Mathilda Marks-Kennedy is ‘outstanding’
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’