‘Bringing a community feel to a large school that serves 7 boroughs’
Sinai Jewish Primary School sits proudly in the middle of a sprawling 3 acre campus, next door to JFS (which it recently secured feeder status to) and educates over 630 children every week making it the largest Jewish primary school in Europe.
The school will celebrate its 40th birthday this year and Headteacher, Mrs Juliette Lipshaw, was a pupil at the school herself in the 1980s.
Under her leadership, she took the helm in 2017, educationally the school is at the top of its game and her mantra to take the school from ‘good to great’ is evident in the schools latest SATS results and impressive phonics score. As a Maths Mastery school Sinai has revolutionised the teaching of Maths from Reception onwards.
Last year Sinai was asked to join the Mayor of London’s ‘Schools for Success’ programme – to mentor other schools and share how Sinai helped their children make significant progress to become one of London’s top 6% of schools.
The school, rather uniquely, welcomes children from across 7 different boroughs. So how does the school tackle the challenge of bringing a community feel to a school that welcomes families from such a wide geographic area?
Mrs Lipshaw explains, “Bringing a community feel to our school has been something we have been working on over a number of years and we are seeing that hard work come into fruition. We have a wonderful parent body who are committed to supporting the school and share a love for the teaching, the teaching staff and what the school stands for. Being a big school means we can offer big opportunities to all our children whilst ensuring the big beating heart of our school community is the focus.”
Mrs Lipshaw’s passion for education is clearly contagious with her staff who love their jobs and the children and our proud of their school. The big heartbeat of the school has helped to bring the school together to stand as a community.
The school also embraces the opportunities having a diverse Jewish school population brings. The children are just starting their educational journey but the values they are taught and the people they meet, including friends and teachers, from nursery and through their time at Sinai will stay with them for life.
Diversity means the children are very accepting of difference from an early age and they learn to adapt and build long-lasting friendships that span many years past their primary education.
Being in Kingsbury means Sinai is fortunate to be set on a large campus which hosts amazing facilities for all the children to benefit from. The school is surrounded by playgrounds and outdoor spaces with Nursery enjoying the benefits of 2 playgrounds and Reception a shared playground for their three classrooms – both include outdoor learning areas.
KS1 (infant) and KS2 (junior) both have their own outdoor spaces and sports facilities. This no doubt is a contributing factor to the schools recent sporting successes – Sinai are currently the reigning champions in Brent for both girls and boys 5-a-side football. The school regularly takes part in a range of sporting competitions across Football, Rugby, Gymnastics, Netball, Swimming and Athletics. Dedicated PE Teacher Mr Solomons informs us, “Sport is a great way to bring the children together. To represent your school is both an honour and an achievement and means the children work together towards a shared goal. I love to see the comradery and friendships grow across the year groups.”
The school also celebrates a strong Jewish ethos which fosters a love of Jewish traditions and culture in a modern and innovative way. ‘This undoubtedly brings our families and school community together…’ states Jewish Studies teacher, Mr Drucker, ‘…we bring Jewish Studies to life and ensure that the children and our Sinai families embrace the joy of Judaism and experience formative Jewish moments. The different religious blends we have at Sinai gives us a different perspective and allows us to be tolerant of one another and celebrate in a meaningful way for everyone.’
The love and pride of Judaism fostered by Sinai spans into the wider community as Sinai children are seen leading children and youth services on Shabbat or festivals.
The school also prides itself on its regular and transparent communication with the parents. Head of Operations & Communications, Debbie Joseph states, “We like to share our news and successes with our parents and to keep them involved and active in their children’s learning. We know the parents appreciate us sharing educational highlights and we ensure there are plenty of opportunities for our parents to gain a valuable insight into the daily learning and laughter within our school whether that be through online learning journals in Nursery and Reception to our social media pages or a weekly Headteacher bulletin which includes operational updates and a Shabbat message. We know that good communication builds a strong and knowledgeable community.”
It is clear that for Sinai, community is key and that together the families from across the boroughs form a strong and happy alliance. Sinai is clearly a happy place to work and learn and the parents, from across the boroughs, are the school’s biggest ambassadors.