Editorial 31/10/19

Dear Parent,

After Noach survived the flood, the Torah tells us that he planted a vine and drank wine. Chazal are critical of him; instead of planting a vine, he should have planted grain.

What is behind this criticism? What did Noach do wrong?

Rabbi Isaac Bernstein used to quote a wonderful insight of Rav Simcha Wasserman. Wine is used to recall the past. As our Sages say: “Zachreihu al hayayin” – “Remember it with wine”. Noach wanted to sit down and drink and reminisce on the past and nostalgically recall days gone by of the pre-flood world of yesteryear.

The criticism of Noach is that he should have focussed on the future and not longed for the past. Time only travels in one direction – it is forward facing. We do not forget the past, rather we use it to build for the future.

Our school was built out of the ashes of the holocaust. Great people had the strength of character to build on the past of pre-war Europe and transform it to a post-war reality. Klal Yisroel have a remarkable history but our destiny is in the future.

Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbos,

Rabbi J Golker

Chessington World of Adventure

Once again, Aviva Rowe and Hasmonean’s PTA organised discounted tickets for Chessington World of Adventure on Chol Hamoed. Despite the rain, a wonderful day was had by the hundreds who attended. It was a great social success, and everyone benefited from shorter queues for all the rides!

The PTA is a vital part of school life, raising much-needed funds for our school. If you would like to find out more information about how you can get involved in future events, please contact Aviva Rowe on 07940 888051

Editorial 24/10/19

Dear Parents,

The news at the moment, both at home and abroad, suggests that the world is becoming a less tolerant and kind place. Demonstrations outside Parliament and a hardening of attitudes on all sides deepens the divisions in political life so that it can seem as if our entire democratic system is under threat.

So there is much to make us wary about what lies ahead but working in a school is the best antidote to this as the attitude of our young people can restore our faith that things can be better in future. The cheerful faces coming into school after the festivities for Succos and the pleasure at seeing their friends again were a reminder that there is a lot to celebrate and be thankful for. Call them not “your children” but “your builders”’ reminds us that they will be creating the world of the future and if we instil in our children respect and compassion for others then they can help to forge a world where all people are accepted and can flourish.

Shabbat Shalom,

Mrs K Brice
Headteacher – Girls’ School

Yashar Programme – Goldman Sachs

As part of Hasmonean’s Yashar Programme, some of our lucky Sixth Formers were able to spend a day with Goldman Sachs employees. The focus of the day was for the employees to help our students with their employability skills, CV writing and career orientation. In addition, it was a great opportunity for our students to network with people who work in different departments at Goldman Sachs.

It was an incredibly rewarding day and there is no doubt that the students who participated in the day are richer for the experience. As the Yashar Programme grows from strength to strength, we already have visits scheduled from Dyson and PwC in the coming term, which will be open to Sixth Formers.

Editorial 8/10/19

Dear Parents,

Wishing all parents and students a Gmar Chasima Tovah, an easy fast and Chag Sameach.

Looking forward to welcoming all students on Thursday 24th October at 8.35 am. Beis will begin at the usual time at the Boys’ School.

Best wishes,

Mrs D Lebrett

Editorial 3/10/19

Dear Parents,

I am conscious that I am writing to you between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a time of profound soul-searching and reflection for the community.

To look retrospectively on what has gone well and what we could do better, and to look forward to plan for a bright future, is also happening in a very different, educational context within the school. Analysing our strengths and areas for development to get to grips with which subjects, staff and students performed well and which could have performed better is an essential part of the school improvement cycle. All staff are also undergoing performance management reviews and are involved in evaluation and development planning for their areas.

While we may be able to measure the outcomes of a student’s academic progress and attainment with ever more sophisticated tools of analysis, the factors which cause him or her to perform well are much subtler and less easy to measure. To what extent was their curiosity piqued in the lessons? Did lessons suit their preferred style of learning? Did their teachers explain topics clearly? Were they were treated with empathy and understanding? Were they given enough time to let off steam? Were they getting enough sleep? Were they worried about home life or friendships? All of these factors and so many more have an impact on their overall success. Our evaluation is not limited to examination results alone: we want to know how well we are preparing students for their future lives which is why we review the quality of both our Kodesh provision and the care, guidance and support they receive from us.

As I have mentioned before, in an attempt to get to reach a closer understanding of what motivates students to perform well, I met with groups of them from each year group and asked them what they thought made for great teaching. At the end of the year, I presented my findings to staff. Students provided many practical and useful ‘top tips’ for teachers but the key message, perhaps unsurprisingly, was that great performance and good behaviour both depend on teachers building positive relationships with students. Empathy is key to everything.

Throughout this year, I am conducting a similar series of interviews with different groups of staff to understand what motivates them to support students to perform well. My aim is to ensure that our resources are used in the best possible way to support staff to have the best possible impact on students.

Gemar chatimah tovah,

Mr A McClusky
Hasmonean MAT