King Solomon High School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by King Solomon High 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 King Solomon High 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

Highlighting best practice
Head teacher, Hannele Reece
Student leadership team
Kantor King Solomon High School is considered an ideal
model for society by those who work within it. It is a
perfect reflection of all the things that make London and
the UK great. As a Jewish faith school, it remains staunchly
committed to the Jewish values of learning, community and
charity, and as a school in East London, it welcomes those of all
faiths and those of none. Hannele Reece, acting head of Kantor
King Solomon High School, writes about how the institution
focuses upon the things that unite us, not those that divide.
This focus is manifested in an inclusive and caring environment,
where students know their voice is important but understand
that their voice must be not only tolerant of others but also
interested and engaged with what they have to say.
We are made up of families from all faiths; though predominantly from East London
and Essex Jewish and Muslim families, we also consist of students from every other
faith and those of no faith at all. We speak over 50 languages and represent over
30 nations while all calling London our home. Multiculturalism has often been
conflated with a purported lack of identity, but we do not suffer from this.
The importance of our history for the future of our children
We are an unashamedly Orthodox Jewish school and our cultural heritage is
neither insignificant nor unimportant. Many of our Jewish families fled from the
pogroms of the Russian Empire to find freedom, and often poverty, in East London.
»Head teacher: Hannele Reece
»Founded in 1993
»Based in Barkingside,
»Type of school: Voluntary-
aided mixed comprehensive
school for students aged
»No. of students: 1,021
»No. of staff: 136
»Pupil premium: 27 per cent
»Ofsted stated that “leaders
place pupils’ welfare before
anything else” in May 2016
Kantor King Solomon
High School
Therefore, we cannot ignore the pain
of other minority groups searching
for a fresh start. The Holocaust
also defines who we are, but not
in a defensive, insular manner. We
focus instead on the importance
of defending those who cannot
adequately defend themselves.
Israel is important to us, an ancient
land which, as well as being the
site of a significant
Homo ergaster
population, is now at the forefront
of technology, producing six Nobel
Prize-winning scientists since 2004.
Our students draw from Israel to learn
their social, religious and cultural
context regardless of faith. In a school
like Kantor King Solomon, identity is
important and we work hard to help
our students understand who they
are and to teach them how to fight
for themselves. As our motto reads:
“If I am not for myself, who will be
for me?” Students at Kantor King
Solomon learn to do more than just
pass exams – the basic expectation
of any school – they learn how to be
themselves, whoever that might be.
Our children in the wider
At Kantor King Solomon, students
also learn to question, develop
and contribute to our community
through our Haderech (“the path”)
programme. Students learn to be
useful to others, whether that is as a
student observer helping to improve
teaching and learning, as a buddy
helping younger students on their
journey, as part of our student council
or as part of our Tzedekah (“charity”)
committees. Students know who they
are and as a result are able to push
themselves to help others. Students
regularly volunteer in the local
community. Examples of this can be
seen in the Vi and John Rubens House,
a senior care home where our children
entertain the residents by organising
parties, preparing their lunches and
simply talking with them, and in
the collection of food parcels for
Redbridge Food Bank. This year they
have selected a local (Haven House),
national (the National Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Children) and
international (World Jewish Relief)
charity to support and promote. As our
school motto continues: “If I am only
for myself, who am I?”
Our children in the future
Kantor King Solomon is not a school
for the future; in uncertain times
when “different” can be perceived
as “bad”, Kantor King Solomon is a
school for today. Our students learn
to take action immediately and not
If I am not for
myself, who
will be for
New technologies at
Kantor King Solomon
Highlighting best practice
to wait for others to take the lead –
notto be an onlooker but a leader.
Our Haderech programme exemplifies
this. Student observers learn how to
observe lessons and give feedback to
teachers in a controlled and respectful
way. Our student council consults the
student body on their concerns and
presents their findings to the senior
leadership. They accept that they
will not always get what they want,
but they are learning that it is better
to propose solutions than complain
about problems. Our sports leaders in
years 10-13 organise and run sports
day and other events for our local
primary schools. These examples all
demonstrate the different ways in
which our students are learning to
lead. Our students have gone on to
be successful in fields ranging from
sport to science and many return to
education and even to Kantor King
Solomon. In a world where the threat
of terrorism and extremism threatens
to divide us, communities like ours
remind us of the need for unity. Our
year 9 students, in conjunction with
Kidscape, recently took part in a series
of workshops designed to help them
recognise and prevent extremism. Our
students learn the difference between
having beliefs and identity and forcing
those beliefs and identities onto
others. Our “LGBT Week” focuses on
the importance of diversity and the
need to accept everyone on their own
terms, not focusing on a label.
As a religious school, we foster and
encourage our students on their own
religious journey. In years 9 and 10,
students visit Israel, in year 12 they visit
Poland and our lower school students
have the opportunity to be involved
in all the traditional Jewish rites of
passage. Students of other faiths share
their own religious rites of passage
with their peers, whether it be our
Muslim students beginning to attend
Friday prayers or wearing a headscarf.
Religious studies lessons all begin with
the key Jewish beliefs before looking
at other religious viewpoints. Our
“thought for the week” always echoes
the key dates in the Jewish calendar
and those of other faiths, taking Jewish
texts and applying them to the modern
world in which our students live. As our
motto finishes: “If not now, when?”
Kantor King Solomon is an Orthodox
Jewish school on the border of East
London and Essex that welcomes all.
Please accept my invitation to come
and see us in person and take a tour
around the grounds with one of
If I am only for
myself, who
am I?
Tzedekah – year 9
students fundraising for
the school charities

This article was sponsored by King Solomon High 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 Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy