Side by Side School Launches Fundraising Campaign needed for Essential Relocation
Submitted to: Education 
Posted: January 18 2007


18 January 2007 ( - Side by Side School has launched a substantial fundraising campaign to raise the much needed funds for an essential relocation.

Side by Side is an integrated nursery and special needs school - a pioneering establishment for the orthodox Jewish community - which educates children with special needs alongside those without. It was founded 10 years ago by Mrs. Rebecca Rumpler, now Director of the registered Side by Side charity, two years after her own son was born with Downs Syndrome. At this time, Mrs. Rumpler was struggling to find a school that would consider enrolling her son. When it became apparent that none of the local schools or nurseries were either equipped or willing to consider him due to his special requirements, she decided that the only option was to look after him herself.

Keen that her son should not have to grow up without the interaction he would experience at school, Mrs. Rumpler began a playgroup for her nieces and nephews. Within 18 months she found herself looking after 12 children. She had, almost inadvertently, started a school and Side by Side was born.

With Side by Side based in Mrs Rumplerís house and children occupying every room, it was obvious that the school had outgrown its current premises and the decision to move to a larger site was quickly taken.

During its ten years, Side by Side has continued to grow. It has been based at its current site in Big Hill since 2004, which whilst it has served them well, was never intended to be a permanent location as the school is functioning in temporary portacabin buildings.

In September 2006, the land contracts were finally exchanged for a section of the plot that was previously the site of Avigdor Primary School. This is obviously a positive first step, but Side by Side cannot do this alone. £10m is needed to construct and fully-equip the new school building; no small task considering that Side by Side school cares for over 60 children (as well as an ever-increasing waiting list), employs 60 teachers, five therapists and has 30 dedicated volunteers. With so many children with varying special needs and disabilities, the new school needs specialist facilities including a sensory room, soft play room and music room, amongst many others.

Side by Side has recently signed an agreement with Hackney Council, entitling them to remain at Big Hill until March 2008 which provides a clear deadline for the completion of the project and the much needed funds. For, if the £10m target is not achieved by this date, the children of Side by Side will find themselves without the resource on which they so heavily rely.


Penny Jones

The PR Office

5 - 12 Mandela Street



Tel: 020 7383 3623

Fax: 020 7383 5595

Mob: 07876 277057



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