Immanuel College makes plea for financial help
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Immanuel College makes plea for financial help

High-achieving Jewish private school says it has had a 'very tough time with Covid' as it appealed for funding help at a hastily-arranged Zoom meeting

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Immanuel College
Immanuel College

An extraordinary meeting for parents and supporters of Immanuel College, the high-achieving Jewish private school, took place on Wednesday night as Professor Anthony Warrens, chairman of the governors, made an impassioned plea for financial support.

Professor Warrens, speaking at a rapidly-arranged Zoom meeting, said that the Covid crisis had affected almost every aspect of Immanuel’s school life.

Speaking to the Jewish News, he said: “The school itself is fine. We have a very successful education system and are getting fantastic results. Our students are getting into the best universities, yeshivot and seminaries.

“Against that, we don’t have much in the way of endowments and we have had a very tough time with Covid, because our top priority must be the safety of our staff and students. We also are working from a very old estate which could really do with renovating and improving”.

Professor Warrens, who is dean for education at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, said that the corona crisis was an unusual opportunity — “a chance for us to invest and move up a gear”.

He said the governors envisaged a three-to-five year plan of improvements to the school. “I was really humbled, when this meeting was announced”, he said, “how many parents made contact and said they would like to help and donated funds straight away”. This meant, he explained, “that we already have enough to start our programme of upgrades” — but not enough to finish.

Immanuel had “a fantastic family atmosphere”, Professor Warrens said, “with very good Jewish engagement and pastoral support for those who need it.” Now, his hope was that the parental response would answer the governors’ plea and provide the school with a solid financial base.

But there are no immediate plans for raising the school fees, he told Jewish News, not least because of the difficulties affecting some parents over pandemic job losses. Current fees range between £3,500 and £6,300 a term.

Also due to speak at the Zoom meeting on Wednesday were Yitzi Bude from CharityExtra, who is running the fundraising campaign, and Rabbi Alex Cowan, who was a student in Immanuel’s first intake in 1990.

In June, Hasmonean High Schools raised £1.5 million in 36 hours in an appeal to make up a Covid-related shortfall.

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