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The world turned upside down – a purim blog

As many of you are aware, it’s been quite a busy week. Following the announcement on Tuesday that our school will gain a permanent site in the former Whetstone police station (click here for our announcement), and the completion of the sale on Wednesday, we have been approached by the Education Fun-ing Agency and the Metrojollytan Police, with an exciting proposal: in order to make best use of the site, we have been asked to combine our school with a police training college, during the period in which the school is still growing.

We are overjoyed to have this chance to work more inclusively with an even wider group, however there are a number of important implications of this joint venture, which I wanted to bring to the attention of the Alma community:

School logo. As a symbol of the joint venture we will creating a new school logo, utilising our own globe flanked by the two lions and topped by the crown of the Metropolitan Police service. The new logo will be placed on our school sign, on all correspondence and on any uniform sold from 2015.

Uniform. In light of the joint venture we will be introducing helmets as part of the uniform. These will be available from September 2015 in the Alma colours, and the first helmet will be issued free to each child, however, if lost parents will be expected to pay for replacements. Staff will also be expected to wear helmets, whilst on school trips and in meetings with parents. In addition to headwear, footwear will need to conform with the appropriate British standard for policing and PE kits will include padded vests, more details of which will be sent to you at an appropriate time.

Curriculum. The joint use of the site will, of course, have implications for the curriculum. We believe that this will be a great opportunity to help our children develop civic responsibility and learn about important aspects of life such and crime scene etiquette and armed response times. We recognise the importance of learning useful talents such as riding a motorcycle whilst using into a walkie-talkie and drawing with chalk around complicated shapes. We are confident that all our children will benefit from learning such skills.

Extra-curricular activities. Another benefit of this initiative will be the additional clubs we can offer, in interesting areas such as forensics, neighbour hood watch and community policing.

We are all thrilled to have secured a permanent place for the school, which we are sure will be a site of learning and enjoyment for generations to come.

This weekend is Purim, a festival of clowning and merriment. It is often referred to as a time when the world is turned upside down. Typical celebrations include dressing up and spurious news articles full of nonsense. I hope that whatever you choose to do, you have a fun filled weekend.

Shabbat shalom and hag sameakh – happy Purim.

Marc Shoffren


Above and Beyond

It is often the unexpected within the familiar that grabs our attention. On Wednesday we took our Reception class to see Red Riding Hood at the Little Angel Theatre in Islington and two things stood out for me. The first was a kindly wolf.

We give thanks (and flowers)

On February 14th, just before our half term break, whilst others were celebrating Valentines Day with roses, a group of our children went to give pansies to residents at Dell Field Court, a local care home in North Finchley.

The flowers had been planted in mid-January as part of a Tu Bishvat initiative, organised by Mitzvah Day and Jewish Interactive. The idea was for children all over the country to decorate flower pots and take them to the elderly, but at Alma we decided to go a step further

Healthy (digital) Diets

“The rules!" shouted Ralph, "you're breaking the rules!" One of the key messages of William Golding’s novel ‘Lord of the Flies’ is that, given total freedom, it can be a struggle to make the right choices.

Next Tuesday is SID, Safer Internet Day, an international event designed to remind us all of the dangers that can exist online for young people. As technology becomes more enmeshed in our lives,

Active Kids

activekidsWe are collecting Sainsbury’s Active Kids Vouchers which you can collect in-store, online and at Sainsbury’s petrol stations between Wednesday 29th January and Tuesday 20 May 2014.  We are hoping to get lots of vouchers for activity and cooking equipment for our school.
Please give vouchers to the office.

Singing from the heart

‘I show my mum I love her through hugs’, Joseph told us. This week we have been speaking about matters of the heart. Learning to understand our own emotions and those of others is an important part of our approach at Alma. How we feel about things, and how we show what we feel, is as important as the things we know, since feelings often have more influence than thinking on our actions.

You Can’t Do That!

Marriage, as the old joke goes, is not a word but a sentence. The double meaning of sentence, is shared by the Hebrew word ‘mishpatim’, which means rules or laws, as well as a grammatical unit of sense. For the average five year old rules abound. Children are subject to a vast range of rules imposed by those seeking to control their behaviour, and for this reason in our reception class this week explored the concept of laws by asking the children if rules are important.


We had a tree-mendous day yesterday, learning, planting, making decorations, dancing and singing, all in the name of nature. Tu B’shvat, the Jewish New Year or ‘Birthday of the trees’, was a time for us all to reflect on the importance of trees and plants to our lives.

Thriving Sharansky

On December 24th I sat in a meeting with Natan Sharansky, exploring ways to enhance Jewish life and thinking about the importance of thriving.

I was at Limmud conference, an exciting event which attracted over 2,700 people to learn as well as to enjoy music, theatre and art. Sharansky, a human rights activist and author, is famous as a ‘refusenik’,one of the many Jews who were refused permission to leave Russia to go and live in Israel in the 1970s.

Diligent Partners

The Zulu expression “Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu” expresses the idea that ‘a person is a person because of other people’. We have come to the end of our first term together and we have a number of successes to celebrate, but foremost in my mind is the partnerships we have created.