Hackney council leader pays learning visit to Manchester community
In an initiative to broaden understanding of the Orthodox community, Hackney Council’s Group Director for Adult and Children Services, Anne Canning, paid a visit to Manchester’s Charedi community last week. Ms Canning is responsible for all schools and education services and was keen to visit schools in the north that have fared better than their London counterparts in Ofsted inspections. The visit was arranged by Interlink staff, along with Chinuch UK representatives.
Interlink’s LinkEd project director and Chinuch UK representative Rabbi Aharon Pinczewski arranged a walkabout of Bnos Yisroel schools, Ohr Torah – Belz Yeshiva Ketana, Beis HaTalmud and Yesoiday HaTorah School. Each school made a very positive impression.
Bnos Yisroel schools presented a striking example of well-ordered classrooms, creative and innovative wall displays and well-mannered girls who answered her questions with clarity and confidence. In Yeshivas Ohr Torah, Ms Canning was given a glimpse of exemplary peer learning in one of the shiur rooms with one bochur explaining a difficult concept to a group using the whiteboard and carefully constructed arguments, with the participants fully engaged and clearly enjoying the learning. Rabbi Pinczewski commented that, ‘sometimes negative caricatures are circulated, portraying yeshivas as places of enforced study-by-rote. The boys at Yeshivas Ohr Torah shared their high-level academic work and text books, demonstrating the breadth of their learning, and the complex cognitive skills that they develop.’
A quick tour of major communal facilities provided further insight into Charedi life and its strong values.
The visit to Beis Hatalmud provided an awareness into a secondary school with a predominantly yeshiva-style learning filled day with a short but intensive, highly condensed Chol programme.
The visit concluded with a walkaround in Yesoiday HaTorah School.
Rabbi Dr Jonathan (Yonasan) Yodaiken showed Ms Canning around the school, particularly focusing upon the delivery of the general studies curriculum and the emphasis on middos (character traits) and personal development. In addition, a focus was placed upon the cross curricular input from the Kodesh curriculum into so many facets of pupils’ development.
In a round table discussion after the tour, issues discussed included creating a positive learning environment, high standard of writing and staff training, as well as the importance of a holistic approach to delivering the curriculum. Rabbi Yodaiken also shared the good outcome of the school’s recent Ofsted inspection and described the school’s comprehensive self-evaluation and school improvement process.
Anne Canning, Group Director for Children, Adult and Community Health at London Borough of Hackney