Our Jewish ethos is at the core of all that we do, thus our pupils are expected to exemplify the values that they are taught; they are expected to treat others with respect, to contribute to the school community in a positive manner and to play an active part in our tzedakah (charity) and chessed (kindness) campaigns.
We believe that it is important that our pupils recognise their responsibility towards the various communities to which they belong. Our tzedakah activities therefore focus each year on three charities selected by the pupils, one being a British Jewish charity, one a British non-Jewish charity and one an Israeli charity.
We believe that the Hebrew language is more than just a tool to access classical Jewish texts; it is central to Jewish identity in the modern world and forms a link between our pupils and people of the State of Israel. All pupils are taught Ivrit as a modern foreign language at Yavneh College.
In Year 9, pupils have the opportunity to go on a residential Israel trip at the end of the summer term, visiting the scenes of Biblical, historical and cultural interest that they have learnt about at school and gaining a first-hand insight into contemporary Israeli society.
In Year 12, students have the opportunity to visit Poland. In preparation for their visit, they learn about the 1000 years of vibrant history experienced by the Jews of Poland and thereby gain a deeper understanding of what was lost as a consequence of the Holocaust.
We aim for our pupils to leave being comfortable with knowing their way around the siddur and are able to participate when attending services and Jewish events throughout their lives. To this end, an afternoon Minchah service is held daily for all pupils and a morning Shacharit service is held bi-weekly as part of morning assembly and on whole school celebrations such as Purim and Yom Ha’atzmaut. A voluntary shacharit service, followed by breakfast, is held before school as well as a voluntary maariv service in the winter months. For those pupils that attend the morning minyan, a morning shiur is offered which looks at an array of topics. The school has its own synagogue, which further enhances the beauty of our services.
Yavneh College is a school where Jewish values pervade the life of the school, not simply the Jewish Studies lessons. Although our pupils’ knowledge and understanding of their religious heritage is developed through the Jewish Studies curriculum, this is complemented by a stimulating programme of informal Jewish education and cultural activities, tzedakah and other community service activities.
Yavneh College is a modern orthodox school which welcomes pupils from across the spectrum of Jewish practice. We aim to equip our young people with the skills, knowledge and understanding of their religious and cultural heritage to enable them to participate with confidence and enjoyment as members of the Jewish community.
Yavneh College celebrates the existence of the State of Israel as being central to Jewish life. We strive to imbue pupils with a love of God, Torah and Israel and to teach them to respect human diversity and diverse viewpoints. We aim to be a centre of excellence in Jewish and secular studies, where children learn within a stimulating and nurturing environment. Our goal is to produce young people for whom learning Torah and gaining an insight into wider culture is central to their identity. We believe that the study of traditional texts, Hebrew language and Jewish history nurtures a school community characterised by a shared tradition and a passion for learning.
Aims of our Curriculum
- To equip the pupils with the skills knowledge, understanding and love of their religious and cultural heritage and identity.
- To enable pupils to participate with confidence and enjoyment as members of the Jewish community.
- To encourage pupils to see how their Judaism applies to all walks of life
Intent – to provide students with the tools to understand their place within the modern world; the importance of the patriarchs, matriarchs and other role models from whom so much is learnt that is relevant to students’ lives; to cultivate a love of Torah learning and mitzvah observance, a desire to enquire both in school and independently and an appreciation of chavruta-style learning; to offer a Jewish context for their contemporary lives, including the origins and importance of the Land of Israel; to encourage the development of Hebrew language skills to aid textual understanding and interpretation; to understand the importance of respect for difference, whatever form that takes and of personal, social and communal responsibility; to ensure pupils demonstrate and model the ‘Yavneh Way’ both in school and the wider community, emphasising the impact of politeness, kindness, courtesy and respect; to build a firm foundation of knowledge from which to progress successfully to and within Key Stage 5.
Implementation – the curriculum is to be implemented through: exciting and engaging lessons, with cross-curricular input from other departments; motivational learning to inspire and trigger enquiry; ongoing assessment to support success for all; opportunities for collaboration, particularly chavruta-style.
Impact – students will have gained: a thorough grounding in Jewish thought and belief; an understanding of the importance and continued relevance of Jewish heritage and identity; the ability and desire to transform Jewish learning into practice; an appreciation of the centrality of the Land of Israel and of community.
Key Stage 3
Formal Jewish Education
‘Jewish Education at Yavneh College is outstanding.’ (Pikuach 2023)
The Key Stage 3 (KS3) curriculum is divided into two sections; Limudei Kodesh and Jewish History. The formal Jewish Studies Curriculum is enhanced by a comprehensive range of Informal Jewish Education (IJE) activities and Jewish Enrichment opportunities. In Year 7 and 8 all pupils have eight hours of Jewish Studies lessons per fortnight. This is divided into five lessons of Limudei Kodesh, two lessons of Jewish History and one lesson of Informal Jewish Education programme. In Year 9 the IJE lesson is replaced by an additional Jewish History lesson. All pupils also have the opportunity to attend the ‘After School Bet Midrash’ on a Monday evening which helps pupils develop their textual skills.
All students are taught through a broad range of activities designed to develop a variety of literacy, social and mental skills. Below is a list of some of the skills pupils will develop in Jewish Studies at KS3:
- Ability to complete a range of short, medium and long answer questions.
- Reading the text both in Hebrew and English.
- Analyse texts and develop opinions on the text.
- Compare and contrast different mefarshim (commentators) on varied pieces of text.
- Stay focussed and clearly want to improve
- Volunteer for questions or demonstrations
- Solve problems as an individual and as a group
- Identify own strengths and weaknesses
- Describe and explain effective strengths and weaknesses about work
- Showing resilience and determination to complete challenging tasks
- Evaluate a performance and identify WWW and EBI
- Lead a small group in class activities
- Evaluate own, a partner’s or group’s work
- Able to suggest improvements for own, a partner’s or group’s work
- Use verbal and non-verbal communication
- Support the teacher in leading a lesson
- Work well in small groups
- Work well and take lead of larger groups
- Can listen to others
Progress of all pupils in Jewish Studies is constantly monitored. Pupils will be given clear verbal feedback during their lessons on their progress in specific tasks and subsequently be given an opportunity to improve and correct any errors. Pupils will be advised on their strengths and weaknesses and given advice on appropriate opportunities for further improvement.
Jewish history: Our KS3 course has been designed to teach all pupils 2,000 years of Jewish History, from the time of the Second Beit HaMikdash (Temple) up to Jewish life in the 21st century. This course has been specifically designed to end in the Summer Term of Year 9, so that pupils will learn about the history of the State of Israel just before they go on the Yavneh College Israel Tour and see first-hand what they have learnt about in the classroom.
Limudei Kodesh (LK): Our LK course is designed to allow pupils the opportunity to study and explore key passages from different sections of the Tanach (Bible) and Talmud (Oral Law). In Year 7, pupils spend two terms studying passages from Bereshit and one term studying Sefer Yehoshua.
In Year 8, pupils spend two terms studying passages from Shemot and one term studying the book of Shoftim, considering the text, selected commentaries and relevant messages. Topics include how the Jews became slaves in Egypt; the birth of Moshe; Moshe’s revelation; the Sneh (Burning Bush); the cycle of idolatry in Shoftim; the story of Devorah and the story of Shimshon the Judge.
In Year 9, pupils begin the year by studying selected passages from Bamidbar and the remainder of the year studying Sefer Shmuel, text, commentary and its meaning. Topics include Moshe hitting the rock; Moshe sending spies into the land of Canaan and the lives of King Shaul and King David.
Throughout each year, in addition to studying the passages from the text and some selected commentaries, pupils also consider the messages and themes evident and how the Talmud compliments these and enables pupils to see the connection in the modern day.
The pupils get the opportunity to learn about the context of the various chagim (festivals) at the appropriate times of the year as well as the halachot (Jewish laws) relating to each festival. This is complemented by some of the exciting programs the Informal Jewish Education team run. In addition, those pupils in the Bet Midrash track, delve deeper into the Jewish texts behind the laws and chagim and focus on different aspects of the chagim.