Delamere Invests In Purpose Built Facilities For Special Educational Needs Students At Manchester Mesivta School

As one of the oldest Jewish schools in Manchester, Mesivta’s vision, as set out by the founders back in 1948, was to create an institution that would provide its students with a first class broad and balanced curriculum offering both religious and secular subjects in a caring environment.  Mesivta is a Boys’ High School and is a voluntary aided school within the state system.  The cost of religious education is funded separately by its own charity and parental fees.

The school is inclusive and there are high expectations for the achievement of its SEN students.

In 2017, impressed by the school’s determination to provide the best possible educational experience for all its SEN students, Delamere provided a Gershon Rothman Award to help fund a new dedicated centre for pupils with learning difficulties dedicated to the memory of Delamere’s major benefactor, Gershon Rothman.

The Gershon Rothman SEN Centre contains three well equipped state of the art classrooms where pupils learn key life skills such as planning meals, shopping for the ingredients, using the kitchen, cooking and baking and also computer use. The Centre ensures these pupils can leave Mesivta as independent adults.

The Centre with its resources has had a huge impact on Mesivta’s ability to cater for pupils with SEN and resulted in the employment of a specialist teacher for children with SEN. The school is now able to admit pupils with more profound learning disabilities and the Centre is used daily by approximately 10-15 students with SEN.

Some of these students are there for most of the day. Other students drop in for parts of the day for extra booster sessions or extra-curricular activities. Other activities for pupils with moderate SEN also take place there, such as wine making, art, one-to-one therapy and counselling.

Encouraged by this success, in 2019, Delamere awarded Mesivta a further grant in memory of the late Janette Cattan to create the Delamere Garden.

This supports students with a wide range of Learning Disabilities, from mild to severe, from a sensory and therapeutic perspective, and also educationally. The calming nature of the outdoor environment, water feature and animals is to help those struggling with Anxiety, ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and Sensory Difficulties to find a safe, calming space to self-regulate.  Engaging with nature plus the exercise of digging and planting provides an outlet which allows them to engage more fully with the rest of their school studies.

The hands-on outdoor educational resources (greenhouse, vegetable patch, pond) will enable struggling students to access life skills, gardening therapy, animal care and develop their scientific and environmental awareness. Planting and growing their own food helps students understand where their food comes from and develops healthy eating habits.  Solar panels generate the electricity needed, school food waste provides compost and rainwater collection systems are used to water the garden.

Initially the garden’s pets’ corner will house chickens under an Ethical Hatching Programme created for schools linked to the National Curriculum.

Appreciative Comments

Rabbi Dovid Benarroch, Mesivta’s SENCO, has expressed the school’s gratitude to Delamere for enabling their students to access these facilities.

“Based on the initial success of the SEN Centre, Mesivta is widening its remit and offering places from September 2019 for children with more moderate SEN. These children would normally attend a specialist school rather than a mainstream school. This is a milestone in the provision of SEN in Manchester that Orthodox Jewish children with moderate SEN can now attend a Jewish State Aided school and receive the same provision as a specialist school.  This would not have happened without the support of Delamere.”