Foundation stone laid for special needs school’s new £10m site

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Foundation stone laid for special needs school’s new £10m site

Easing of lockdown meant that a series of small socially distanced ceremonies finally went ahead at the Side by Side site.

Front view of Side by Side's new site
Front view of Side by Side's new site

Supporters of a Jewish special needs school in Stamford Hill have laid a foundation stone for a new £10 million site, marking the beginning of the end of pupils’ 20 years in portacabins.

Side by Side, whose pupils have a wide range of complex needs, held its Even HaPina ceremony on Sunday as rabbis, donors and dignitaries heard of plans for the new building at Avigdor Mews.

The symbolic laying of the new school’s foundation stone had been delayed due to restrictions imposed by the national lockdown, but the easing of lockdown meant that a series of small socially distanced ceremonies finally went ahead.

Building committee chair Rabbi Mochi Margulies paid tribute to the school’s founder Rebecca Rumpler, saying: “This is her plan, and it has guided us to this stage. It is a huge Z’chus that your dream is becoming a reality.”

Side by Side, rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted in 2018, plans to open its new site to pupils from September 2022, increasing its student capacity from 80 to 130, but £5 million still needs to be raised.

“We need the entire kehilla [community] to dig deep,” said Margulies. “Every penny is being spent on construction and every donation really means bricks and each brick is a share in an incredible mitzvah.”

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