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Tonight is the start of Yom Kippur, for many the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. The day has many names including Yom haDin, the day of judgement. This week our governors got together to consider another kind of judgement.

As a new school, we know that during the year we will be getting a visit from Ofsted. An inspector will be coming at some point this year to make a judgement about the progress our children are making and the quality education in our school. As well as gaining the views of parents, the inspector will also meet with governors and the session on Wednesday evening gave our governors an opportunity to think through their roles in helping the inspector come to a judgement about Alma.

Of course we all make judgements. It is something we are hardwired to do. We ask ourselves questions such as whether this person or situation is safe? Do I need to console or confront? Teaching children to make sensible and safe judgements is a task that helps them to make the best of their education, but more importantly helps to make the best of life's rich opportunities.

Making judgements also relates to apologies. We have been encouraging the children this week to look at themselves and think about the things for which they can say sorry. Learning to apologise is an important skill, but so is the learning the judgement of whether to accept or reject a proffered apology. Is it genuine? Is the person apologising because they are truly sorry, or because they are forced by a teacher or by society to say sorry? Will they just do the same thing again tomorrow or next week? Judaism teaches us that if we have a genuine apology to give, the person we need to talk to may not listen the first time, or even the second. The rabbis encourage us to offer each apology three times, in order to ensure that the person to whom we have apologised can see that we are truly sorry. By learning to genuinely and honestly apologise for our mistakes, we can learn to grow and by teaching children to both give and accept apologies with a whole heart they can also learn to make good judgements.

Gmar hatima tova,
Marc Shoffren

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