Education Secretary Damian Hinds and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis have cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of Yavneh Primary’s £7m building.
The Jewish primary in Borehamwood led by headteacher Caroline Field, which welcomed its first pupils over two years ago, opened the building in February.
Lord Polak, local MP Oliver Dowden and Hertsmere Mayor rabbi Alan Plancey were given a tour of classrooms and attended assembly for speeches and a performance of the school song by pupils.
Executive headteacher Spencer Lewis told pupils and staff that Ofsted assured him inspectors had rated Yavneh Primary as ‘outstanding’ after visiting the school two weeks ago. “The Yavneh Primary School story has been something of a fairy tale,” he said. “It’s been an incredible journey.”
Rabbi Mirvis, who blessed the primary, said he was “immensely proud” of it. “The fact that Yavneh has through the college succeeded so wonderfully in terms of its results is an outstanding reflection of the teaching within the school and of the dedication which is given to Jewish education here,” he said.
Thanking Hinds for his support, rabbi Mirvis added: “The fact that you are here today is such a strong statement of your support and of the support of the Government. We cherish and appreciate it enormously.”
Hinds, who unveiled a plaque commemorating the opening of the new building, said the visit was a “delight” and praised the school’s “inspirational staff who set very very high standards and set a beautiful nurturing environment.”
“Just please know how lucky you are,” he said, addressing pupils, adding: “This is an amazing school and [it has] amazing people. It’s always a huge team effort to produce a school like Yavneh. From the architects to the contractors to parents, staff, governors, the wider community, this is the product of everybody’s coming together.”
He later added: “[Jewish faith] is a very special and important part of British society, and it has never been more important than it is today to say that, to reaffirm it, to mean it and to act.”
Sue Nyman, chair of the Yavneh College Academy Trust, which comprises Yavneh College and Yavneh Primary, added: “I feel great joy each and every time I come into both schools.
“Dena Coleman, our inspirational first headteacher, always had dreamed to open a primary school to establish an outstanding educational provision from reception through to sixth form.”
“It took us a while to get there and the opening of Yavneh Primary School in 2016 to its first pupils was the culmination of that dream that Dena sadly didn’t get to see,” she added.