Three Jewish primary schools teaching almost 1,000 children across north London are to link up in a new first-of-its-kind Jewish schools academy to combine learning resources and teaching expertise while making “cost efficiencies”.
Moriah Jewish Day School, Sacks Morasha Jewish Primary School and Wolfson Hillel Primary School will together form a Multi Academy Trust (MAT), the trustees of which would be chosen by the Chief Rabbi and other United Synagogue leaders.
Moriah, in Pinner, has more than 220 pupils, while Sacks Morasha in North Finchley has more than 200 pupils. Both were last inspected in 2014 and were graded ‘Good’ by Ofsted. Wolfson Hillel in Southgate, meanwhile, was inspected last year and graded ‘Outstanding.” It teaches almost 470 pupils.
United Synagogue president Michael Goldstein said the MAT was “a huge milestone in our community’s Jewish education,” adding: “This is the birth of an approach to Jewish schooling that will promote a continuing growth of excellence and is something that we, alongside the Chief Rabbi, are proud to be playing a part.”
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said Jewish schools were “the jewels in the community’s crown” and that the tie-up “can only serve to drive up standards yet further by the sharing of best practice, resources and experience”.
He added: “This is an historic opportunity to shape the future of Jewish education with a renewed focus on the centrality of Torah, Jewish values and the State of Israel in our lives, and an uncompromising pursuit of secular academic excellence.”
Writing to parents, the heads of the three schools said they would continue to follow the religious leadership of the Chief Rabbi, who has described it as “modern and centrist Orthodox in outlook… providing an immersive Jewish experience and education for all students, tailored to the specific needs of each of its schools”.
With the proposal to launch later this year, the head-teachers said the new network would be called the Jewish Community Academy Trust and would be facilitated and supported by the United Synagogue.
“The idea behind the network is a simple one,” wrote the headteachers. “By working together, individual schools can be far stronger than by working alone.”
The schools will still be subject to Ofsted and Pikuach inspections, there will be no change to the schools’ admission policies, each school will continue to follow the same religious guidelines as before and the schools will not be changing their relationships with the local rabbis.
Academies are state-funded, non-fee-paying schools independent of local authorities and Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) run more than one academy but are themselves single entities, with one set of trustees. Their member schools operate under a single governance structure.
Goldstein said the tie-up would “bring new strength” to the schools, “whether through sharing successful models of strategic implementation, bringing about cost efficiencies, or providing staff development opportunities”.