Agreement to establish first ORT-affiliated school in the UK


10 June 2005 World ORT has signed a landmark agreement with Britains Jewish Community Secondary School (JCoSS) Trust that formalises its role in what will be the countrys first inclusive Jewish secondary school. Due to open by 2009, subject to Government approval of the 46 million ($84 million) grant application in September, JCoSS will be the first school in the UK to be affiliated to World ORT. I am delighted that ORT is working in partnership with JCoSS on this most exciting and innovative new secondary school, said World ORT Director General Robert Singer. For many years now ORT has nurtured an aspiration to be involved with a school in this country that will match the exacting educational and technological criteria that ORT maintains in our 800 educational institutions around the world. We believe that in JCoSS we have found such a partnership. Mr Singer noted the symbolic as well as practical significance of the event. During the war, ORT reopened its Berlin school in northern England with refugees from Nazi Germany. Now, 60 years after that school was closed and the world is commemorating the victory over fascism, it is a symbol of the resilience of the Jewish people that we are now preparing this major project to benefit this major Jewish community. World ORT will have two seats on the schools board of governors and will advise on the design of buildings, laboratories and classrooms. The JCoSS syllabus will adhere to the National Curriculum but will be developed beyond government requirements in partnership with World ORT, particularly with regard to science and technology. ORT, in coordination with the community and the local education authority, will also provide assistance and training on integrating information and communications technology to other teachers in the north London suburb in which JCoSS will be situated. JCoSS joint chairman Jonathan Fingerhut said the school would remain an independent, state-funded secondary school that would not require funding by ORT. We will benefit from our access to ORTs world leading integration of technology while ORT will realise their aspiration of being involved in the UK education system, Mr Fingerhut said. He told Britains prestigious Jewish newspaper, The Jewish Chronicle: We are hoping to become a specialist school in science with a focus on biotechnology and nanotechnology and ORT will help us to implement that. Celebrating the signing of the JCoSS-World ORT agreement (from left): World ORT Executive Committee member Mark Mishon, British ORT co-Chairman David Woolf, JCoSS trustee and joint Chairman Linda Cooke, JCoSS trustee and legal advisor Richard Gold, British ORT co-Chairman Alan Goldman, JCoSS Trustee Marc Herman, World ORT Director General Robert Singer, JCoSS joint Chairman Jonathan Fingerhut and World ORT Deputy Director General Dr Gideon Meyer. The school will offer educational excellence based on equal treatment of all strands of Jewish belief and practice, augmented by the teaching of wider multiculturalism. It will have places for 1,260 students between the ages of 11 and 18 who are accepted as Jewish by Britains recognised synagogue organisations. It will also have a specialist unit for children with a range of profound and multiple learning disabilities that will be provided by Norwood Anglo-Jewrys largest children and family services charity. Already, more than 200 parents have registered their children as prospective pupils by visiting JCoSSs website ( This supports the findings of a survey by Carrick James Market Research that showed that parents from every section of the Jewish community by a difference of 64 per cent to 16 per cent would prefer to send their children to a Jewish, rather than a non-Jewish, secondary school. Furthermore, 60 per cent of respondents (against 23 per cent) thought it was also important that such a school should have an inclusive ethos. What these figures show is that an inclusive Jewish secondary school will thrive and be capable of attracting large numbers of pupils, Mr Fingerhut said. It is now clear that JCoSS has a major role to play in bringing back to Judaism young people who might otherwise lose their identity and be lost to the community. At the signing ceremony, Mr Fingerhut thanked British ORT co-Chairmen Alan Goldman and David Woolf for their pivotal roles in bringing the JCoSS-ORT collaboration to fruition. Mr Goldman, who has been working on the JCoSS project for two years, told The Jewish Chronicle: This school fits the ORT ethos completely and that is why we got involved. For that I must pay tribute to the vision of the JCoSS committee for putting this together and creating a school that meets our vocational requirements. Subject to approval by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), the school will be built on the current East Barnet Upper School site in New Barnet an area of north-west London with a large Jewish population. East Barnet School will be redeveloped concurrently with a completely new building nearby. Concept visual of the Jewish Community secondary school JCoSS trustee and joint-Chairman Linda Cooke said the new ORT-affiliated school had been designed by a non-Jewish architect but if the plans were viewed from the correct angle the building took on the shape of the Hebrew word chai. Its serendipity, Ms Cooke said.