Cri­sis over He­brew teacher short­age

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BYJCREPORTERS

JFS HAS blamed an “in­ter­na­tional cri­sis” in Ivrit teacher num­bers for the con­tin­ued short­age of qual­i­fied He­brew-speak­ing staff at the school.

Ja­nine Mau­rer, head of Mod­ern For­eign Lan­guages at Europe’s largest Jewish school, was asked at an event last week why JFS had failed to re­cruit enough He­brew teach­ers to en­sure all classes had a per­ma­nent teacher dur­ing the cur­rent aca­demic year.

Ms Mau­rer in­sisted the short­age was af­fect­ing ev­ery Jewish school in the coun­try, and said the prob­lem rep­re­sented an “in­ter­na­tional cri­sis”.

JFS par­ents are known to have ex­pressed con­cern over the lack of qual­i­fied Ivrit teach­ers, with some Year 7, 8 and 9 classes go­ing with­out a des­ig­nated teacher since the be­gin­ning of the aca­demic year last Septem­ber. But it is not the only school af­fected. Part­ner­ship for Jewish Schools (PaJeS), which pro­vides sup­port and strat­egy for Jewish schools across the UK, said it recog­nised “there is a short­age of qual­i­fied Ivrit teach­ers in the UK”.

In an email sent to all JFS par­ents by the school last month, Ms Mau­rer ad­dressed “the sit­u­a­tion re­gard­ing Ivrit lessons” and ad­mit­ted “we have not yet been suc­cess­ful in re­cruit­ing fur­ther, de­spite sig­nif­i­cant ef­forts to do so”.

In a state­ment on the cri­sis, JFS said: “We have in­deed had dif­fi­cul­ties re­cruit­ing suit­ably qual­i­fied Ivrit teach­ers.

“We were fully staffed at the be­gin­ning of the year. How­ever, a mem­ber of staff left for per­sonal rea­sons. This has left a gap in our timetable which has been filled on a ro­ta­tion by ex­ist­ing JFS staff.

“We have re­cently ap­pointed a new mem­ber of staff and are con­fi­dent that this will pro­vide sta­bil­ity for the re­main­der of the year.”

The Lon­don School of Jewish Stud­ies of­fers a train­ing scheme aim­ing to boost the num­ber of teach­ers who can lead He­brew lessons but a spokesman ad­mit­ted ap­pli­cants from Israel wish­ing to teach at Jewish schools in Bri­tain were hav­ing prob­lems pass­ing the nec­es­sary English qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

A LSJS spokesman said: “The re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion of spe­cial­ist Ivrit teach­ers are on­go­ing and long-stand­ing is­sues.

“LSJS has re­sponded by of­fer­ing a train­ing route to qual­i­fied teacher sta­tus for Ivrit teach­ers within our School Di­rect pro­gramme, which is run in part­ner­ship with PaJeS and a con­sor­tium of schools.

“The English-lan­guage entr y re­quire­ments for this pro­gramme, set by the Depart­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion, can some­times be a chal­lenge for Is­raeli ap­pli­cants.”

PaJeS said it had im­ple­mented a plan to tar­get the cri­sis.

It is run­ning teacher train­ing cour­ses across schools to de­liver a newly de­vised Ivrit cur­ricu­lum, while tak­ing 11 teach­ers to Israel for an ad­vanced pro­gramme.

On com­plet­ing their train­ing, th­ese teach­ers will come back to Bri­tain to work with both new and cur­rent Ivrit teach­ers.

PaJeS said it was also work­ing with the World Zion­ist Or­gan­i­sa­tion and the Zion­ist Fed­er­a­tion in the Mo­ram Sh­lichim pro­gramme to place qual­i­fied teach­ers from Israel into UK schools.

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