Head­teacher: ‘We need your chil­dren’

As Glas­gow num­bers de­cline, Calder­wood head calls on par­ents to ‘make the school vi­able’


THE HEAD­TEACHER of Scot­land’s only Jewish school has said that the school needs to at­tract greater num­bers of Jewish chil­dren to main­tain its Jewish ethos.

Speak­ing to an au­di­ence of al­most 300 peo­ple, Dr Jim Duffy, the act­ing head of Calder­wood Lodge School, said that while the com­mu­nity is likely to have a Jewish school for the fore­see­able fu­ture, the com­mu­nity needed to sup­port the school by send­ing its chil­dren to the New­lands-based pri­mary .

Dr Duffy, who has been act­ing head of Calder­wood since March 2006, was speak­ing this week at the first lec­ture of the re­cently formed Glas­gow Jewish Ed­u­ca­tional Fo­rum. He out­lined his pri­or­i­ties for Calder­wood and said that in the fu­ture the school will have to “in­te­grate the study of other world reli­gions”.

He added: “The ex­cel­lent nurs­ery helps with the con­ti­nu­ity and the school has small class sizes, a good num­ber of staff and tremen­dous parental in­volve­ment.” He also said that the school scored ex­cel­lent re­sults in na­tional tests and was in the top 10 per cent of Scot­land’s pri­mary schools. This, he said, “bodes well for the fu­ture of the school”.

He ex­plained that the main prob­lem the school faces is the de­clin­ing Jewish pop­u­la­tion in Glas­gow and the fact that many Jewish chil­dren in Glas­gow at­tend lo­cal schools.

Dr Duffy urged the par­ents in the au­di­ence at Giffnock and New­lands Syn­a­gogue ban­quet­ing suite: “Send your chil­dren to Calder­wood in or­der for it to re­main vi­able.” He ap­pealed to the au­di­ence: “We need the sup­port of more Jewish fam­i­lies.”

He also told the au­di­ence: “The school is per­fectly vi­able. There is no in­ten­tion to close Calder­wood. East Ren­frew­shire Author­ity is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing Calder­wood.”

Dr Duffy added that he was hope­ful that Calder­wood will find a re­place­ment head teacher as he re­turns to his own school, St Cadoc’s, in Septem­ber.

Ricky Zinger, chair­per­son of Calder­wood Lodge School Board, who at­tended the meet­ing, told the JC: “The school is vi­able. We have the back­ing of East Ren­frew­shire Coun­cil. Should num­bers con­tinue to de­cline we will cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Tony Tankel, one of five mem­bers of the fo­rum, told the JC: “This lec­ture se­ries is deal­ing with crit­i­cal and vi­tal is­sues fac­ing the Glas­gow com­mu­nity and the high at­ten­dance at this meet­ing is in­dica­tive of the im­por­tance of Calder­wood Lodge to this com­mu­nity.”

Calder­wood Lodge has 150 pupils on roll, of whom 88 per cent are Jewish. Ten years ago the school had 215 chil­dren, and 95 per cent were Jewish

The next lec­ture in the se­ries takes place in Fe­bru­ary when Jim Mur­phy MP will speak on “What is the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy to­wards Is­rael and the Peace Process?”

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