NO NW MOVE FOR KING SOLOMON

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY SI­MON ROCKER

KAN­TOR KING Solomon High School in Es­sex has re­jected the op­tion of re­lo­cat­ing to north-west Lon­don af­ter a re­view into its fu­ture com­mis­sioned by gov­er­nors.

Fol­low­ing ex­ten­sive UJIA con­sul­ta­tions with the lo­cal com­mu­nity, the re­view con­cluded that the idea of re­lo­cat­ing was “uni­ver­sally re­jected. It would be a dis­as­ter and the fi­nal nail in the cof­fin for the com­mu­nity.”

A move had been con­sid­ered within the United Syn­a­gogue, the school’s de­nom­i­na­tional body, be­cause of de­clin­ing Jewish pop­u­la­tion and a short­age of places in north-west Lon­don Jewish schools.

The re­view iden­ti­fied “re­newed con­fi­dence” in KKS fol­low­ing the ar­rival of Matthew Slater as head­teacher in April 2015. Re­spon­dents felt he had “en­er­gised the school”, which was “mov­ing in the right direc­tion”.

Its mixed-faith in­take was seen as a pos­i­tive by most re­spon­dents, in­clud­ing United Syn­a­gogue rab­bis. They viewed its com­po­si­tion as “more of a re­flec­tion of real life. It en­cour­ages and teaches Jewish stu­dents and non-Jewish stu­dents to be tol­er­ant, re­spect­ful and un­der­stand­ing of one an­other.”

But just over half the Jewish re­spon­dents wanted to see its pro­por­tion of Jewish stu­dents in­creased — the cur­rent fig­ure is 30 per cent of the roll. A “sig­nif­i­cant mi­nor­ity” wanted an en­tirely Jewish in­take.

Ap­pli­ca­tions from Jewish fam­i­lies have in­creased by 15 per cent from last year for en­try this Septem­ber.

Gov­er­nors are also ex­ploring the pos­si­bil­ity of pro­vid­ing trans­port for stu­dents from Jewish com­mu­ni­ties in outer Es­sex. Gov­er­nors’ chair Richard Bu­rack said the re­port’s key find­ing was that the school’s “ever-im­prov­ing aca­demic ex­cel­lence will ul­ti­mately en­able us to at­tract the very best Jewish — and non-Jewish — pupils.

“While I am pleased that over 90 per cent of re­spon­dents say they are very sat­is­fied or sat­is­fied with the gen­eral stan­dards of education, we can drive this fig­ure still higher.”

The re­view was based on a dozen fo­cus groups in­clud­ing par­ents, pupils, lo­cal rab­bis and teach­ers — and 790 re­spon­dents to an on­line sur­vey, more than three-quar­ters of them Jewish.

It would be a dis­as­ter and the fi­nal nail in the cof­fin’

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