Since its inception, in its effort to alleviate the ongoing chinuch crisis, Chinuch UK has sought to foster better understanding between the Department for Education and the Orthodox Jewish community. Last week’s visit by a leading figure in the Department for Education to Beis Aharon, facilitated by the school with help from Chinuch UK, is a small but significant step towards achieving that.
Dr Peter Swift, Head of Independent Education and Schools at the DfE, recently lifted the intake restrictions from the long standing mossad, following significant investment from the school’s governors. Dr Swift was therefore interested to come down and see first-hand the strides they have since made.
Dr Swift, whose job it is to regulate the independent schools in England, accepted the invitation extended, and visited the establishment. There, he met with the senior leadership, including Mr Aron Hoffman, chair of governors, along with other members of the hanhalah, head teacher Mr Moshe Gottlieb and members of the school’s management, as well as representatives from Chinuch UK – Rabbi Avrohom Mordechai Royde, Rabbi Yonason Yodaiken, who also serves as the school’s advisor and Mrs Chaya Spitz OBE.
It was a very positive visit, with all parties demonstrating a desire to continue working together. Dr Swift was visibly impressed by what he saw, whether it was the brightly coloured wall display of the enticing rewards program for completing mishnayos or the photos of the students visiting the Houses of Parliament. He browsed through pictures showing the boys celebrating a Chanukah mesibah and using their musical talents to enhance the event, and he then watched their enthusiasm live, in the classroom setting, expressed through engaging and hands-on teaching techniques.
In a post-visit letter to the school this week, Dr Swift welcomed the developments the school has made, with particular mention of “how engaged the children are with the work in their lessons, both in the secular curriculum and in their kodesh studies.”
The visit was especially substantial given the fact that the last time senior members of the cheder met with Dr Swift, back in 2015, it was in court. Clearly, his opinions have changed encouragingly.
Continuing the positive impact of visits from leading figures, this week will see Anne Canning, director of Children and Education services at Hackney, visiting mosdos in Manchester.
caption: Dr Peter Swift, Head of Independent Education and Schools at the DfE, visiting Beis Aharon Belzer Cheder last week.