contributions from parents. “We did see a drop-off last term,” he said. As for the impact longer-term, “we’re waiting to see what happens.”

EFI’s chairman of trustees, Professor David Latchman, said, “We are inspired by the heroic response and resilience we have seen from the leadership of European Jewish communities.”

Ronald Lauder, president of the Ronald S Lauder Foundation said on behalf of donors, “Now more than ever, it is our responsibility as Jews to support Jewish communities in Europe by investing in their schools, which will guarantee their future. “

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