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Hebrew School looks back as new chapter begins

The Hebrew Primary School (HPS) has looked back at change and progress over the years as they close a chapter and plan for new beginnings.

The management structure at the school is changing this year and Headteacher Mr Lomax, who has been at the helm of the school for a decade, has highlighted the work of staff and teachers.

HPS is a small community Government school where originally low pupil numbers meant that children were vertically streamed with children of different ages in one class.

However, as pupil numbers grew, school year groups were respected and all children were taught in mixed-ability age group settings.

“Over the years, our provision of mixed ability teaching has evolved into a more holistic practice where personalisation of learning drives and motivates all children to learn in their own individual way with tools and resources to best support their preferred approach to learning,” Mr Lomax said.

With support from the Department of Education, there was an investment in digital technology in primary schools and HPS piloted Seesaw, a home-school communication application.

“After an initial trial, the Seesaw platform proved very successful with parents and teachers at HPS,” Mr Lomax said.

“Subsequently, this became the platform by which Home Learning was successfully delivered by all Primary Government Schools during the Covid-19 lockdowns.”

Building on this, HPS invested heavily in iPad technology in the classroom so as to fully embrace 21st century skills, encouraging children to work collaboratively and communicate their real world learning in creative and innovative ways.

With coding becoming an important learning focus in the National Curriculum and with support from the Department of Education, HPS trialled the first SpheroBOLT robots to develop children’s coding skills in preparing them for the future.

“We have since been approached to deliver inservice training on SpheroBOLT robots to other schools,” Mr Lomax said.

“There are now three schools using SpheroBOLT robots in their provision of coding in the curriculum.”

He added that HPS has been working hard to go paperless and, as well as embracing digital technology, HPS also adopted a multi-sensory approach to learning.

“All children benefit from multi-sensory learning, not just those with additional needs,” Mr Lomax said.

“This has also helped us to increase opportunities for pupil choice, encouraging children to choose how they wish to showcase their learning.”

“So as to inspire creativity in our teachers and bolster confidence in others, we started a Tag-Team-Tuesday initiative.”

Mr Lomax added that HPS has led on in-service training to other schools in areas such as personalisation of learning, Seesaw, coding using SpheroBOLT robots, multi-sensory learning, iPad use for creative collaborative work and project-based learning.

As a farewell to the school, current staff organised the ‘Big Art Project’.

Earlier in the year, all schools in Gibraltar were invited to help celebrate HPS and be part of their Big Art Project.

Those that have been able to have contributed art installations and pieces to convert the school into a garden.

Secondary schools have created large flowers with primary schools encouraged to create butterflies symbolising transitions, growth, rebirth and new beginnings.

“Bringing all schools together to celebrate the transformation that HPS has grown through has been truly magnificent,” Mr Lomax said.

Gibraltar Girls’ High School and Gibraltar Boys’ Secondary School pupils worked collaboratively with HPS learners to create their big art installations which can be seen on display around the school.

The large butterfly mobile was created in collaboration with all upper primary schools in Gibraltar and hangs symbolically in the centre of the school building to appreciate and recognise change, transformations and new beginnings.

“With new beginnings comes change,” Mr Lomax said.

“We acknowledge that change can be scary and challenge us to adapt, evolve and emerge from adversity with newfound strength.”

“Like the butterfly, HPS has gone through a metamorphic change over the years. Looking back, Team HPS is very proud to have been able to transform HPS, and look forward to the many exciting opportunities that lie ahead for everyone: staff, learners and their families.”

He thanked all those who have been part of the HPS journey so far and wished everyone at the school all the best for the future.

Hebrew School changes management structure

The Hebrew School has changed its management structure, which will see a Board of Governors run the school.

The Government has confirmed that all 12 teachers have requested transfers to other schools and have been deployed on identical terms and conditions.

According to GBC, the Hebrew school will be a “state-aided” school, meaning it will operate as an independent school that is partly funded by the state.

In an interview, Chair of the Board of Governors Josh Wine explained the current set-up saw the school run as two schools, with two headteachers and two separate policies.

He said the secular school and religious school will be combined with one team in charge of administration.

The Hebrew School is also set to move from Bomb House Lane to the former site of St Mary’s School

A Government spokesman told the Chronicle the project is at an advanced stage of design in preparation for submission for planning permission.

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