Editorial 26/09/2019

Dear Parents,

This month is a month of new beginnings.  The month of Elul is a time when the past year connects with the coming year and it is certainly a time when we can reflect on where we are and where we should be going.  Equally, September is the beginning of the new school year – a time when the students start again: refreshed and reinvigorated.

A new year means new beginnings and fresh starts – this mantra has been repeated to our students when they began this term.  They have been invited to have the courage to let go of the past, free themselves from any sense of failure and disappointment and embrace a new perspective.  During our form times in school, we are focusing upon enabling the students to move forward with pride and excitement for the year ahead.

As we now move towards celebrating Rosh Hashana, I would like to wish everyone a Shana Tova and a peaceful, happy and successful year.

Wishing you a good Shabbos,

Mrs D Lebrett
Headteacher

Editorial 19/9/19

Dear Parents,

As the relaxing days of summer fade into a distant memory and we get our heads down in a new school year, I was struck by something which I read recently. This is some research which showed that five year old children who are told a story about an intelligent person and asked to guess the gender of that person are likely to suggest male or female about equally. The same experiment with six year olds revealed that boys picked their own gender as being ‘really, really smart’ 65% of the time whereas the number of girls doing the same had dropped to 48%. This worrying finding was repeated in a further test which gave six year olds the choice of a game for children who are ‘really, really smart’ or who ‘try really, really hard’. Girls were far less likely to opt for the game for ‘smart’ children.

What this means for us is that we all need to think carefully about the implicit messages in what we say. Do we praise girls too much for working hard while to their brothers, as we worry that they are not putting in the hours of study of their sisters, we convey, possibly very subtly, that their brains will probably get them through? I may be wrong about this but perhaps this week we could all try and find some reason to praise a girl for being smart and a boy for applying himself well.

Wishing you all a good Shabbos,

Mrs K Brice
Headteacher
Hasmonean High School for Girls

Editorial 12/9/19

Breaking News!
Hasmonean High Schools are the top non-selective state schools in The Times newspaper for attainment at GCSE!

We have calculated that Hasmonean’s two schools are the highest achieving non-selective state schools in the country in The Times league tables for GCSE. Both the boys’ and girls’ schools attained an impressive 53% 9-7 grades, with the boys attaining 34% 9-8 grades and the girls achieving 37% 9-8 grades.

Congratulations to all of our students and staff on these tremendous results. It should be remembered that our students benefit from far more than academic success. Kodesh will be the bedrock of their future lives and we are grateful to all of our Jewish Studies teachers for the attitudes and values that they instil within them.
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Dear Parents,

I hope everyone had a great summer and have come back refreshed and ready for the new year.

Whatever your political leanings I think everyone would agree we are living in interesting times, with uncertainty reigning and the normal rules of engagement thrown out of the window. It is under this cloud that we move into Ellul, a month of preparation where the noise of our day to day lives moves backstage and we take a look in the proverbial mirror, assessing where we are as individuals and a community against the expectations Hashem has of us. Such moments of introspection are sadly few and far between due to financial and social pressures, as these moments change us and our behaviours for the better.

As a Finance Committee, we work hard behind the scenes to ensure the School is in as strong a position as possible to provide the education our children deserve. Although we speak to many parents, there are groups of parents who we rarely speak to, parents upon whose contributions the school heavily relies yet don’t get a thank-you call from us at any time. Hasmonean would not be able to operate without parental support and therefore, as a group, we wanted to thank everyone for donating to the school over the past year and look forward to your continued support.

Wishing everyone a Kesiva V’Chasima Tova and hope that through our Teshuva, Tefillah and Tzedokah we will, together, have a great year ahead.

The Finance Committee

Yours sincerely,

Mr J Feinmesser
Trustee and Chair of the Finance Committee

Editorial 5/9/19

I hope you and your families are well and had a restful summer.

Yesterday morning, at the staff inset, I had the privilege to address all members of staff and I would like to share with you my message to them.

Imagine you were invited to an inauguration ceremony. A new shul, school or even just a friend’s housewarming. The invitation will call it a “Chanukas HaBayis” or similar. When the Mishkan was inaugurated in the Midbar, we refer to it as the Chanukas HaMishkan, all based on the word “chinuch” meaning to dedicate or inaugurate.

Interestingly, as I told my colleagues, we are all in the business of chinuch – education. The same word.

What is the connection between inaugurating a new building and education?

Rabbi Malcolm Herman, in his wonderful book “Everyday Parenting for Everyday Parents” gives an insightful answer.

An inauguration ceremony marks when a building has been brought to the point where it is ready for the purpose for which it has been constructed. To inaugurate a building means to develop it to the point where it is completely ready and able to fulfil its designated purpose.

That is exactly what chinuch is. To raise a child so that it is completely ready and able to fulfil the lifelong purpose for which they were created.

That is really our goal at Hasmonean: to help each child achieve their potential. To make sure they are proud, practising and passionate Jews where Torah is central to their lives and at the same time are equipped to make their way in this world and contribute to the society in which they live.

As I tell staff every year, if a student leaves Hasmonean with a string of 9’s and A*’s and yet is not a kind and pleasant person or who falls short morally or religiously, we have failed.

As we start a new academic year, it is important to remind ourselves of this objective and I always make reference to Rabbi Schonfeld’s vision for Hasmonean and the ethos of Torah Im Derech Eretz, which underpins this objective.

We are constantly trying to raise standards and retain freshness and excitement in school. To this end, I am delighted to inform you of an important appointment at the girls’ school. Mrs Debbie Paster, Deputy Head of the Midrasha, has been appointed as Director of Jewish Life at the girls’ school where she will work with me, Mrs Brice, Rabbi Hager and Miss Simonsson to further instil a palpable atmosphere of Jewish life in school. This dovetails our exciting plans to improve tefilla and Kodesh generally in the girls’ school.

I hope that all these efforts to raise standards and retain freshness and excitement at both sites, bear much fruit and help us achieve our goal to give outstanding chinuch to every child, so that in time they will be ready and able to fulfil the lifelong purpose for which they were created.

Good Shabbos,

Rabbi J Golker
Menahel

Editorial 22/8/19

GCSE Results – Boys

Dear Parents,

As you are no doubt aware, GCSE results are now graded 9-1 with 9 being the top grade and a 4 equating to a C on the previous A*-G grading system.

We are pleased to inform you that the GCSE results for this summer 2019 are very strong once again. The vast majority of students have met our high expectations and a significant number have outperformed them.

53% of the grades awarded were 9-7 and 92% were in the 9-4 range.

We are especially delighted with our results in the individual sciences: in Physics and Chemistry, 100% gained the top grades 9-7 and in Biology 96% gained them.

There were many outstanding individual performances and eleven students gained at least eight 8s or 9s – the equivalent of A*/A**.  A further 9 boys achieved at least eight 9-7 grades (A*-A)

We very much hope that your sons have attained the grades that they deserve and which they need to embark upon the next stage of their lives.

Congratulations to all of those students who have fulfilled their potential, especially to those who have outperformed their target grades.

If your son has not achieved the grades which he was expecting, please do not despair: advice regarding grade boundaries, re-marks and the recall of examination papers is available from our examinations officer, Ms Sabin.  Please send specific details of your query to her via email m.sabin@hasmonean.co.uk so that she can deal with them in order of priority. You may also email a.chason@hasmonean.co.uk (exams manager) as she will be assisting her.

Students who have queries about sixth form courses can e-mail the Head of Sixth Form, Rabbi Moshe Cohen via m.cohen@hasmonean.co.uk (please also copy in Mrs Lebrett at d.lebrett@hasmonean.co.uk ).

 

Yours sincerely,

Mr Andrew McClusky – Executive Headteacher

Mrs Debbie Lebrett – Headteacher of Hasmonean Boys’ School

 

GCSE Results – Girls

Dear Parents,

As you are no doubt aware, GCSE results are now graded 9-1 with 9 being the best and 4 equating to a C on the previous A*-G grading system.

We are pleased to inform you that the GCSE results for this summer 2019 are very strong once again. The vast majority of students have met our high expectations and a significant number have outperformed them.

53% of the grades awarded were 9-7 and 95% were in the 9-4 range.

There were many outstanding individual performances and ten students gained at least eight 8s or 9s – the equivalent of A*/A**s. A further 8 girls, together amounting to a quarter of the year group, achieved at least eight 9-7 grades (A*-A). The individual Sciences and Art performed particularly well with 100% of entries in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Art being awarded grades 9-7.

We very much hope that your daughters have attained the grades that they deserve and which they need to embark upon the next stage of their lives.

Congratulations to all of those students who have fulfilled their potential, especially to those who have outperformed their target grades.

If your daughter has not achieved the grades which she had hoped to achieve, please do not despair: advice regarding grade boundaries, re-marks, the recall of examination papers and re-sits is available from our examinations officer, Mrs Chason. Please e-mail a.chason@hasmonean.co.uk .with any queries.

 

Students who have questions about sixth form courses can e-mail the Head of Sixth Form, Ms Valencia c.valencia@hasmonean.co.uk . Please also copy in Mrs Brice at k.brice@hasmonean.co.uk

 

Yours sincerely,

Katherine Brice – Headteacher

Mr Andrew McClusky – Executive Headteacher

Editorial 20/8/19

Dear Parents,

GCSE and BTEC students will be able to collect their results on Bromcom from 6.00 am on Thursday 23rd August. The day before results day access to the ‘exams’ icon on Bromcom will be locked out.

Students who do not have a login for Bromcom, or cannot remember their password, must email lfexams@hasmonean.co.uk urgently.  Paper results will not be available on the day unless absolutely required to confirm a place at another school or college.  Final certificates are not available until mid-October; please do not come to school expecting to collect these on Thursday.

Once a student has a login, full instructions on how to view their results on Bromcom can be found on the Hasmonean website under Information\Students\Exams.  These instructions can be downloaded and printed if they wish.  Please also take note of the following BTEC grade codes:

*2 – Distinction* at level 2

D2 – Distinction at level 2

M2 – Merit at level 2

P2 – Pass at level 2

P1 – Pass at level 1

Where a query exists about a student’s results, an appointment can be booked to see either of us.  Appointments will be allocated in priority order. Please email either m.sabin@hasmonean.co.uk for boys or a.chason@hasmonean.co.uk for girls.

Students who have missed out on a Sixth Form place or have any queries about their Sixth Form place can email the following people:

Girls – Ms Valencia, Head of Sixth Form at c.valencia@hasmonean.co.uk , please also copy in Mrs Brice, Headteacher at k.brice@hasmonean.co.uk

Boys – Rabbi M Cohen, Head of Sixth Form at m.cohen@hasmonean.co.uk , please also copy in Mrs Lebrett, Headteacher at d.lebrett@hasmonean.co.uk

We will be contactable via email throughout the remainder of the school holidays to deal with any grade-boundary and re-mark requests.

Yours sincerely,

Miss M Sabin 

Exams Officer – Boys’ School

Mrs A Chason

Exams Officer – Girls’ School

Editorial 15/08/2019

A Level: Boys’ School

Dear Parents,

We are pleased to inform you that the A Level results for this summer 2019 are very strong once again. The vast majority of students have met our high expectations and a significant number have outperformed them.

48% of the grades awarded are A*-A, 67% are A*-B and 90% are in the A*-C range.

We are especially delighted with our Maths A Level results: 89% of the grades were A*/A. Additionally, 75% of the grades were A*/A in Further Maths A Level. We are also delighted with our Physics results: 75% of the grades were A*/A.

There were many outstanding individual performances with a number of students gaining 3 or more A*s.

We very much hope that your sons have attained the grades that they deserve and which they need to embark upon the next stage of their lives. Congratulations to all of those students who have fulfilled their potential, especially to those who have outperformed their target grades.

If your son does not achieve the grades which s/he had hoped to achieve, please do not despair: advice regarding grade boundaries, re-marks, the recall of examination papers and re-sits is available from our examinations officers.

Please send specific details of your query to the exams officer via email m.sabin@hasmonean.co.uk so that she can deal with them in order of priority. You may also email a.chason@hasmonean.co.uk (exams manager) as she will be assisting her.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Andrew McClusky – CEO of Hasmonean MAT
Mrs Debbie Lebrett – Headteacher of Hasmonean Boys’ School

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A Level: Girls’ School

Dear Parents,

We are pleased to inform you that the 2019 A level results are very strong once again. The vast majority of students have met our high expectations and a significant number have outperformed them.

45% of the grades awarded are A*-A, 67% are A*-B and 88% are in the A*-C range.

We are especially delighted with our Maths A Level results: 86% of the grades are A*/A.

Four of the girls achieved 3 A* grades and a further 12 gained at least 3 A grades. Many congratulations to them and to all the girls for their hard work. We very much hope that your daughters have attained the grades that they deserve and which they need to embark upon the next stage of their lives.

If your daughter has not achieved the grades which she had hoped for, please do not despair: advice regarding grade boundaries, re-marks, the recall of examination papers and re-sits is available from our examinations officer, Mrs Chason.

Please send specific details of your query to her at a.chason@hasmonean.co.uk , so that she can deal with them in order of priority.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Andrew McClusky – CEO of Hasmonean MAT
Katherine Brice- Headteacher of Hasmonean High School for Girls

Editorial 13/8/19

Dear Parents,

A Level and BTEC Level 3 students will be able to collect their results on Bromcom from 6.00 am on Thursday 15th August.

Students who do not have a login for Bromcom, or cannot remember their password, must email lfexams@hasmonean.co.uk urgently. Paper results will not be available on the day unless absolutely required to confirm a place at another school or college. Please remember that universities have access to the UCAS system directly, and can see the results from there. Very few universities require a provisional statement of results to confirm a place, just the final certificates which are not available until mid-October.

Once a student has a login, full instructions on how to view their results on Bromcom can be found on the Hasmonean website under Information\Students\Exams. These instructions can be downloaded and printed if they wish.

Please note that where a query exists about a student’s results, an appointment can be booked to see either of us. Appointments will be allocated in priority order. Please email either m.sabin@hasmonean.co.uk for boys and a.chason@hasmonean.co.uk for girls.

Students who have missed out on a university place can email the following people:

Girls – Mrs Brice, Headteacher at k.brice@hasmonean.co.uk , please also copy in Ms Valencia, Head of Sixth Form at c.valencia@hasmonean.co.uk .

Boys – Mrs Lebrett, Headteacher at d.lebrett@hasmonean.co.uk , please also copy in Rabbi M Cohen, Head of Sixth Form at m.cohen@hasmonean.co.uk . If there are any UCAS queries, please contact Mr A S Kalley on a.kalley@hasmonean.co.uk .

We will be contactable via email throughout the remainder of the school holidays to deal with any grade-boundary and re-mark requests.

Yours sincerely,

Miss M Sabin Exams Officer – Boys’ School

Mrs A Chason Exams Officer – Girls’ School

Editorial 24/07/19

It’s a funny time of year. On one hand there is the excitement and anticipation of a long awaited and much needed summer holiday and yet we have just begun the three-week period of national mourning, reminding ourselves of the Churban and that we are still deep in golus (exile).

Can we reconcile these seemingly contradictory emotions?

The Nesivos Sholom notes that the ultimate purpose of a Jew in this world is to achieve dveikus to Hashem, to create a real relationship with HKBH and live with a reality of His existence. This was really the function of the Beis Hamikdash, it created a home for the resting of Hashem’s Presence and a means to find that closeness with Hashem.

The destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, and golus generally, causes a darkness which means creating that spiritual reality is much harder.

But whilst it may not be easy, living with Kiddush Hashem is not just a means of fulfilling the function of the Beis Hamikdash, it is living life as it should be lived.

The Chafetz Chaim would explain Hashem’s words to Moshe: “Ki hamokom asher atah omed olov, admas kodesh hu” “The place on which you stand is holy ground” . Whichever place or whatever situation you find yourself in is holy. Right here and now, this is the time and place where you are able to grow and create holiness.

The holiday season that is almost upon us is also an opportunity to create that Kiddush Hashem. I once heard a beautiful allusion to this in the Shmonei Esrei of Shabbos Mincha .

People need a rest and go on holiday for different reasons and we refer to them in this Shmonei Esrei. One is “menuchas ahavah u’nedovah” – time to spend quality time with family and loved ones. “menuchas emes v’emunah” – time to recharge spiritual batteries, to think, dream and contemplate more, to daven more slowly and spend more time learning. “menuchas sholom, v’shalva, v’hashket u’vetach” – time to recharge physical batteries and relax in quiet tranquillity.

All of these types of rests are fine, so long as “al menuchosom yakdishu es Shemecha”, that they create a Kiddush Hashem.

May we all merit to recharge our spiritual and physical batteries over the summer and live lives of Kiddush Hashem. This is the antidote to the Chillul Hashem created by the Churban.

May I add, that aside from remaining vigilant about spiritual pitfalls over the summer and the importance of tefilla and adherence to halacha generally, please do remind your children about the importance of staying safe. Cycling with a helmet, swimming safely and staying hydrated in the hot weather. We care about our students and look forward to seeing them all back safe and sound in September.

Wishing you all a refreshing summer,

Rabbi J Golker
Menahel

1 Bamidbar, Bein Hametzarim, page 200
2 Shemos 3:5
3 I would be most grateful if any reader would let me know where I may have seen or heard this idea.

Editorial 18/07/19

Dear Parents,

There have been some worrying incidents which have taken place in the local vicinity over the past week or so and, unfortunately, some of our students have been involved. We have offered support to the students involved and CST have been into school to explain to the boys how to keep themselves safe. The safety and wellbeing of our students is our top priority and we appreciate your assistance in ensuring that your children stay safe as the summer holidays start. Please reiterate to your children about looking after their valuables, not holding their phones in public view and making safe choices about where and when they travel.

If you or your children have any safeguarding concerns over the summer, our Child Protection Team will be on-call for you.

The details are attached.

Our emails are as follows should you need to contact us directly:

d.lebrett@hasmonean.co.uk

k.brice@hasmonean.co.uk

l.waugh@hasmonean.co.uk

a.kalley@hasmonean.co.uk

m.langdon@hasmonean.co.uk

r.benarroch@hasmonean.co.uk

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and relaxing summer and a very good shabbos.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs D Lebrett
Headteacher