NO NW MOVE FOR KING SOLOMON
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’