Sixth annual PaJeS conference took place across two days and included workshops and discussions, as-well-as an address from Amanda Spielman, chief Ofsted Inspector.

The Partnerships for Jewish Schools (PaJeS) has held a two-day head teachers’ conference, welcoming 32 principals from Jewish schools around Britain.

The annual conference, the sixth to date, provides an opportunity for heads to meet, share ideas, and act as a forum for professional development, networking and reflection.

Louisa Weinstein, founder of the Conflict Resolution Centre, led the opening session for primary and secondary head teachers. Her talk, “The Influential Leader”, discussed how to lead with influence to motivate staff, win over parents and curate a collaborative school culture.

Participants attended workshops on the challenges faced by Covid, and opportunities and plans post-Covid, together with discussions on strategic goals and initiatives for which schools would like PaJeS support over the next year. Keynote speaker Amanda Spielman, chief Ofsted Inspector, concluded the first day’s sessions.

Day two split sessions for primary and secondary heads. Robin Lauder, a teaching and learning consultant, spoke to primary school head teachers about practical ways to strengthen and deepen learning and retention for both students and teachers.

Meanwhile, secondary heads joined a discussion led by executive director of PaJeS, Rabbi David Meyer, and Yavneh head teacher Spencer Lewis, on how schools are addressing the diminishing synagogue attendance of young people, and how to connect students with their identity in the years after leaving school.

Raisel Freedman, director of public affairs at PaJeS, provided a public affairs update.

Rabbi Meyer concluded: “The conference was an important opportunity for professional development, networking and strategic planning, which are essential elements in leading our schools. Its success reinforces the importance of supporting our school leaders and through their collaboration raising the standards of education in our schools.”

The event was supported by Genesis Philanthropy Group, the UJIA Ashdown Fellowships and the Runnymede Hotel, where the conference was held.

Marina Yudborovsky, CEO of Genesis Philanthropy Group, added: “The work of PaJeS to enhance formal Jewish education and support Jewish schools in the UK is exemplified by this conference for headteachers. Educational leaders have been working together intensively throughout the pandemic, thanks to the coordination and efforts of PaJeS, and bringing them together for the first time in two years for these two days of joint learning and inspiring sessions is a vital infusion of energy. It is a true pleasure for Genesis Philanthropy Group to support an initiative that provides a forum for constructive dialogue between headteachers from diverse religious backgrounds and geographic locations, enabling reflection on how Jewish schools in the UK can collaborate and develop together, strengthen the Jewish identity of their students, and create new opportunities for Jewish engagement among kids, their parents and school teachers.”