WHY PRI­MARY SCHOOL IS THRIV­ING IN ITS NEW LO­CA­TION

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

WITH pal­pa­ble pride, school head Mar­ion Carl­ton gives the tour of the Calder­wood Lodge Jewish Pri­mary premises.

It is now a year since the school re­lo­cated in a pi­o­neer­ing pro­ject, shar­ing its site with the ad­join­ing Catholic pri­mary, St Clare’s.

Pick­ing up the odd stray piece of lit­ter, she es­corts the JC past a suc­ces­sion of mod­ern class­rooms and less likely ed­u­ca­tional ar­eas — “the ar­chi­tects told me, ‘we don’t have cor­ri­dors; we have learn­ing spa­ces’.”

The glass doors of the class­rooms en­hance the open per­spec­tive. Win­dows look out over farm­land af­ford­ing a close-up of na­ture, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the lamb­ing sea­son. A suc­cah stands in the grounds — “it’s lovely to have a per­ma­nent struc­ture”, says the nonJewish head who has over­seen the school’s suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion to New­ton Mearns while main­tain­ing its fine aca­demic record.

Some fa­cil­i­ties are shared with St Clare’s, the staff room and li­brary in­cluded, al­though pupils’ din­ing is sep­a­rated to keep things kosher.

The four-mile move to Glas­gow’s main Jewish area has brought a raft of ben­e­fits, not least boost­ing the school’s ap­peal to Jewish par­ents. Just over half the the cur­rent roll of 164 are Jewish, a grow­ing per­cent­age.

Is­raeli fam­i­lies have set­tled in the area be­cause of Calder­wood, Mrs Carl­ton reports. All pupils take Jewish stud­ies and He­brew and par­tic­i­pate in the school’s Kab­balat Shab­bat ser­vice. Many non-Jewish par­ents at­tend Chanu­cah and Is­rael­re­lated cel­e­bra­tions. Calder­wood also now hosts com­mu­nal events that would pre­vi­ously have been held in a shul or Mac­cabi.

“We have young peo­ple grow­ing up with those of other faiths. The chil­dren ab­so­lutely love the new build­ing. The com­mu­nity is re­as­sured that the Jewish ethos has been en­hanced.”

Good re­la­tions have been fos­tered be­tween Calder­wood and St Clare’s, whose head, Ann Marie Ab­solom, is equally en­thu­si­as­tic about the virtues of the shared cam­pus.

Mrs Carl­ton says that at Rosh Hashanah, St Clare’s pupils make cards for their Calder­wood coun­ter­parts. The Calder­wood chil­dren re­turn the com­pli­ment at Christ­mas.

She re­cently an­nounced, with heavy heart, that she will be leav­ing Calder­wood to be­come an in­spec­tor for HMI, the Scot­tish equiv­a­lent of Of­sted.

“It wasn’t an easy de­ci­sion. I’ll miss Calder­wood very much. It will be a lucky per­son who takes over. We have an amaz­ing co­hort of chil­dren, we have har­nessed part­ner­ships with par­ents and the com­mu­nity and we are so well sup­ported by lo­cal rab­bis and the rep coun­cil.”

BARRY TOBERMAN

Mar­ion Carl­ton

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