More than 200 Jewish primary schoolchildren in London moved into their new purpose-built school building this week and learned about how their old furniture was going to Africa to help schoolchildren there.
The opening of the new £3.9 million single-story facility at Noam Primary School in Burnt Oak heralded an end to two decades of making do, with “mismatched furniture cobbled together through haphazard donations” now on its way to Ghana.
Pupils in the central African country will receive hundreds of chairs, desks, cupboards and printers as a gift from their British Jewish peers, as a new fundraising drive began to kit the new building out with modern equipment.
Headteacher Chaya Posen said the building, which has eight classrooms and interactive screens, had been “designed to match our ethos of maximising potential, right down to the innovative walls of cupboards which double as huge whiteboards”.
She added: “We’re so proud of Noam’s achievements and can only imagine what pupils and teachers can now achieve with a state-of-the-art building.”
The new facility, which welcomed pupils for the first time on Wednesday, also includes break-out rooms, a Beis Hamedrash study, new library, school hall, playground and a dedicated early years’ play area.
It was privately funded by parents and donors after two decades of financial struggle and uncertainty housed in Wembley United Synagogue, and pupil numbers are already swelling, in part because the school topped the SAT tables.
As Noam’s business manager Marilyn Gerson organised for the old furniture and equipment to make its way to Africa, Governors’ chair Mike Levene said the move marks “a dream come true”.
He said: “Opening just two weeks after Chanukah is a fitting time for the culmination of a Maccabean-like struggle benefitting generations of Jewish children. We thank everyone who stuck with us.”