WHY PRIMARY SCHOOL IS THRIVING IN ITS NEW LOCATION
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.”