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28 JUNE 2018


• Statementing: The Shocking Truth • Meet JFS’ New Headteacher • Year 6 Says Goodbye • Choosing Tutors

• JCoSS: Managing Mental Health

Edited by Brigit Grant


Jewish News 28 June 2018

Education / SEN support

THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN There is a document that ensures a child with special educational needs receives the help and attention they require at school. So why is it so hard to get? By Caron Kemp


very child has the right to a decent education. On the face of it, a rather indisputable statement. And yet, for the more than 1.2 million young people in this country identified as having special educational needs (SEN), very often this sadly cannot be taken for granted. From autism spectrum disorders to those with speech, language and communication issues, youngsters facing mild to severe learning difficulties or social, emotional and mental health problems, ensuring their needs are met – either in mainstream schools or special needs settings – can be fraught with complications. In 2014, there was an overhaul of the UK’s SEN code of practice, during which the education, health and care plan (EHCP) was introduced; a legally-binding document drawn up by the local authority that enshrines a child’s right to provision for their education, health and social care needs. And yet this relatively new regime is widely criticised for being long and complicated, with many only granted after an appeal process. “A parent may seek out an EHCP for their child if they feel they need a high level of intervention and support to learn and develop, which the school is unable to provide from within its own resources,” explains independent educational psychologist Hannah Morris. “This new system was intended to make the process simpler, but what seems to have happened is the opposite. And while decisions are made by qualified professionals, each council has its own systems in place as well as individual levels of funding available, making it harder to get the EHCP in some areas.” While not all children with SEN will need or be eligible for the greater level of support an EHCP provides, without it they’re forced not only to rely on a school’s interpretation of a nonbinding set of government recommendations, but in a school’s ability and willingness to pour its own limited resources – and sometimes ill-equipped and unskilled teaching staff – into helping them.

A parent may seek out an EHCP for their child if they feel they need a high level of intervention and support to learn and develop, which the school is unable to provide from within its own resources.

No wonder then, that parents are prepared to spend thousands of pounds and years of their lives fighting for what is often seen as the SEN golden ticket. One family – who asked not to be identified – have shelled out around £60,000 over a four-year period on private assessment reports and lawyers, to secure an EHCP for their pre-teen son with dyslexia and ADHD. Drained not only of money but of time, his mother was forced to give up her job in order to manage the arduous process. “Before we embarked on this journey, we knew nothing about it, and wrongly assumed our healthcare and education systems could cope and had solid processes in place, in the same way as if you had an illness like diabetes,” she says. “Instead, I have been left totally shocked and demoralised by the huge lack of funding and resources available.” Despite their application initially being rejected, the family fought back at considerable personal financial outlay, believing unequivocally that without an EHCP, mainstream secondary school would prove an impossible setting for their son. “While I realise local authorities are strapped for cash, what are families without the financial means supposed to do?” she questions. “There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that without the money, tenacity and intelligence to fight this system, we’d still be without one now.” Now settled into the mainstream Jewish schooling system, the support imposed by the EHCP means their son is happy, well cared for, calm, and able to learn; things on which his parents were never previously able to count. “Having a child with special educational needs affects every facet of your life,” admits his mother. “This isn’t what I envisaged parenting to be, but we’ve fought through, whatever sacrifices it’s taken. “Every day is still a challenge; that doesn’t

end with the EHCP, but with it and with the immense support of our family and each other, we are continuing to make life changes to make things ok.” It’s a story with which chartered educational and child psychologist Dr Michael Hymans – who spent 21 years as a local authority SEN panellist – is only too familiar. “Seeking an EHCP, or appealing against the contents of that plan, including the named provision, is not only financially draining but also emotionally exhausting,” he says. “In one case, a mother requested social services take her daughter into care, as the tribunal hearing refused a residential placement for a teenager with profound and multiple learning difficulties, including autism and epilepsy.” So, are authorities getting it wrong? Latest figures show that in 2016, almost 15,000 EHCP requests were refused nationally; a 35 percent increase on the previous year. In Hertfordshire alone, since 2014, an average of 30 percent of applications have been refused. “My understanding is that the balance of tribunal decisions has moved in favour of local authorities rather than parents,” states Hymans. “Largely determined by finance and availability of provision in each authority, it boils down to how much they get from the government and how efficiently they use what they have.” While resources are available to parents unable to pay privately for assessment reports and legal support, an independent does practitioner has more time to provide a full assessment for each child they work with – although it carries a price tag of up to £2,000 a go.

Gesher – a much-needed resource “The way children are seen as a number in this process is totally heartbreaking,” affirms Gianna Colizza, headteacher of newly-opened Jewish independent special needs school Gesher. “While I accept there are extreme financial pressures at play, these are our children’s futures we’re playing with, and I genuinely feel that if we prioritise their needs early enough, we could combat some of the bigger problems we see in society at large. Plus it doesn’t cost anything to be empathetic.” The first cohort of children to join the north London establishment in September 2017 came with a wide range of needs, which are met within a highly specialised, person-centred environment by a multi-professional team. “They are the forgotten children. The ones who are often overlooked, often deemed to be able to manage, often don’t even ask for help. But we owe them far more than that,” she says. “Children get one chance at childhood and

LIAM’S A LOVELY BOY, BUT W The battle for statementing all makes pretty grim reading for parents dipping their toes into this minefield; like the Corcorans from Borehamwood. Liam, aged three, was diagnosed with global developmental delay after parents Dina and David noticed he was failing to reach his milestones as an infant. Caused by microcephaly, where the head circumference is smaller than normal, Liam’s condition has set the family of five on an emotional rollercoaster. “My husband has an amazing bond with Liam and gets very upset at the medical appointments,” explains Dina, a speech and language therapist at JCoSS. “We don’t know what the future will hold for him, but at the moment it’s like having a oneyear-old in his toddler body.” Keen to secure Liam the best education possible, and aware that he is unlikely to attend Shenley’s Clore Shalom School with his

28 June 2018 Jewish News


SEN support / Education

sometimes, with SEN, the status quo fails them. At Gesher, our aim is to help each child to reach their full potential. That may be eventual reintegration into mainstream schooling, but either way, the younger we can positively assist them, the brighter their future will be.” However, such specialised support comes at a cost, setting families back a hefty £31,500 per annum. No wonder that 95 percent of pupils are funded by the coveted EHCP. “You simply cannot compare mainstream support to what we offer,” she continues. “We have up to eight children per class and every member of staff is well trained in their field. Our pupils have access to people and equipment that you cannot offer in a mainstream environment. We are not-for-profit but naturally that comes at a price.” So what does the future hold for children with SEN? “I do not believe it is possible to effectively meet the needs of all SEN children within the current bureaucratic system and limited funds,”

WHAT WILL HIS FUTURE BE? siblings, the Corcorans have recently begun the process of attaining an EHCP to help fund him through a special school setting. “Liam is a charming, smiley three-year-old, but he will get lost in the system if he does not have his education and health needs in a legally binding document,” Dina explains. “Already it seems a very long and cumbersome process and a challenge to find time to complete the forms while both working and feeling quite out on a limb doing this on our own. It’s quite stressful and isolating, and I just wish I could wave a magic wand and have it all sorted.” It’s unlikely though, with a system based on complex laws and grey areas, to be plain sailing. And even if an EHCP is granted, if the money is not there to execute the recommendations outlined, it’s the child that suffers with patchy, inconsistent provision, leaving their needs still unmet.

Gesher provides a specialist learning environment for children with special educational needs


concludes Morris. “Future legislation must be developed in close consultation with experts and we need to build on success stories to ensure there is SEN knowledge, understanding and high quality differentiated teaching in every school. “I would also like to see more additionally resourced provisions within mainstream schools that can work flexibly in supporting SEN pupils depending on their individual needs. “Most of all, I hope children with SEN are able to experience enjoyment and success in their education, where their dreams are nurtured and they are supported to explore and develop their strengths. I hope their education enables them to lead happy, fulfilling lives, participating in society in a way that is meaningful to them.” Nevertheless, the Department for Education stands by the biggest SEN reform in a generation. “The high needs budget for pupils with SEN is £6 billion this year – the highest on record – and core school funding will rise to a record £43.5 billion by 2020 – the highest ever – and a 50 percent real terms per pupil increase from 2000,” explained a spokesman. “But we are not complacent, and recognise there is more to do to make sure all children and young people have the right support to succeed, and that families get help to navigate the new SEN system. “We are working to support families and resolve disagreements earlier. We supported the College of Mediators and the Civil Mediation Council to launch SEND [special educational needs and disability] mediation standards and a voluntary system of accreditation to ensure good quality SEND mediation that families can trust.”

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Jewish News 28 June 2018

Education / Rachel Fink

HEAD STARTER Brigit Grant talks to Rachel Fink about taking the top job at JFS


here is a photo of Rachel Fink on a shelf in her new office at JFS that greatly amuses pupils and staff. In it, a smiling Rachel, aged 11, is wearing neatlypressed JFS uniform ahead of her first day at the school in 1980. “It was a gift from my sisters,” says Rachel. “I showed it to everyone here and they laughed when I said I didn’t know what was more socially unacceptable – the long white socks I’m wearing or the terrible haircut. I can blame my mother for both.” Rachel laughs easily and to be able to do so when starting the daunting job of running the biggest Jewish school in Europe is a testament to her suitability. That she chose to start now, when some of her students are still caught up

in exam hell and others are demob-happy was intentional. “I told staff I wanted the opportunity to look, listen and learn,” she says. “To make a judgement without really understanding the nuts and bolts would be a challenge.” When Rachel was head of Hasmonean Girls’ School, a role she held for seven years, she spoke to me about the challenges of shaping a 21st century citizen. While addressing subjects from mental health and well-being to the perils of social media, she stressed her main objective as an educator was to teach pupils to problem solve alone and not compare themselves with others in terms of success. “I asked students that if we were all meant to be the same, why are there so many of us?” she

said then, and it is this belief she brings to JFS. That her intention has always been to help every student become a whole person, regardless of ability, will be reassuring to the parents of children about to make the transition from primary to secondary in September. “It is a difficult time,” Rachel admits. “Some children sail in and adapt easily. But a fair few struggle with the environment and lots of new teachers, while others have difficulties socially and find it all overwhelming. “They are also going through adolescence, with all the hormonal changes that brings, and sometimes your child will seem really grown up in one area and not in another. Kids also put pressure on themselves. My advice to parents is to know when to ask for help.” Rachel continues: “It is not wrong to admit you are struggling – but if you genuinely feel you have an issue, make sure you are telling the right people. You can choose between telling the school or the rest of the world. And if you choose the latter, do you really want the problem solved?“ Doing her job while parenting four children allows Rachel to speak from experience and understand Jewish parents want the best for their own. “But we express that desire in different ways and even if we don’t agree on everything, it should be a cordial discussion. “It is also important to remember that children join the school as children but leave as adults. We must prepare them for the outside world, and that means developing the resilience to manage their own issues. Harsh but wise

parents let children solve their own problems, so they become independent. That’s the challenge.” As the public face of a school four times bigger than Hasmonean, Rachel will have the community spotlight on her at all times, and there were raised eyebrows at the appointment of a head, who covers her head. But to draw conclusions from her scarves would be a mistake as, on the day we meet, she is wearing a badge acknowledging JFS support for the LGBTQ community. “The sixth form gave it to me this morning,” she says. “But I could have worn it at Hasmonean too, which would surprise people.” Mindfulness, social media and gender issues are all up for discussion by Rachel, who is a graduate of Cambridge University’s Coexist interfaith programme and also belongs to a Partnerships for Jewish Schools’ working party on mental health. Particularly impressive was her work with the Open Door Project at JW3, which introduced Hasmonean girls to Muslim pupils at the Islamia School in Kilburn, and she hopes to initiate similar programmes with JFS and other schools. It’s arguable that as the first head girl to be appointed by former headteacher Jo Wagerman, Rachel has the advantage when it comes to understanding JFS but, interestingly, her vision for the school is not based on where it stands on the league tables, important though that is. “I did terribly in my A levels – really badly, and that was no reflection on JFS,” she reveals. “For a long time, we thought there was only one path to success, but pupils must realise their potential to succeed and that may lie in a completely different area from someone else. “Do we want our children to succeed so we can say ‘my child the doctor’ or ‘my child the lawyer’ and think of them as trophies? “Or do we want them to lead happy, successful lives and be proud because they are moral and upstanding? Let’s not forget the world needs all sorts of people.“ Schools, however, just need a headteacher like Rachel Fink.

28 June 2018 Jewish News

September 2018 sees Kantor King Solomon High School celebrating 25yrs of educating, inspiring and supporting students aged 11-18yrs old. We are proud of our journey and how far we have come. The only Jewish Secondary School serving the Essex community and we look forward to many more continued successful years. OPEN EVENING/MORNINGS Please join us at one of our Open evening/mornings Thursday 13th September @ 5pm Thursday 4th October @ 9am Wednesday 10th October @ 9am To confirm your attendance email: or call 020 8498 1300. Following an Ofsted inspection in 2016 our School were rated Good. Ofsted said ‘Teachers draw from strong knowledge to engage and inspire pupils’ ‘The calm and orderly manner with which pupils move between lessons and conduct themselves in social times reflects leaders’ high expectations’ ‘Leaders place pupils’ welfare before anything else’ ‘Highly aspirational for pupils’ performance and personal development’ Our last Pikuach (Jewish Studies inspection) stated: ‘Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding because diversity and difference are valued and celebrated and the school is very successful in meeting its aims’. ‘Teaching overall is good and relationships are excellent. Teachers have high expectations and plan and teach lessons that deepen students’ knowledge and understanding’.

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Jewish News 28 June 2018

Education / Exam stress

TESTING TIMES The UK’s obsession with exams now includes rigorously testing primary school children. Journalist, presenter and mother Rebecca Wilcox explains why she believes this is harmful to their education


he other day, I found myself doing something I never expected to do. I was searching for ways to counsel my son during exam stress. My son, I should point out, is five years old (although he’d want me to state that he is five and ¾). He is just a little boy, yet he is already under the cosh in our education system and

stressed. He has already been examined and tested, interviewed and assessed multiple times in his two short years of primary school and it will only get worse from here with the SATS, then GCSEs and A-levels. The school he attends is apologetic, their hands are tied they say, they too wish the onus was on play, on creating, on music and art and

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PE. These are building blocks for imagination and creation, the things that stretch their minds and enrich their hearts and bodies. Not so, says the government. Instead they want rigorous testing, and they want it to begin from the day a child walks in to the classroom. Why? Because they believe it is the best way to hit their target of 100 percent literacy. And how will they achieve this wonderful feat? Will they look to the much-admired Scandinavian systems, where schooling doesn’t start till seven years of age, homework is banned and testing is forbidden till 16? No. Of course not. Instead they looked at the Victorians, those beacons of innovation – in regards to sewer systems at least. They were not famed for their schools, where children were regularly caned, made to wear dunce’s caps and write out hundreds of lines. The government also observed the Chinese system, again not known for their caring schooling, where nearly 2,500 students committed suicide in 2009, many in the run up to the exam periods. Are these models we really want to emulate? Do we not want to give students the one thing teachers have asked for? When teachers were asked to suggest a single change to the education system they did not say ‘more testing please’; instead, they recommended the provision of ‘free space’. Time away from the stress of exams where students can do what they really want and explore things that truly interest them. It’s not a hard thing to give, it’s not expensive and won’t eat up the little money left to schools in the latest budget. But it will give our children the broader education they need for life. I am not alone in thinking this way; a coalition called More Than a Score has been formed by independent education experts. They aim to fight the early testing of our children and show that one size does not fit all. Elaine Bennett from Keeping Early Years Unique agrees with them. She said: “Baseline testing is a pointless and expensive exercise (costing the taxpayer at least £10million annually), which threatens children’s mental health at a crucial time in their development. It is irresponsible and unethical to put children in this position.” It would appear that the current system is

in place simply to test the schools’ performance with no regard to harming the child. I’m sure we all want to see every school listed as outstanding and all schools capable of achieving the results on a par with their expensive private counterparts, but this rigorous, extensive and early testing is not the right method. Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, confirms this, saying: “Baseline assessment has everything to do with finding new ways of holding schools accountable and nothing to do with supporting the learning of children.” She goes on to say: “SATs, whether at Year 2 or Year 6, are damaging to primary education. The government relentlessly tests children from the age of six, and they are told they are failures if they do not meet required standards. This can impact on their self-esteem, which can carry on throughout their schooling and determine the direction of their adult lives.” Teachers and heads are also increasingly concerned about the effect of SATs on pupils, with 83 percent saying that SATs in Year 6 have a detrimental effect on pupils’ mental health, and 54 percent saying SATs in Year 2 mean pupils’ mental health suffers. A reception teacher from Oldham said: “This is a very stressful time of year for children in Years 2 and 6 - some are reduced to tears by the SATs tests. This is not helping children to love to learn.” Being Jewish, I, of course, believe my son is brilliant and a genius, but this system, which stymies his imagination and heightens his stress, is never going to recognise that. Time and again, exams have been proven to be the worst way of assessing a child’s education ability. We are a nation of poets and innovators, writers and communicators, entrepreneurs and adventurers, but we need the space to become these things. If we don’t broaden the education system to allow for imagination and time away from testing, exams and rote learning, then we will become robots. Our greatest resource in this country is our people, our thinkers and our doers. We need to cultivate and cherish this, not run it through a processing plant where every product comes out the same. What a loss that would be.

28 June 2018 Jewish News


Bar and batmizvah twinning / Education


Nine children from Muswell Hill guide us through their eye-opening trip to Kiev with the ORT UK Bar/Bat Mitzvah Twinning Programme. As told to Debbie Lightman Maisy: After Shabbat, all the families went for dinner together at Mendi’s kosher restaurant and made loads of friendship bracelets. It was a really fun evening, but also sad as it’s the last time we’ll see our twins.

impressive and the work they’re doing on robotics was really cool. Edith: The children were very advanced. We made robots with partners from Ukraine who I really bonded with. It was a fun experience.


From left to right, at the airport, are: Oli Brahams, Ruby Bloom, Annie Swimer, Maisy Morris, Edith Shammai, Cosmo Citron, Saul Freeman, Ethan Colton

‘MY KIEV TWIN AND I LIVE VERY DIFFERENT LIVES,’ writes Annie Swimer, 12, in her travel diary. “For my batmitzvah, I celebrated in shul and had a party. For my twin’s batmitzvah, she went to the cinema with 10 friends! I was a bit surprised.” There were plenty more revelations to come for Annie and her fellow members of the ORT UK Bar/Bat Mitzvah Twinning Programme, when they spent a long weekend visiting the Jewish community in Kiev. The first shock being that despite living 1,500 miles outside of north-west London, it’s still possible to live an active Jewish life. Much of this, the children learned, is thanks to World ORT –the world’s largest Jewish education and vocational training charity. The non-governmental organisation, which operates in 37 countries, specialises in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and provides much-longed for Jewish education in their network of 16 schools throughout the former Soviet Union – two of which are in Kiev. It was ‘twinned’ students from these two schools – The ORT Educational Complex #141 and The Jewish State Educational Complex ‘Simha’ - that the UK children had come to meet. Together with World ORT’s Shoshana Kandel, ORT UK’s Frankie Stubbs and Muswell Hill Synagogue’s Rabbi David Mason, the children and their families bonded with their twins, explored Kiev’s turbulent Jewish history and strengthened their connection to Judaism.


Annie: Here we are in the airport. I can’t wait to land in Kiev and meet girls just like me living in a different place and compare our lives, although I’m a bit worried I may freeze! Cosmo: This is the Motherland Memorial outside the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War. In the museum, they displayed pictures representing

Maisy: The Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Park was really sad. We did our own memorial service, where we lit candles in memory of children our age who had died. Annie: I really enjoyed meeting my twin, Nastya, at the Jewish State Educational Complex Simha School. We baked challah together and we’re going to eat it for Shabbat! Saul: I liked seeing the school where our twins go every day. My twin, Illia, is really nice and we have a lot in common. The boys all made tzitzit together.

people who died and empty frames for the people killed who we didn’t know. It was moving seeing how few people survived. Saul: There were lots of real artefacts, which were very interesting. I learnt a lot about propaganda and we had some great discussions.

Annie: The service was really meaningful and I felt I learnt a lot. It’s awful how many people died and I felt it was important to honour them.


Ethan: We spent Shabbat at the Brodsky Synagogue. Havdallah was my favourite part as I loved all the singing.

Edith: We toured the Podol Synagogue – the oldest in Kiev. After learning about our past in the Second World War Museum, it made me happy and proud to know the Jewish people are carrying on. It makes me realise how resilient we are.


Saul: This is the ORT Educational Complex #141 – I thought the building was really

Annie: After shul, we did fun activities with our twins – we had eight minutes to get to know each other and then competed boys against girls to see who knew the most. Girls won!

What makes the ORT UK Bar/Bat Mitzvah Twinning Programme Unique?

• World ORT’s network of schools across

the former Soviet Union benefit more than 10,000 students. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Twinning Programme connects and strengthens the ties between our UK children and the wider Jewish community. • In addition to the trip, the UK children meet monthly to explore their Jewish heritage and identity through fun, interactive sessions and take part in a social action and fundraising project. •The trip provides an opportunity to delve into the past, tour historical landmarks and take part in a Holocaust memorial, as well as experiencing Shabbat. • For more information on the ORT UK Bar/ Bat Mitzvah Twinning Programme contact Anthea Jackson on or call 020 7446 8525.


Jewish News 28 June 2018

Education / Etz Chaim farewell

THE FIRST FAREWELL In 2011 the Government’s free school intiative saw two new Jewish schools open in Barnet and Haringey. As they prepare to say goodbye to their first Year Six class, the headteachers and pupils reflect on their journey

YVONNE BARON IS HEADTEACHER AT ETZ CHAIM IN MILL HILL It has been a real privilege to be the headteacher of a new school and with our first cohort graduating, it is truly wonderful to see how our vision became a reality.Our journey began as one of the government’s flagship free schools and as the guinea pigs we had a lot to prove. We started with 48 children in temporary accommodation which was barely fit for purpose. Our funding agreement had been signed days before our children started and as a result much of our furniture and IT equipment, arrived after our first day. Despite this, we were passionate about Etz Chaim and determined to make it a success; schools are about good teaching and learning, not buildings so we were not going to let this deter us. Looking back now and reflecting on those first few weeks and months, I am immensely proud of our journey and what the school has achieved. We took risks, we had a go, we were determined and did not give up

at the first signs of difficulty. These are all key messages we try to instil in the children to prepare them for their future and as the first cohort leaves us, I couldn’t be prouder of each and every one of them. Of what they have achieved and who they have become. They have exceeded our expectations and are ready for their next steps of learning. They have been a superb group, showing determination, support for each other and acting as role models to their younger peers. They were literally at the centre of every decision we made, from the colour of the lunch trays to the height of the furniture. Everything from the annual talent show to the Tzedakah Tzevet were their ideas and Etz Chaim has flourished. We now have eight classes, 41 staff, 126 families and 211 children. As we move forward in our Etz Chaim journey, we reflect on the input and impact our first cohort has had. Class of 2018 - Please don’t forget us – we certainly won’t forget you!


We are going to talk about the year we had lots of fun It was known as the golden medal number one. We learnt about Israel number bonds and plants And we had a teacher that was from France, sorry... Spain, I mean Australia! We played weddings a lot - but they were all a failure! Our Chaggigat Hasiddur was really cool. When we said tefillah, it became a vital tool. We walked to a hall for PE. As we know fitness is key. So that was the year we had lots of fun. It it was called the gold medal number one! by Noa Lefton Amy Sherrick and Madison G G.

by Hollie Michaelson

28 June 2018 Jewish News


Etz Chaim farewell/ Education ETZ CHAIM REFLECTIONS BY MADISON GRANT-GOLD Being a student at Etz Chaim for seven years means I have learnt a lot. I’ve grown up with both the teachers and other pupils by my side, with a few changes along the way. As well as learning the primary curriculum and Jewish studies, I have also learnt a few lessons for life. Me and my fellow classmates are going to tell you a few of them. “Wearing a kippah is as important as wearing trousers, so if you’re not wearing a kippah, it’s like wearing no trousers!” said Max Teacher. “Try for yourself. You can’t rely on other people you only get one shot,” says Mya Bitan. “You’ll never know unless you try,” student Ruby Ambrose said. “You have to try in order to succeed.” “Treasure your time at primary school – you only get it once,” advised Rocco Lewis, age 11.

“Be grateful to the older generation and respect them,” said Louis Peters, who learnt this from all the class visits to Clore Manor. “I have learnt to be a leader,” added Elisa Galan, and Sophie Yardley said: “I learnt what it means to be a Jew.” “And I learnt that anything is possible,” said Hollie Michaelson. “Don’t crack eggs on chairs!” is a lesson Mia Greenfield learnt when fellow pupil Zac Levene cracked an egg on a chair in Year 4. “Smiling is the most contagious illness,” stated Noa Lefton, 11. I also asked my classmates what they will remember in five years. “The lunches we had some days,” said Noa. “Kingswood!” exclaimed Amy Sherrick. To explain: Kingswood is the residential trip my Year 5 class went on back in November 2017.

“Great friendships,”replied Mia Fraser, 10, enthusiastically. Then I asked some of the teachers, both present and past for some of their memories. “ Choreographing dances in the playground for you, it was loads of fun! When you joined the school your parents helped to make us a community,” remembered Mrs Levy who taught us when we were very small in Reception. “Playing the donkey game with Miss Feiner,” said Miss Coren. “I love your class!” exclaimed Mrs Fraser. “Moments on the Shabbaton watching you guys bonding and looking out for each other,” remembered headteacher Mrs Baron. Mrs Levy who taught us in Years 4 and 5 had lots of memories, but her favourites were: “The excitement I felt setting up the first Year 4 and 5 classrooms – something most teachers

will never experience. Going on a fabulous trip to London following in Mary Poppins footsteps, visiting Jewish News, those amazing deep conversations with my lovely class, which made me feel especially close to them all, and completing the Holocaust studies, which was difficult to teach but interesting to learn.” Rabbi Herman recounted the Moat Mount trip when the class “made me do all the activities!” “Watching you all supporting each other at Kingswood,” remembered Mrs Osborne, as Miss Shentob shouted: “Shabbat UK was amazing!” Now you know what my classmates and I learnt in our years at Etz Chaim and as our time here is coming to an end, the memories will stay forever. We will miss everyone. Goodbye Etz Chaim.

YEAR 3 We had three teachers who were so fun Miss Coren, Mrs Ovits and Mrs Hutchinson We started circle meetings when we were in Year three and one of our outings was to the observatory. We had a flood so we moved to year six. It took ages for a classroom to be fixed. In our Chaggigah we went back in time, We had songs to learn and lots of lines. We made a Time Capsule to future us, when we went to Clore Manor we rode on a bus. Every we we made a parisha play, everyone had something to say.

by Mia Greenfi eld

One of our topics was the Amazon River, we learnt that snakes can slither. Year 3 was the best time ever, we will always be together. By Mia Fraser and Mya Bitan

by Eli Laifer

YEAR 4 This fantastic year started off with a job to remember. We had green bags and we put things in that described us. This way Mrs Levy and our new teacher would get to know and each and everyone of us. Later in the year one of our topics was the History of Fashion. We took up the challenge to recycle old clothes and make them in to new products. It was really fun. Mia said when we look back on that year it was an amazing thing to do. We learnt about the 60s, 70s and 80s fashion and the different styles. We also learnt dances that were popular in those years. I think everybody loved that experience.. By Isabelle Schofield

by Elisa Galan, Ruby Ambrose, Rachel Zinkin and Sophie Yardley


Jewish News 28 June 2018

Education / Farewell Eden

...THE FIRST FAREWELL CONTINUED JO SASSIENIE IS HEADTEACHER AT EDEN PRIMARY “EDEN OPENED IN 2011 In temporary accommodation adjacent to the site on which our school was then built. Unbelievably, time has flown by and in a few weeks our first cohort of Year 6 children will move on to secondary school. Their amazing parents made a brave commitment to a school that had a strong and inspiring vision, but no headteacher, no staff, no building, no results or proven track record of anything at all. It was a huge leap of faith! In their first year, these 30 children, alone in our school, watched as the building grew next door and they visited each week complete with high vis vests and hard hats... looking down into the foundations, watching the skeleton walls appear and discussing the colours and furniture we chose for the interior. In September 2012, we all moved into a beautiful new space. Very soon, these pioneer children will leave Eden for the next stage in their education at many different secondary schools. It will be a very significant milestone for them and for our school. Our first children, our first leavers, our first graduates! Their absence will be felt by all and they will be missed by the whole community. However their presence and strength will be felt every day and will remain in our school for ever more. As the very first pupils they played a very important role, alongside our growing staff, in building, creating and leading our school. As we envisioned each new year and each new project, the children inspired us to create the best possible school and educational learning experiences, every year and every day for the past seven years. They built a wonderful community of friends and families and played a hugely significant and responsible role as leaders in the building and development of Eden Primary. Their passions, brilliance and struggles motivated me, as headteacher, and the whole staff to dedicate ourselves to hard work, to thoughtful process and to always doing our very best. It has been a joy and a privilege to lead the exciting challenge of building a new school and to watch the children grow in parallel with our school. One child wrote for me this week: ‘I came

to Eden with infinite curiosity and many questions that I asked that led to more questions. I thought there was too much to know. I’m now taking away with me a Jewish education richer than our chef’s cakes, with more detail than a tree’s bark. I feel that Eden has expanded my curiosity and accepted my questions. It has refined my skills in Sport and Creativity. I’m leaving behind irreplaceable adults, who have helped me along the way.’ Our dream as Eden staff is that our first graduates and all who follow, will grow to be thoughtful, respectful and compassionate engaged with learning throughout their lives; busy with meaningful Jewish life, deeply committed to their chosen paths and sensitive to all those around them however difficult. As the name of our classes suggest our children and our school have grown from tiny seeds (Garinim) to blossoming fruit trees (Ilanot). I am proud of our flourishing school and our graduating class.”

28 June 2018 Jewish News


Farewell Eden/ Education

by Zoe Leigh

by Ruby Broido

by Miriam Freeman by Hannah

by Abi Leigh


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Rated as an ‘Outstanding’ setting by Ofsted for the 2nd time, we offer a safe, secure and stimulating setting in which pre-school children are free to develop to their full potential in a friendly and nurturing Jewish environment. We operate an adult/child ratio above Ofsted recommendations. Our nursery is purpose built with its own secure outdoor play area, which is used daily and gives the children space to move and learn. Morning Session 9.00 – 12.00 (Monday – Friday) Lunch Session 12.00 – 1.00 (Monday – Thursday) Extended Afternoon 1.00 – 3.00 (Monday – Thursday) Breakfast Club available from 8.00 Monday—Thursday

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Jewish News 28 June 2018

Education / Book Talk

THE EMPATHY FACTOR At St Hilda’s Prep School in Bushey understanding feelings has improved reading and writing skills AT ST HILDA’S they have been using the power of book talk with high quality texts to enhance pupils’ literacy development for many successful years, but it was only when they came across the work of Miranda McKearney OBE with EmpathyLab that they realised empathy had also been integral to their teaching of literacy for many years. For the past four years, EmpathyLab’s main aim is to develop empathy in schools and libraries through a dual focus on literacy and social/emotional skills, and St Hilda’s has been part of this exciting and important project. Robin Banerjee, professor of developmental psychology at Sussex University, carried out research on child development and his findings have shown that peer acceptance and social inclusion play a fundamental role in emotional wellbeing, which has a direct impact on academic engagement, resulting in better achievement in school. He argues that empathy is a fundamental skill in this process. St Hilda’s teachers are invested in all of these factors and were therefore delighted

to be one of the pioneering schools working with EmpathyLab. Since 2015, they have been fortunate enough to trial several of the tools they created with the aim of incorporating empathy into schools through literacy across the country. It is important to note that incorporating an emphasis on empathy is not something to add on, but should be part of everyday practice

An obvious place to begin developing better empathetic skills in young children is through reading high quality texts and engaging in deep conversation

learning how to deal with them and tolerate each other. Understanding the fictional narrative very much relies on understanding themselves. At St Hilda’s they discovered that the language used in the playground, in assembly and within lessons has started to shift. Pupils are developing the ability to feel with others, to understand their emotions and different perspectives. It is most certainly helpings to promote fundamental British values in the school. There are many ideas that can be used to incorporate empathy easily and successfully into school and these are just a few that are used at St Hilda’s where they aim to build bridges with this initiative, not walls. A truly important life skill.

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- becoming part of the School Development Plan. Staff training was key to this. An obvious place to begin developing better empathic skills in young children is through reading high quality texts and engaging in deep conversation to develop the skill of active listening and recognition of emotions in others. This is done at St Hilda’s from Bluebird Nursery during story time and continues throughout the school, and by encouraging parents to read and use open questioning skills with their children. St Hilda’s library has a special collection of books with the emphasis on empathy which includes suggested topics for talking about the book for parents to use. Last spring, a series of workshops were held for St Hilda’s parents to develop these skills and highlight the importance of reading to a child way beyond the time when they are fluent readers themselves. Noticing and discussing how book characters feel is an important first step, to be followed by noticing emotions in themselves and others and

08/02/2018 13:28

CLORE TIKVA SCHOOL is a thriving school in the London Borough of Redbridge. Clore Tikva School was opened in 1999 and is a voluntary aided school with approximately 465 children. The name of the school derives from the philanthropic Clore foundation that supplied part of the original funding, and Tikva being the Hebrew word for ‘hope’. The school has a pluralist outlook that is reflected in the school’s admissions policy and forms an integral part of its’ ethos statement. The school follows the National Curriculum and as well as dedicated lessons, Jewish Studies and Hebrew are integrated in the main curriculum. Clore Tikva also has a strong link with the Kerner School, Meona in the Galil region in the North of Israel through the UJIA’s “Living Bridge Project”, which encourages the children to take part in joint initiatives and exchange visits. The school teaches phonics using the Read, Write, Inc, programme and are immersing themselves in the White Rose approach to maths mastery teaching. Every classroom has an interactive whiteboard, with laptop trolleys which can be brought in to classrooms to support the teaching. The playground features equipment purchased by the strong PTA group. Extra curricular activities include football, netball, yoga, multi skills, karate, choir, drama and art club. The school also offers a breakfast, lunch and after school club. In its last Ofsted inspection in 2017 inspectors said: “Leaders and governors have established a welcoming and nurturing environment in which pupils feel safe and valued.’’ With former deputy head Michael Neat as the new headmaster since September 2017, Clore Tikva in Ilford is an academic success story .

28 June 2018 Jewish News


Role models / Education

BACK TO SCHOOL When four former pupils return to a school as teachers, it is a significant moment - and a disturbing one for the educators who taught them and are still there.This was the situation when Kantor King Solomon High School in Ilford welcomed back alumni who made their mark as pupils and are keen to do so as teachers. Adam Newman

“I knew that I wanted to be a teacher when I was in sixth form. What I loved about KS was that all of my teachers instantly nurtured that passion and even encouraged me to teach lessons to my peers. I was awarded the “gifted and talented” award in teaching, which resulted in me teaching a five minute A-level psychology lesson to more than 400 parents, members of staff, governors etc. Once I decided to do my teacher training here, I was welcomed with open arms and every member of staff has bent over backwards to help support me. I wouldn’t be the teacher I am today without them. In the school picture, I am standing next to my science teacher, David Calvo, who is now my colleague!”

Jordana Aaronson

“I joined the school in 2007 and stayed right through to complete my A-levels. I feel extremely lucky to have been given the opportunity to begin my teaching career here; it is very fulfilling to teach my students geography in the very same classrooms where I was once taught. I now get to work alongside colleges who were the same teachers who inspired me to start a career in education.”

Kelly Burack

“I joined the school in July 2014 as a learning support assistant (LSA) for the special educational needs (SEN) department. I had only worked as an LSA for a year when I was given the opportunity to be an assistant head of year, and it was a year and half after starting when I was asked by Hannele Reece to start training as a science teacher. My degree is BSc psychology – so when I hopefully qualify in 20 days I will be able to teach both science and psychology. I was not the model student; I was often in trouble and I generally found school to be very challenging and academically difficult – this was mainly owing to being dyslexic. When I came back to work here, I felt I had a lot to prove because my new colleagues were previously my teachers. But now, four years on, with the support/guidance I have been given, I have progressed and surpassed expectations. I continue to look forward to what future progressions and influence I can make at KS and I thoroughly enjoy my job, the people I work with and our overall working environment.”

Seth Walmer

“I joined the school in 2003 and went on to read Jewish and religious studies. King Solomon gave me some great memories as a pupil and it is a privilege to return as a teacher. I was a conscientious student who was hard-working, but I did set off the fire alarm once for burning quiche in a food technology lesson! “

Rebecca Cohen

“I’m a psychology graduate with an interest in child development. I work in the special educational needs and disability department as an LSA and higher level teaching assistant, working one on one and in small groups with children with additional needs. It’s a very challenging yet extremely rewarding job. Being back here is like being home, with a supportive and caring work family. It feels like I’ve never left!”


Jewish News 28 June 2018

Education / Oxbridge


UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE Oxford and Cambridge universities are revered, but not out of reach with the right help reports Louise Walters

GCSES HAVE BARELY FINISHED, but the talk is all about universities. The open days, the decisions, the UCAS form and personal statement, the scrabbling around to find enough extra curricular activities to make you stand out. But if you’re ‘doing Oxbridge’ it’s all different. It’s not about which hall of residence, it’s about which college. It’s not about the As and Bs, it’s about A*s and As and as for the after-school clubs and societies you headed, it’s now about how passionate you are about the course. But even if you have the passion, the determination and the academic ability, the Oxbridge application is a daunting process. Above and beyond the UCAS form there are written tests and SAQs (extra information on

top of your UCAS application, including topics covered as part of your A Level courses and UMS (uniform mark scale) marks obtained in any units. You might also have to do a subjectspecific written admission assessment either at interview, or beforehand. Both universities ask some applicants to submit examples of written coursework as part of the application, and both call successful applicates for interview. At Cambridge these are usually done in one day, but at Oxford they are spread over two or even three days, requiring students to stay overnight. If this all seems scary and challenging, the good news is that there is help out there. Most schools with a good track record of sending pupils to Oxford and Cambridge

will have in-house support to steer students through the process. However there are schools that have never sent a sixth former to either of these universities and would not know where to start. Chartered accountant Simon Walters spent several years mentoring pupils at a state school in a deprived area. One of these was a gifted sixth-former who wanted to study law at Oxford. His teachers were supportive of his ambitions, but had no experience of the Oxbridge application process and so were unable to support him. “I was determined that this shouldn’t hinder him,” says Simon. “I contacted a top private school nearby – a school which always featured at the top of lists of successful applications to Oxford and Cambridge – and they invited my mentee to join their after-school Oxbridge applicants’ programme, held weekly for a month or so. The state-school pupil was from an immigrant family where English was a second language at home, where money was extremely tight, but he shone alongside the pupils at the

private school. With an impressive set of A* GCSE results and the generous help from teachers at another school, he won a scholarship to Oxford.” Oxbridge applications guides and supports students at every stage of their application. Families often choose to begin the process with a one-hour private consultation to determine the student’s potential to study at Oxbridge along with their strengths and areas for improvement. The next stage is to prepare for admissions tests and interviews with the team, either on a long-term programme or through preparation events. The company works with a network of thousands of Oxbridge-graduate tutors, so students can be paired up with a mentor who has studied their chosen degree at their chosen university. There are free resources to support their applications on the Oxbridge Applications website, including: mini mock admissions tests, past personal statements, plus a downloadable e-book on applying to Oxbridge.

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28 June 2018 Jewish News


Bedtime battles / Education


From battles fought on laptops to bedtime stories on iPads, the digital age has transformed after school – and not in a good way, writes Beatrice Sayers


parent or grandparent holding the story book, an excited child peering to look at the pictures, savouring every word, and keen to hear the next chapter being read – and, as they get older, catching you out as you try to skip the boring bits. This scene from many a happy childhood is being radically updated: more than two thirds of families have used digital gadgets for bedtime stories, according to a recent survey. Laptops Direct, which collated the results from just over a thousand parents, found that tablets and iPads were the most popular devices used, followed by e-readers and smartphones. Electronic devices have much to offer, but there are dangers, especially if the child is looking at the screen with the parent, not just listening. “Blue light is a big issue,” says Dr Nicola Yuill, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Sussex. The light from laptop screens interferes with melatonin production – affecting sleep. While she says that’s not a problem with certain screens, such as Kindles, it suggests that bedtime may also be time for a screen break. Another concern is what reading from a screen does to the cosy bedtime experience. Dr Yuill and colleagues asked mothers to read to their children (aged seven to nine) from fiction books on paper, and then from a tablet. Video observation from their study showed that when the mothers read from paper, there was a much warmer interaction with the child: more laughter, smiles and shows of affection. Parents of older children, particularly those aged seven to 16, might also worry that they’ve already spent hours in front of a screen before bed – a school iPad, their mobile phone, a laptop for homework or the TV. Psychologists tend to agree that concern about this

should depend on what a youngster is doing on the screen: if it’s being used collaboratively, it can be beneficial. Collaborative is one word for it, but the videogame Fortnite, a multiplayer fight for survival, is creating battles across households in north London. It has become so wildly popular that many parents have put new restrictions on it, or just imposed a ban. Fortnite involves trying to kill the rest of a field of 100 mainly strangers, often in a horribly violent manner. Originally released in July last year, it shot to popularly when a new version, Battle Royale, came out in September. The game is free at the basic level and, say parents, very addictive. When Lisa Dalton’s 12-year-old son, already a big videogame fan, told her Fortnite was available for his Nintendo Switch, she refused to let him download it. “They’re the bane of our lives,” she says of gaming devices. Trying to prise him off Clash of Clans and Republique to go to barmitzvah classes or do his homework is already utterly draining. “It’s a conversation you have to have every day. ‘Are you off yet?’ ‘Just five more minutes’. ‘You said that 20 minutes ago...’” Strict rules about Fortnite are the solution for another mother of three. “My boy’s dead into it,” says Julia Marcuson, whose 13-year-old spent his barmitzvah money on a PlayStation last autumn specifically so he could play the game. “If he had free rein, he’d play every waking hour.” She allows him only an hour or two at the weekend, but still has concerns. “I just don’t like all the killing,” she says. There is some teamwork, she concedes, and he’s engaging with his friends, “but I’d rather they were playing with a football in the garden”. He plays it in the sitting room on the TV, rather than in his bedroom, but that rule has drawbacks. “My younger daughter will sit and watch him play. I hate that,” Julia says. “I don’t think it’s appropriate for a 13-year-old, never mind a nine-year-old.” As well as Fortnite normalising seeing people dying in nasty ways, Julia says the premise of the game troubles her. “However good the collaboration, do you have to be killed if you don’t succeed?” It’s the temptation to keep playing, improve

your technique and survive that draws players in. UK newspapers have stories of pre-teens falling asleep in class because they’ve been up all night gaming and the World Health Organisation recently designated ‘gaming addiction’ as a mental health condition. There’s no going back, though: screens have become part of our lives from babyhood – most of us have seen toddlers swiping their fingers across paper rather than turning the page – and from breakfast till bedtime. If we draw firm boundaries for older children for whom screens threaten to disrupt purposeful activities, and return to old-fashioned books or e-readers for bedtime stories, we can hope for shalom bayit, and a peaceful night’s sleep.

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Jewish News 28 June 2018

Education / Mind Matters


MENTAL HEALTH Alex Galbinski discovers how a pilot initiative to improve mental health provision in schools is helping students


ith statistics revealing three children in every classroom has a diagnosable mental health disorder, it is vital schools allow young people time and space to talk about their feelings, particularly surrounding stress and anxiety. JCoSS is just one of the community’s schools that takes mental health very seriously, and it is nearing the end of a pilot ‘pop up’, Jami Head Room at JCoSS, to combat the stigma and discrimination around it. Sarah Manuel, a well-being facilitator appointed by Jewish mental health charity Jami, has been based at the school since last October. She runs sessions for students enabling them to learn about mental health, how to support their own well-being and integrate strategies to look after themselves. Sessions via Head Room at JCoSS – which was set up by Liz Weddle, JCoSS deputy headteacher (pictured, inset), and Philippa Carr,

Jami’s education manager – address a range of topics, including social media, friendships, communication and workload, and offers techniques to improve overall well-being including breathing and relaxation exercises. “We create something away from the hustle and bustle of school life, and pupils can come whether or not they are stressed,” explains Sarah, who hopes these techniques will be acquired in times of calm and utilised in periods of stress. Liz tells me well-being has always been a focus at the school, with staff looking at new and creative ways to address situations, particularly in financially difficult times. “We were aware that over the past decade,

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04/06/2018 13:46

mental health has become more of a focus in schools, but the provision outside hasn’t really matched the demand. So we knew we needed to enhance what we were doing to be preventative, and give students strategies to use in times of stress rather than just be reactive.” I ask Sarah what feeds students’ stress and anxiety, beyond general teenage concerns. “Primary stresses evolve from being constantly examined, which is a nationwide issue,” she says. “There is also stress around the need to be perfect; young people struggle with the concepts of making mistakes or failing, which they feel they can’t do.” And, as parents reading this might expect, the online world has much to answer for. “Social media presents a picture that is not necessarily true, but students strive to emulate whatever they’ve read or seen.” But Sarah believes it is not all negative, and students can learn to manage their online lives. “It can be very detrimental and it’s a lot of pressure, but it can also be very positive when used in the right way,” she explains. Society’s fast pace also impacts on young people, says Philippa. “We’re constantly bombarded by news and information, and our brains are trying to play catch up with the demands of the modern world. That’s no different for young people, who don’t yet have an adult brain – so it places lots of pressures upon them when they’re trying to grow up and develop their frame of reference and how they see and understand the world.” There are also more serious issues around self-harm, suicide ideation and eating disorders. Given these concerns, Philippa explains the reasons behind Jami’s pilot scheme. “Facilitating and supporting a school to develop in an emotionally healthy way and give space to young people to build their resilience is something we were really excited about doing.” The lunchtime sessions are informal dropins, but Sarah also supports the school curriculum, in personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education classes. She has also helped Year 7s with social skills, building self-esteem,

and being kind to others. Students have also discussed identity, how the world views them, and how they want to be perceived. Sarah has run revision tips and stress management sessions for Year 9, thinking about stress triggers and how to manage them and, for Year 11s, particularly the maths students, she has talked through how to remain calm when thrown by an exam question. I ask Sarah where this fear of failing originates – is it via stereotypical pushy parents? “While there may be a bit of that, much of the pressure comes from the students. It’s important to have setbacks because you learn from them, and do better next time,” she counters, while Liz says parents need to help build resilience – but must start when their children are very young, “so that when things go wrong, as they inevitably do in everyone’s lives, they can bounce back”. Aside from Head Room, Jami has provided student sessions at JCoSS on stress management and provided mental health training for staff (as it does at other schools). It also facilitated training for parents on teenagers and mental health, and helped train a cohort of ‘peer listeners’ in Year 11. “We’re trying to expand the ways we’re supporting students,” explains Liz. “They might not want to go to a member of staff, but to someone slightly older who knows what to do and who to pass it on to. It’s about responding to children before an issue gets too serious.” Parents, too, can help by being open, says Liz. “It’s about maintaining an environment where children can talk to parents about anything.” She says the school will continue the lunchtime sessions and hopes to implement more well-being activities in its reception area known as the ‘heart space’. “What I really want to do is break down the stigma that is still attached to mental health, so it equates with physical health and not reasoning one is more embarrassing than the other. “We want our students to thrive. It’s all very well having good exam results, but not if you’re not happy. In education we’ve lost sight of that, and we need to get that balance back.”

28 June 2018 Jewish News



Jewish News 28 June 2018

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28 June 2018 Jewish News


Parenting support / Education

HAPPY FAMILIES Alex Galbinski discovers how to create a calmer home environment, courtesy of Norwood


s I tell Alison Riffkin, Norwood’s senior family support worker, about a disagreement I’d had with my daughter, and listen to her suggestions of possible ways to have dealt with it, I realise my (over)reaction had escalated the argument. Alison was telling me about an 11-week Norwood parenting programme called Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities she runs with Vera Hart, a fellow family support worker – and I wanted to sign up on the spot. The programme, an initiative of the Race Equality Foundation, which takes place at Norwood’s Kennedy Leigh Family Centre in Hendon, is aimed at parents of children aged up to 18 to help them raise “happy and successful” offspring. The course aims to answer important parenting issues, including how to build a better parent-child relationship, ways to motivate a child, boundary setting, and methods to prevent destructive behaviour. Parents often come in with one mindset and leave with another, Vera explains. “The majority of parents were asking us to change their children, and then, when they came off the programme, realised it is they who need to change.” Alison explains the premise of the course. “Its emphasis is on building up the parent-child relationship first by using positive reinforcement strategies, for example, giving clear instructions, spending special time with your child and using descriptive praise. We work backwards, so we start with all the positive strategies in order for the bad behaviour to fizzle out.” Each three-hour session, for a maximum of 12 participants, uses innovative techniques to get them thinking. “We make it very interactive; we get parents brainstorming, use activities and ice breakers. It’s really fun, and they’re taking something away every week,” says Vera.

Use descriptive praise “Parents often use phrases such as ‘good boy/ girl’ or ‘well done’ to praise”, says Alison, but as this is unspecific, it can be ignored. “By using descriptive praise, you are telling the child exactly what it is that you have liked, and they are then more likely to repeat this action.”

Share special time According to parenting experts, making time for each child is vital. “Having special time with

individual children, hopefully daily, really makes a difference,” explains Vera. “This can mean 10 minutes of hopefully openended conversations, and getting into their world, into what’s important for them. For example, if they’re playing a video game, you could ask whether they identify with their character.”

Acknowledge their feelings Alison tells me that when a child is acknowledged and validated, they feel noticed, which raises their self-esteem. “In order to acknowledge, parents need to listen to their child (which is very often difficult for parents to do), to get cues about what is going on for them.” If a child is ‘acting up’ in a certain way, it should be remembered there is always a need behind their behaviour. “It’s identifying and looking into what the need is,” Alison explains. “When we ask parents what we as adults need on a daily basis, and then what a child needs, it’s almost identical – food, to talk, love, a hug, being listened to and heard. “All of the above strategies boost the child’s confidence – they will feel valued, noticed and respected, and they are more likely to start being co-operative. Bad behaviours will soon start fizzling out.”

Ignore bad behaviour “All children love attention, whether positive or negative. Obviously, positive attention is better than negative attention, but negative attention is better than no attention at all,” explains Vera. “By ignoring a child’s inappropriate behaviour and praising the positive (acceptable/ appropriate) behaviour, the child is more likely to repeat the positive. Parents must remember it’s the behaviour that we are ignoring and not the child themselves.” What if you’re already following most of these techniques, I ask the pair, and they laugh kindly. “Many parents do say they do a lot of this, but we look at what is working well and what isn’t,” explains Vera. “It could be their tone of voice or body language – many parents say ‘I spend all day with my child, and yet they still don’t listen’, but we question what time is spent with them and why they aren’t listening.” The difference between this and other parenting courses on offer in the wider community, Alison tells me, is that Norwood wanted an

evidence-based course – one demonstrating that participation results in real and positive change. The support workers tell me they’ve had parents on the course who were constantly shouting. “But they’ve noticed they are not shouting anymore; they’ve seen how calm their house is and how the children are listening more. It’s an easier environment to live in,” affirms Vera. Course participants speak of feeling “empowered” in a “non-judgemental and warm atmosphere”. One explained: “I was not confident on how to tackle issues with my children. Issues were mainly jealousy, lack of happiness, and temper tantrums. Our home has changed for the better. I’ve learnt how humans ‘work’, how we process emotional behaviour, how validation is

the key to almost everything, and how powerful spending quality time with each child is.” But it’s not just parents who come, explains Vera; grandparents are now stepping into the childcare breech. “On our last course, we had one grandparent and she told all her friends and we have three grandparents attending our current programme. She said it made such a difference between her and her own child.” And these skills are not just useful for the parent-child relationship. “The programme gives you lifelong skills that you can also use with adults,” emphasises Alison. “Mothers tell us it has changed their relationship with their husbands as well!” For details, call Alison Riffkin on 020 8809 8809 or email



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Jewish News 28 June 2018

Education / Home learning


Some of those looking to prepare their children for selective schools are still floundering to know the best route to help support their learning and set them up to take exams when numerous areas are not covered in the national curriculum. Additionally, many parents are looking to support children in the basic subjects in which they might be struggling at school. There has been a huge rise in private tutoring in the UK. Ultimately, parents need to find the right route for their children. As with all relationships, this means getting the chemistry right. The really valuable service a good tutor provides is the guidance to help find the right fit for children, thus preventing them from ending up in a school that is unsuitable. There are many tutor routes to go down in the London area. Below are three very different examples – a group learning organisation, a one to one specialist assessment company, and a private individual.

CHOICES Despite the apparent move towards non-exam based testing for the selective school sector, it’s not here yet, writes Debbie Colton


CURIE EDUCATION ETHOS – As a private tutor, Tooran Abadan came to the UK from a career as an educator in Iran. While she continues to educate herself, and is currently studying for her PhD, her passion is in instilling a confidence and love of learning in children in maths, English, verbal and non verbal Reasoning. She believes that the emotional way a child approaches learning is as key as the practical way they do. SPECIALITY – Tooran excels in helping students who have English as a second language, as she feels they often struggle to keep up in school and their intelligence and ability get lost in translation. With maths offered up to

A-level and English for primary, she also works to support all levels of entrance exams and provides past papers as part of her offer. COST – One-to-one tutoring is £50 per hour. She offers group lessons if you organise your own group and these are charged at £15 per hour for five students. CONTACT – Landline 020 8209 3569, or mobile 07717 941205. Tooran is based in Golders Green and only tutors from home, where she feels children are best able to focus and learn in her ‘school-like’ setting.

ETHOS – To build confident, fearless learners both in school and in the wider world. Explore Learning works on a praise-reward basis, aiming to build confidence and instil a love of learning. Its values include ‘inclusivity’ and ‘family’ – sentiments that are attested to by many of their clients. SPECIALITY – Specialises in individualised programmes in maths, spelling, reading and writing within a group environment for children aged four to 14. Tutors work with groups of up to six, who work at their own level and pace; this, they believe, provides the perfect balance between independent learning and supported work. It is advised that you attend one or two 1hr 15mins sessions per week. These are very

flexible and you can drop in and change days as you like. WHO – The West Hampstead Centre is headed up by Alison and is situated at 55 Fortune Green Road, NW6 1DR. Explore Learning has centres all over the UK; contact details can be found on its website. Contact your nearest venue for information on the tutors. COST – £109-129 per month (depending on which centre you attend). Childcare vouchers accepted. Additional 7+ and 11+ preparation courses are offered. CONTACT –, Call 01483 447 414




ETHOS – To focus on the individual with qualified teachers specialising in all subjects to meet your child’s needs and work with families holistically. To unlock each child’s potential and guide you to finding the right school. With some children finding school a difficult place to focus, the company prides itself on selecting the right match and supporting their learning. SPECIALITY – Providing academic assessments to help parents understand their child’s suitability for competitive London day schools. The assessment tells parents both where their child is now and what they are capable of, two crucial pieces of information that enable parents to plan properly, so school visits can be tailored and any tuition minimised. The assessment includes a full 11+ practice test and a tailored assessment report with age-related,

standardised scores; comparing your child with British school children of the same age. WHO – Mary Lonsdale heads up this family based business. Eighty percent of its tutors are qualified teachers, with many senior teachers, heads of departments and examiners among them. All tutors have the experience to meet the needs of all different types of learners. COST – One-off registration fee of £50. Prices range from £50-£60 per session depending on what stage your child is at. Additional 7+ and 11+ preparation courses are also offered. CONTACT – Call 020 8883 2519, visit, or email


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EDUCATNG MATTERS Having read about three of the hundreds of tutors and tutoring companies available today, you need to know where to start. Rachel Vecht, former teacher and parent educator, always begins every consultation by asking: “What do you want for your child?” And this really does underlie the whole issue. “If you are only interested in top grades, then the pathway is very different if your aim is to build confidence and instil a love of learning,” says Rachel. You would also need to take different routes whether you are gunning for the selective grammar, public or private schools, or would be content to see your child in a less academic school if that suited them better. Rachel, through her company, Educating Matters,

runs sessions on choosing the right school for your child as well as working one to one with parents to really get to the crux of what they are looking for and what options they have. You can find out more by visiting or by calling 020 7604 4922.

28 June 2018 Jewish News


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Jewish News 28 June 2018

Education / Broadening horizons

Studying abroad is one of the great joys of being a student. Relocating as part of a degree course is not only culturally enhancing, but it can build contacts, introduce a second language and open up career opportunities – albeit ones that might upset the parents. Choosing to study in Israel might get a better response from the family, but there are better reasons. The country has a large English-speaking population and is known for its iinnovation in everything from medicine to technology and education, so it’s not surprising that it tops the list as a study location. BAR-ILAN UNIVERSITY

“Parents are a child’s first & most important teacher”  Educating parents for over 20 years  Get the very best out of your children  Raise happier, more resilient, motivated, independent adults  Practical & proven parenting support & guidance – for children of all ages. (Seminars, webinars & 1:1 consultations – provided in the workplace, schools & homes) “I can’t say enough good things – every session made me stop & think, gave me invaluable tools, foundation & techniques to apply every day, dramatically improving our family life “ (Testimonial, Father of 3) Clients include:

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BAR-ILAN UNIVERSITY, one of Israel’s largest academic institutions, has a long history of providing educational programmes for students from abroad – including exceptional double majors in the field of communication. Whether a student wants to hone their communication skills in civic service, the private sector, linguistics and literature, or seek to understand new trends in society, Bar-Ilan has a communications programme to fit their needs. Students learn critical skills in analysing and evaluating communication practices while applying verbal, written, and audio-visual communication skills and knowledge. The programme provides students with an examination of communication theory, practices and processes in a variety of contexts, from interpersonal, group, organisational, public and electronically mediated communication. To top it off, the programme is cost-effective too. For those who choose to make aliyah,

there’s an option to receive full government funding for either the English, Hebrew or iintegrated programmes. With an international community constantly growing, the Bar-Ilan campus buzzes with more than 4,000 expats. Yet even with the high number of students from abroad, the university has succeeded in creating a warm community owing to the extra mile faculty members go to helping students acclimatise, and a highly active Facebook community that offers a supportive social network. This community consists of students across the spectrum of religious observance and culture, developing life-long friendships and a deeper perspective of the world at large. In short,students looking to expand theirhorizons while earning a BA in communications, the programme at Bar-Ilan University is well worth looking into; quality academics, cost effective, a specialised double major, and a cultural experience in the Holy Land? What more do you need?

28 June 2018 Jewish News


Broadening horizons / Education THE BEZALEL ACADEMY OF ARTS AND DESIGN THE BEZALEL ACADEMY OF ARTS AND DESIGN in Jerusalem is the equivalent of London’s Central St Martins. As the oldest institution of higher education and the birthplace of Israel’s art culture, it is an extraordinary place to study as a foreign student and, with its range of programmes across the disciplines, Bezalel’s graduates influence the world through their design skills. The success of former student, architect Ron Arad is a case in point and the Academy currently has more than 2,000 students studying toward eight bachelor’s degrees and five master’s degrees in a range of fields including fine arts, architecture, industrial design, jewellery and fashion design, photography, film and animation. What every student gains at the Academy is an understanding of diversity and freedom of expression, as the aim is to provide students

with unparalleled learning opportunities through an innovative and technologically advanced curriculum. Sign up and follow in the steps of Ron.


TEL-HAI COLLEGE is an academic institution in northern Israel that has leading innovative academic initiatives and cutting-edge research in chosen fields, while serving as a local hub of excellence offering community activities. With support from the UJIA, Tel-Hai conducts teaching, research and development while serving as a growth and development engine for the Galilee. The college has and will continue tp play a major role in the development of technology and its application in agriculture, biotechnology, medicine, education and computer sciences. Since its establishment in the mid-nineties Tel-Hai College has grown by harnessing local talent and drawing talent from across Israel and the world to the Galilee. Although it has a diverse range of students and faculty from across the country, it does not currently offer programmes to foreign

students, but by summer 2019 hopes to open up English-speaking short and long term courses. What it offers currently are Englishspeaking programmes for research students in the fields of science, faculty, and alumni. The college has also signed an affiliation agreement with MIGAL – Galilee Research Institute. The agreement is a first in Israel’s academic community, as the partnership will offer students and graduates the chance to have international collaborations through research projects.

For Bar-Ilan visit: • Bezalel: Tel-Hai:

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Jewish News 28 June 2018

Education / Learning Party

IT’S MY PARTY AND I’LL LEARN IF I WANT TO Birthdays can be fun and boost an education, says Brigit Grant


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f you are struggling to think of a way to celebrate your child’s birthday, I’ve got a solution. As the mother who made a life-size Charlie and Lola for her third; wore rabbit ears for the Alice in Wonderland fourth and filled the house with fake flowers and fairies as she turned five, I’ve earned my Blu Tac points. But with age (hers and mine) comes a taste for a more mature celebration that goes beyond trampolining and splashing in swimming pools. I’m talking about the sort of party that offers a child the chance to get a degree in medicine, open a bank account, present the weather on TV and put out a few fires in full uniform. And that’s what happened at KidZania when she turned 11 and hosted a party that allowed guests to try their skills at everything from bell-ringing to hairdressing

with a brief stint fixing air-conditioning units. The notion of becoming a doctor, pilot or chocolate maker is a real option at KidZania, the indoor city run by kids at Westfield Shopping Centre, and the chance to do so alongside her classmates made for a very special birthday party. Greeted at the door by super-friendly staff, Madison and her friends were escorted to the speedy boarding entrance and issued with bracelets that have radio frequency antennae and an ID chip. Everyone gets these regardless bracelets so the children can’t leave without you and try as you might you can’t leave without them. Security sorted, it was time to show the kids the money – kidZos to be precise – which is the official city currency and all of them get 50 to kickstart their earnings, though

The children take to the airwaves

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28 June 2018 Jewish News


Learning Party/ Education Madison had brought a purseful from a previous visit. Let’s just say she is better at saving her own money than mine. She also knows that having a degree boosts earnings and passed on this advice to her pals who chose to read medicine. Four years of anatomy study was condensed into five minutes and their parents would have been to so proud to see them graduate prematurely in gowns and mortar boards. Kidzania is the place to schlep naches. After graduation, everyone went their separate ways, which is typical, but a few of the girls headed straight to the delivery room to learn about babies while the boys got temporary jobs delivering parcels. The perfect scaled-down uniforms and accessories for each profession add to the realism, and watching the children listening intently to the presentation of each new role was encouraging. The birthday child gets to sit on a throne at a long lunch table, blow out a blaze of candles and dance with the furry dog mascot Chika. The pizza was plentiful and the staff were fully involved, in fact nothing was too much trouble at any point – notably when the children all hit the dance floor in the club and did a neon lit synchronised routine. To be able to learn a trade, present a show, fly a plane, earn money and dance at a birthday party is rare, but at KidZania it is all possible and party. Take it from a woman who has enough fairy crowns to know. For parties: or call 0330 131 3333

Graduating from medical school

Celebrating with KidZania’s mascot Chika

Speed style anatomy for their degree

The girls do have a voice for radio

Another delivery for more Kidzos


Jewish News 28 June 2018

Education / Holiday camps


SUMMER Debbie Collins has found camps to keep all her children happy


oredom prevention for children is a challenge that summer camps are more than happy to meet when I can’t. With no Mary Poppins in the guest room cooking, multi-sports, swimming, tennis, sewing and making slime are activities outside my remit, so I’ve found some themed camps that will do it instead.

TECH IT OUT Fire Tech Camp is here to provide kids with mind-blowing term-time learning, holiday camps and workshops for nine-17-year-olds

who have a real thirst for technology. Set up in 2014 by Jill Hodges, an American scholar who relocated to London and found a lack of suit-




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able camps were available for her technicallyinquisitive kids. Now, with more than seven UK locations, Fire Tech has really taken off and there are camps running in Australia, Poland and France. The myriad of courses is split into age groups, to ensure that everything taught is age appropriate for both boys and girls. With sites in fantastic premises, such as Imperial College London and South Hampstead School, children can learn about coding, gaming, digital music production and even create flashy YouTube content. If you’re a first timer and not sure which course to go for, the ‘Junior Coding Course’ gives a taster of everything, including how to programme and video game design. For the older demographic, the ‘Python Coding Course’ has proved a useful addition to studying for GCSE computer science. “We limit screen work to an hour at a time and ensure there are great outdoor facilities at each of our sites, which we use throughout the day,” says Kirien Sangha, Fire Tech’s marketing manager. “Aside from the tech side of things, confidence, friendships and teambuilding are a huge part of the kids’ learning. With coding, if something doesn’t work, we help them to break it down into why something

failed to perform and how they can improve it.” Fire Tech has a top-notch team of tutors running the courses and operates a ratio of eight students to one tutor, many of whom are PhD undergrads, still at university and even ex-Fire Tech students. With everything still ‘fresh in their minds’, tutors are fun, enthusiastic and passionate about what they are teaching.” Parents are invited to the Friday ‘shows’ and can’t believe how the nervous child they sent in on Monday suddenly has the confidence to present their finished ideas to the group. The Fire Tech motto is ‘Don’t just consume it. Create it’, which is a good one for summer.

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With more than 20 years’ worth of experience, Club Excel has your summer covered better than Factor 50 sunblock. With a variety of activities to suit different ages and abilities, there is something for everyone from wallflower to sports fanatic.

‘Junior Multi Activity’ covers Reception and Year 1, allowing these little ones the chance to try their hand at lots of different activities, with no chance of boredom. There are tournaments, competitions, quizzes and lots of prizes. ‘Senior Multi Activity’ allows Years 2-4 to build friendships through team games, plus individual challenges. ‘Extreme’ takes it up a notch for ten-year-olds and upwards, who want a bit more independence and further challenges. With their own ‘base’ away from the younger participants, they have use of the race track and sports hall, plus the chance to explore the woodland and fields on site. All of this, plus a dedicated football camp,

28 June 2018 Jewish News


Holiday camps / Education performing arts and crafts and specialist activities for those who want to try their hand at something truly unique. All of the sites are schools, with excellent indoor and outdoor space, and a brand new site at Beaumont School in St Albans joins the existing venues at Edge Grove (Herts),

Aldenham (Elstree). With a new venue comes exciting new activities, including: Lego Robotics, Picasso painting and Mad Science.


For more details, call 01923 469 475, or visit

FUN IN FINCHLEY Whether or not you are a member of Finchley Reform, its Summer Scheme is open to all. Five fantastic days of camp run over the summer led by a team of enthusiastic madrichim that keep the adrenalin levels high. Children from Reception to Year 6 are split into three age groups so that all activities are stimulating plus age/ability-appropriate, giving everyone a chance to participate in the fun, informal programmes that run daily. The venue has excellent facilities and there are a range of activities running both indoors and outdoors, meaning that the unreliable British weather can’t spoil the summer fun. From cookery and drama to sports, there is always a theme running through the activity for the week. This summer, it’s ‘Through the Decades’ for the younger groups (Reception to Year 2, 3 and 4), with the chance to learn about all the sights and sounds of the sixties all the way through to present day and even into the future. There is lots of scope for creativity and ideas. The older groups (Years 5 and 6) have a separate theme of ‘A Day in the Life

of a…’. Maybe it’s an artist? Or an astronaut? Perhaps a robot? What about a rabbi? Each day is different, with team games, dress-up fun, sports, drama and lots more. An exciting off-site trip is always part of the plan and this year it’s Gulliver’s Land in Milton Keynes. Children can join in the fun for just a couple of days or the whole week – everyone is welcome. For more information, call 020 8446 3244, or see

With summer camps constantly evolving to appeal to young minds, DiscoG Coding Academy definitely has its finger on the technological pulse with what it offers to inquisitive students. Learning to code can seem quite intimidating at first, but DiscoG is switched on enough to know that all you need to bring with you is enthusiasm and a willingness to discover and create something new. Start them young with ‘Mini Coders’ (aged six) and, once confident, they can move onto the ‘Young Coders Programme’ (for nine – 14-year-olds). With courses available for students taking GCSE computer science and A-level, this additional level support often proves invaluable to those looking to get a head start or simply in the revision build-up to exams.

If committing to the weekly courses is too much, DiscoG also runs hugely popular summer holiday courses and workshops over July and August, comprising of unique projects to inspire the coders of the future. Much like the company’s term-time courses, the holiday workshops are split into age categories to ensure the topics are challenging as opposed to overwhelming. On the ‘Young Coders’ boot camp, participants work on projects where they build and control basic electronic circuits with LEDs, buzzers and traffic lights. Aside from the technology, the courses allow for much creativity and an environment in which they can build confidence and perhaps even create a future best-selling game.

For more details, call 07767 300940, or visit


Jewish News 28 JUne 2018

Education / Holiday camps MUSIC TO YOUR EARS

DON’T let the word ‘Institute’ intimidate you, for the courses run by the ‘Jewish Music Institute’ are very much open to kids aged 11 upwards, curating the best sounds around with their colourful programmes in Yiddish language, song and Klezmer. All courses are led by an outstanding faculty of world-class tutors and experts, delivering the best teaching and opportunities. There is ‘Ot Azoy!’ - their Yiddish language course, ‘Golden Peacock’ – a Yiddish song course and ‘Klezfest’ – their world-famous Klezmer music course, led by Alan Bern. Courses run from Sunday 19th - Friday 24th August at the remarkable SOAS University of London building.

A calendar highlight is the ‘Youth Big Band Summer Workshop’, running for 3 days at the end of August 2018, open to musicians with grade 5+ (or equivalent) standard in trumpet, trombone, saxophone, guitar or drums. This really is the next generation of musical superstars, comprising of teens with a passion for music, with roots based in funk, soul, jazz, afro-beat and rock. Ensemble and solo playing skills are perfected under the expert tutelage of Tzadik Label Jazz musician and band leader Sam Eastmond. Parents and family members also have the opportunity to watch the result of all that hard work, with many students performing at ‘Klezmer in the Park’, running this year on Sunday 2nd September. Past events have previously pulled in crowds of up to 5000 people! Good practise for opening night at Wembley. For more information and booking, please call: 0207 898 4307 or visit:

CUE THE MUSIC THE jigsaw of drama, singing and dance all fits together beautifully when kids enrol at ‘Jigsaw Performing Arts’. Weekend School, birthday parties, Youth Theatre and the highly popular Holiday Workshops, means there is something for everyone and all abilities are welcome for students aged 3-16. Jigsaw’s Summer School is a calendar highlight and provides a fun exciting way to keep kids entertained over the lengthy school break. Students are divided up into ageappropriate groups to try their hand at drama, dance and singing. With a team of dedicated and highly enthusiastic professionals delivering the workshops, it’s a great opportunity

for students to dip their dancing feet into the world of performing arts, especially for those who haven’t had a chance to try this sort of thing before. A set theme gives an interesting focus and structure to the week and this year it is ‘At the Musicals’. Students work busily towards an end-of-week show which is performed to an audience of friends and family. Amongst the build-up of rehearsals, students build confidence, make firm friends and learn new skills. It really is an all singing, all dancing production. For more information, please call: 020 8447 4530 or visit:


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28 June 2018 Jewish News






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28 June 2018

Education / Jumping around


U B MP! Debbie Colton braved trampolines and lazer mazes with the kids – and loved it


s Tigger might have said, ‘bouncing is fun fun fun’ but he wouldn’t be alone now, as the era of trampoline parks has truly arrived in the UK. Unlike the hideous soft play years, during which parents were forced to crawl through spaces built for toddlers in an attempt to retrieve their child – or, in the worse-case scenario, a nappy – bouncing has at least brought hygiene and health benefits to indoor play time. What is more, it’s no longer purely the

domain of the children, as I discovered when I headed with my three bouncing balls to


Flip Out at Staples Corner. Promised ninja courses, adult zones and only the usual risk of breaking limbs, we took on board the safety briefing and headed in. I was immediately impressed with the lockers that didn’t require money, thereby removing the usual hunt through pockets and bags for that elusive trolley coin. Feeling slightly like Gulliver, I bounced for a few minutes, then the inevitable pelvic floor issues arose and I visited the perfectly respectable facilities and headed back. With many staff on hand, the sessions run very smoothly and the children all found a zone to suit. I challenged my 11-year-old in the Lazer Maze and lost, but my eight and six-year-old boys took on the challenge over and over again. It’s a no-brainer for a kids’ party, but its

also a different and fun adult party, too. They are private rooms on offer and they will help to cater for whatever you want to do. Obviously, you have to be sober (so it could be the start of your night out) but it’s fun, competitive if you wish – I defy most people I know to make it through the Ninja course and there’s no danger of accidently bouncing on a small child. In addition, you can work off the calories of what you may choose to consume afterwards. All in all, Flip Out has managed to up the bouncing game; it’s well-run and clean, as well as having many games to suit all ages and abilities. Tigger would love it! Book online at

020 8209 3569 07717 941 205

28 June 2018 Jewish News




A REVOLUTIONARY HAND SANITISER IS SHAKING UP HYGIENE IN SCHOOLS Typically, the fairycake stall is the first to sell out at a summer fete, followed closely by the drinks stand. So imagine Jonathan Sandford’s surprise when his display of hand santisers became the big attraction and sold out. Of course, Germstar is not just any hand sanitiser and, at a time when the push for hygiene in public spaces has never been greater, there is a big need for a product that encourages children and adults to use one. Schools have rules about hand washing frequently, but getting children to follow them is difficult and time-consuming. The arrival of a Germstar dispenser in bathrooms will change that, because the colourful contemporary design is enticing to little ones. With the 964ml touchless dispensers resembling small spaceships, and the 355ml touchless dispensers looking like science equipment, Germstar has turned the sanitiser into an object of curiosity – and that is a good thing when you want a hygiene system to help protect students from nursery age through to university from germs that cause illness. Best of all this, sanitiser is a liquid and not a gel, which as we know leaves a sticky residue and stays on the hands long after it should. Germstar, however, keeps you safe without a trace as it dries almost instantly. It is also all-natural, consisting of five or fewer ingredients, and is totally free of harsh chemicals and not tested on animals. Best of all, it is now available here in the UK with Jonathan Sandford as the sole distributor.

GERMSTAR: THE HISTORY As inventions go, it may not sound life-changing – but when Californian nurse Lupe Hernandez discovered in 1966 that alcohol, delivered through a gel, made for a convenient way to clean hands when there was no access to soap and water, she could not have predicted that 50 years later, the US hand sanitiser market would be worth more than $400 million. First used in hospitals and schools, as the modern world became ever more sterile and reliant on medicine, hand sanitisers became a musthave-on person product that one dare not leave home without. Germstar was formed in the USA in 2008, in response to an increased rise of outbreaks such as norovirus and e-coli and the ever-present risk of germs, bacteria and viruses. The company produces a sanitising liquid that provides 99.99% effectiveness against viruses, germs, and bacteria.

GERMSTAR: THE UGLY FACTS Most bacteria on our hands are on our fingertips and under our nails, and the number of bacteria on our fingertips doubles when we use the bathroom. Although handwashing after using the toilet is pretty much ingrained into us, most people wash their palms and miss everything else. Germs are everywhere – on every surface we touch.

GERMSTAR: THE PROTECTOR Hand sanitisers provide protection for everyone in the fight to kill germs transmitted via the hands, which accounts for 80 percent of transmission. Germstar kills 99.9 percent of all transient bacteria, viruses and fungus on contact, and has been proven to kill swine flu, norovirous, gastroenteritis, e-coli, salmonella, MRSA, and many more nasties.

WHAT ABOUT US? Hundreds of schools in the UK have already installed the cheery dispensers and parents are stockpiling the 59ml Germstar handy spray bottles. There is also a glamorous alternative for sanitising in the Luxe range – lipstick-shaped metal containers that all sanitise to be spritzed stylishly and discreetly. For more information on Germstar, visit, or call 020 8421 0130.


Jewish News 28 June 2018

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