The search has begun for the true heroes of Jewish primary and secondary school education, as nominations open for the fourth Jewish School Awards early next year.
A joint project between Jewish News and Partnerships for Jewish Schools (PaJeS), the awards ceremony is now among the highest profile communal events, and this year it will be held at the JW3 community centre on 11 February.
New categories for 2019 will recognise excellence in Israel education, initiatives in art and literacy, and chesed (loving kindness), and nominations can be made through the website of either PaJeS or Jewish News.
Acknowledging the importance of a child’s early and later development, next year’s judges will for the first time consider nominees for outstanding practice in the foundation stage in a primary school, as well as excellence in facilitating student responsibility for older children.
Judges received more than 400 nominations last year, which marked the first time non-teaching staff were recognised among the top talent from the country’s 120 Jewish schools.
As with previous years, each 2019 winner will be given £5,000 for a project of their choice that will benefit their school in some way, with runners-up getting £1,000.
“We are delighted to be holding our fourth Jewish Schools Awards,” said PaJeS director Rabbi David Meyer. “This annual occasion is now a well-respected communal event and is an opportunity to recognise the excellent teaching being provided by all those working in Jewish schools across the UK.”
He said the dedication of teaching staff “ensures the education of the next generation of our community,” adding: “We look forward to receiving nominations from the whole community and to showcasing the wonderful accomplishments of the staff in our schools.”
In previous years, excellence has been rewarded in areas such as information and communications technology, school leadership, Modern Hebrew and special educational needs, with other categories honouring the best emerging teachers.
This year’s awards shone a light on support staff and those working on mental health in schools, an increasingly relevant issue given added impetus last month after the publication of a ground-breaking guide from the Chief Rabbi urging teachers to champion the wellbeing of LGBT+ students or those with LGBT+ parents, who are vulnerable to bullying.