School move aids Red­bridge re­gen­er­a­tion


RED­BRIDGE JEWRY cel­e­brated the lat­est step to­wards an in­te­grated fu­ture with the of­fi­cial open­ing of the Wohl Il­ford Jewish Pri­mary School (IJPS) build­ing.

Cater­ing for more than 400 pupils be­tween the ages of two and 11, IJPS moved to the King Solomon High site in Bark­ing­side last Septem­ber, fol­low­ing an £11 mil­lion re­de­vel­op­ment.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, MP Mike Freer and Mayor of Red­bridge Coun­cil­lor Ash­ley Kissin spoke of the cul­mi­na­tion of the decade-long project, as did ma­jor con­trib­u­tors, phi­lan­thropist Moshe Kan­tor and the Mau­rice Wohl Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion, rep­re­sented by chair­man Pro­fes­sor David Latch­man.

It is hoped the re­lo­ca­tion will ease the tran­si­tion of pupils be­tween the schools, as well as help­ing to re­gen­er­ate lo­cal Jewish life.

Red­bridge Jewish Ed­u­ca­tion Re­newal Project chair­man Jonathan Gold­stein said: “The area continues to go through a dif­fi­cult time with de­mo­graphic change.

“But the in­fra­struc­ture is here for a vi­brant Jewish school and we now look for­ward to com­ing back here for many years as fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of Bri­tish Jewry en­joy and reap the ben­e­fits of this cam­pus.”

As they en­tered the build­ing, trustees, gov­er­nors and par­ents were en­ter­tained by dance and song from stu­dents. A group of the youngest pupils a n n o u n c e d t o t h e i r a u d i e n c e : “Head­teacher Roz Levin told us that since we are chil­dren, you will for­give us for not be­ing nor­mal — we mean for­mal.”

Mr Freer stressed “the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion to the Jewish com­mu­nity. Re­cently faith schools have been un­der at­tack, but they con­tinue to flour­ish. This school is at the heart of Red­bridge, not just for the Jewish com­mu­nity, but

‘Gen­er­a­tions will reap the ben­e­fits of this cam­pus’

as a wider fa­cil­ity with its doors open to all. I am de­lighted to see Of­sted recog­nise that.”

IJPS par­ent Caron Con­way, 33, said the move had given pupils a “stronger feel­ing of to­geth­er­ness.

“If you lis­tened to what people say, you would think there was no longer a Jewish com­mu­nity in Red­bridge. But you come here and you re­alise that just isn’t true.”

Fel­low par­ent Richard Shone, 43, said: “This sends a clear mes­sage to Red­bridge that Jewish ed­u­ca­tion is here to stay.”

Fur­ther re­ju­ve­na­tion of lo­cal life comes with Jewish Care’s plans to re­de­velop its com­mu­nity cen­tre.

Ex­plained Neil Tay­lor, di­rec­tor of the char­ity’s care and com­mu­nity ser­vices, the in­ten­tion was to es­tab­lish “an in­de­pen­dent liv­ing scheme along­side the re­de­vel­op­ment of the com­mu­nity cen­tre”. This would com­ple­ment the role of the Vi and John Rubens care home and the Den­nis Cen­tre, help­ing those with mem­ory im­pair­ment.

He added: “This sum­mer we will be meet­ing with Red­bridge town plan­ners to dis­cuss our ini­tial plans. Af­ter this meet­ing, hav­ing taken into ac­count the views of the coun­cil plan­ners, we will be able to de­velop more de­tailed plans be­fore mak­ing a full ap­pli­ca­tion.”

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