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Curriculum boost for Jewish Studies

Jewish education has received a major boost with the publication of the first national curricula for Hebrew and Jewish Studies for use in primary schools from September, writes Estelle Maxwell.

The development by the Scopus Jewish Educational Trust aims to fill a gap in the secular national curriculum and has taken five months to draw up following consultations with the Chief Rabbi's office, the School Curriculum Assessment Authority and the Department for Education.

It has a similar framework with programmes of study and level descriptions for use across all four key stages. The Hebrew curriculum at key stages one and two mirrors the structure and approach of the Welsh second language curriculum and is aimed at meeting the learning needs of younger pupils.

At both key stages there are programmes of study for reading, writing and oral work. Pupils are encouraged to share experiences, acquire language skills and share information and opinions in Hebrew, develop phonic and graphic knowledge and are given access to a wide range of literature.

They are encouraged to learn how to write, moving from early emergent letters to a legible style which follows the conventions of written Hebrew including moving from the right to left and top to bottom of the page.

By key stage two it says pupils should be taught in pairs or groups and be able to inititate and sustain a conversation, talk about their interests and hobbies and gather information through a variety of sources.

The Jewish Studies curriculum provides a framework for the design of schemes of work to help pupils become "knowledgeable committed Jews."

Further details of the curriculum may be obtained from Scopus at Balfour House, 741 High Road, Finchley, London N12 OBQ.

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