By Jonathan Kalmus
Two members of the House of Lords have spoken in support of London’s top performing Jewish primary school as plans move forward for the parent-funded school to gain state funding.
Lords Jonathan Kestenbaum and Robert Winston, both education experts, praised Noam Primary School in Wembley as “remarkable.” Since opening in 1999 in response to a lack of places in state-aided Jewish schools, the school has been funded privately by parents.
Speaking at the Wembley school’s fundraising dinner on Tuesday night, Lord Winston decried the situation.
“What we are at risk of doing in our society is undervaluing the single most important profession that shapes society, the profession of teachers. What we are doing by supporting a school like Noam is the most important thing we do as a Jewish community – to nurture, promote and protect the next generation,” he said.
Lord Kestenbaum, also a guest speaker, told the audience of 250 diners at The Hive in Edgware: “Both Lord Winston and I are here tonight to pay tribute and to lend our support to a remarkable school, and we hope everyone in our community will also.”
The 170-pupil school topped SAT results for London Jewish primaries in 2016 and has been singled out by the mayor of London as one of the capital’s top schools.
Pupils were selected for a Brexit debate at Speaker’s House in Westminster chaired by Speaker of the Commons John Bercow. They also beat 24 Jewish schools from around the country to win the Etgar Jewish knowledge quiz 2 years running.
Noam is now in lengthy consultations with Barnet Council to gain state funding. It is waiting for the complex process to be given the green light by the local authority, which also involves a new purpose-built school premises in Burnt Oak.
Chair of governors Shelley Kelaty said: “We are excited about making significant headway towards getting our outstanding school the public funding we think it deserves. We thank Lord Kestenbaum and Lord Winston for their outspoken support and pay tribute to our stoic parents and supporters for their ongoing and unwavering partnership to provide the country’s best Jewish education for our children.”