Mathilda Marks-Kennedy is ‘out­stand­ing’

The Jewish Chronicle - - EDUCATION - BY SIMON ROCKER

MATHILDA MARKS Kennedy School has been ranked out­stand­ing for Jewish stud­ies in ev­ery cat­e­gory by Pikuach, the Board of Deputies-run in­spec­tion ser­vice.

Jewish val­ues oc­cu­pied “a very high pro­file” at the state-aided Ortho­dox primary, where chil­dren em­braced with “great en­thu­si­asm” a cur­ricu­lum fo­cus­ing on He­brew read­ing, Chu­mash, fes­ti­vals and gen­eral Jewish knowl­edge.

Rachel Cole­man, the school’s re­cently ap­pointed head of Jewish stud­ies, quickly won the re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion of pupils, staff and par­ents, lead­ing a team of pas­sion­ate teach­ers, in­spec­tors said. The pos­i­tive lan­guage used by teach­ers mo­ti­vated chil­dren to try their best.

The per­cent­age of pupils mak­ing or ex­ceed­ing their ex­pected progress was high.

In­spec­tors were im­pressed with the gen­eral level of He­brew read­ing, with most chil­dren read­ing ac­cu­rately. “Pupils were able to trans­late into English, and all con­fi­dently nav­i­gated both the Chu­mash and the Sid­dur,” the Pikuach re­port stated.

“The knowl­edge they bring back home is phe­nom­e­nal,” one par­ent told Pikuach. “The chil­dren learn re­ally well at school and they are now ed­u­cat­ing the par­ents.”

An­other par­ent com­mented: “The Jewish stud­ies team works hard to give my child a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence to Jewish life, fes­ti­vals, his­tory and prayer. I can­not thank them enough.”

A re­cep­tion-class dis­cus­sion about what ob­jects were ap­pro­pri­ate to put on a Shab­bat ta­ble “sparked an im­pres­sive higher-level of think­ing,” in­spec­tors found.

They praised the use of a pup­pet to help en­gage early-years chil­dren in prayer and later as an aid to dis­cuss the im­por­tance of vis­it­ing the sick.

As an ex­am­ple of cross-cur­ric­u­lar con­nec­tions be­tween the Jewish and sec­u­lar cur­ric­ula, pupils were asked to use Cezanne’s style of paint­ing fruit for their Rosh Hashanah art­work.

The out­reach or­gan­i­sa­tion Seed played a “sig­nif­i­cant role” in en­hanc­ing Jewish learn­ing by or­gan­is­ing fam­ily events for the school.

Mathilda Marks-Kennedy is the fifth Jewish school to achieve an out­stand­ing grade from Pikuach this year. Two other schools were ranked good.

Jewish stud­ies oc­cu­pies a ‘very high pro­file’

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