Beis Yaakov Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Beis Yaakov Primary School's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Beis Yaakov Primary School is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Headteacher Ellie Bialoglowski
Computing lesson in the
ICT suite
Beis Yaakov Primary is the largest all-girls state-aided
Orthodox Jewish school in the UK, serving more than 500
pupils between the age of three and 11 years. It offers
a unique education, with a focus on teaching the national
curriculum combined with a programme of Jewish studies.
It caters for the Jewish faith community and occasionally
creates a bulge year in response to the community’s needs.
Headteacher Ellie Bialoglowski, who was appointed in 2017,
about how they balance the two
curricula while achieving strong results.
Beis Yaakov is a truly unique place for a number of reasons. Firstly, we provide
an outstanding education in Jewish studies that is recognised nationwide, while
offering an Ofsted “good” rated national curriculum education. We manage to
combine two curricula and our results show that pupils perform well and have an
enriched learning experience. Being a Jewish, community-based faith school, the
pupils tend to know one another, and a lively, friendly atmosphere is evident.
All of our pupils travel to school by car, bus, rota or minibus since none of our
cohort live in NW9, the postcode of the school, which is located at a distance from
where the Orthodox Jewish community resides. Despite the distance from home to
school, we continue to be in high demand because of the excellent, comprehensive
education we offer. Parents are prepared to make the necessary rotas in order to
send their pupils to Beis Yaakov.
We are voluntary-aided, with a team of governors that works tirelessly to achieve
the best outcomes for our pupils and community. The governors come from a
Ellie Bialoglowski
»Founded in 1972
»Based in Colindale, London
»Type of school: Voluntary-
aided faith school
»No. of pupils: Over 500
»No. of staff: 89, 40 of which
are staff for the Jewish studies
Beis Yaakov Primary
Highlighting best practice
range of backgrounds, which they put
to use to provide both support and
challenge. Our building is old and based
in a slightly inaccessible environment
on the Edgware Road, but we have
built up, rather than out, in order to
accommodate the ever-expanding
We have a private Ofsted-registered,
on-site crèche that caters for children
aged three months to three years. The
crèche caters for the children of staff,
thereby enabling staff to return to
work following maternity leave. The
crèche parents pay a subsidised rate to
utilise this service and our governors
ensure that the rest of the crèche costs
Two outstanding curricula
Part of our mission is to provide a
first-rate education to the northwest
London Orthodox Jewish community.
As part of our Jewish studies
programme, we teach pupils to
read and write Hebrew script and
understand passages from the Torah.
They learn to translate between the
two languages from nursery, while
the children learn to distinguish their
English letters and sounds. Despite
spending a proportion of the timetable
on Jewish studies, our pupils still attain
good grades in national curriculum
assessments. To ensure pupils receive
an enriching education in both
curricula, we employ staff who are
capable of teaching either the national
curriculum or the Jewish subjects to
a high standard. This ensures that
all teachers are specialists in their
particular subject.
We have an extended school day, from
8.40am to 4.00pm, in order to provide
further teaching time. Thanks to some
of the time being dedicated to the
Jewish studies programme, all teachers
are aware of the need to maximise
each lesson fully, ensuring there is a
clear focus in each lesson. Staff are
confident with respect to the learning
objectives and look out for pupil
attainment and progress in all lessons.
This helps to create a high standard of
teaching across the subjects.
While we have a low number of
pupils receiving pupil premium,
we have families that we regard as
requiring additional funding because
of their mitigating circumstances.
Many Orthodox Jewish families are
quite large and some live in cramped
housing conditions. It is important that
we as a school recognise the limitation
of opportunities that may affect some
large families, so that we can offer
each child the individual attention and
opportunities that they require.
In order to be able to offer tuition in
Jewish studies, the number of staff at
our school is larger than other schools
of our size. This creates a more diverse
staff, however, with each bringing
different experiences to their teaching.
Since we devote some hours to the
Jewish studies curriculum, we can
usually accommodate staff who want
to work part-time. This is an attractive
incentive for recruiting staff who want
to work part-time.
The school undergoes both an Ofsted
and a Jewish studies inspection
that determines the quality of our
educational provision, including
Our rooftop pitch
Beis Yaakov is
a truly unique
curriculum, assessment and
Making the best of our
As a large school based on a busy main
road in an urban environment, we
have a small playground and limited
parking spaces. We have creatively
managed to create additional sports
and recreational spaces by building an
open-air court on our roof. This gives
us additional valuable space for PE
lessons and break times. Generously,
the governors fund parking spaces in a
nearby multistorey car park so that our
staff don’t have to walk too far with
heavy books.
The support and generosity of our
governors is truly one of our great
strengths. Our parent association
is also active and supportive of the
school, demonstrated by the fact that
they recently raised £9,000 with the
2019 cook-off competition whereby
ten parents had one hour to create
a dish. This social event, apart from
raising much-needed funds that will
be ploughed back into the school, also
showed the parents how a range of
healthy and delightful meals can be
cooked at home.
Another issue we take pride in is
how we help the pupils to aspire to
achieve beyond primary and secondary
school. Through a rich extracurricular
programme and a dedicated wellbeing
co-ordinator, we take steps to
encourage all our pupils to reach their
potential and instil a confidence that
they can achieve more than they may
consider possible. A big part of this is
inviting parents to school productions
and activity events, so they can enjoy
the hard work their children have
put in. These activities are very well
supported, but this can place pressure
on us to continue to organise high-
quality events.
We take a caring and nurturing
approach to behaviour. As a result,
we see low levels of bullying and
disruption and have children who
are confident and happy in their
environment. Our emphasis on
social and emotional wellbeing is an
important aspect of this and something
that is important for pupils of all ages.
It is just as important that a child leaves
us happy and confident, as they do
with good grades. We truly educate
the whole child.
The support and
generosity of our
governors is truly
one of our great
The head of the Jewish studies department runs the separate
curriculum relatively autonomously, and we have a close working
relationship that ensures the pupils’ educational, emotional and social
needs are being met.
Our Jewish studies leader was proactive in organising an international
Jewish education conference recently in Amsterdam for over 500
delegates, which discussed educational issues, including active
learning, social media, differentiation, ADHD and dyslexia provision,
among many other topics. This conference saw educators arrive from
various countries and cities in Europe and America.
Our Jewish studies provision is of such a high standard that other
teachers have travelled to observe our classes and discuss ideas with
our staff. The Jewish education conference is further evidence of
how highly regarded our service is. Our reputation has also helped
us attract former alumni to return as teachers. Their passion for the
school is great to witness and it helps retain a link between past and
present generations.
Part of our nursery

This article was sponsored by Beis Yaakov Primary School. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development