School's fury on funding

By Robyn Rosen, October 22, 2009

Edgware Jewish Primary chiefs are enraged with the government over the withdrawal of critical funding to progress its transition from a private to state school.

Headteacher Sara Keen confronted Schools Secretary Ed Balls at a conference for faith schools last week to demand answers.

Last December, the school applied to the Department of Children, Schools and Families for capital funding towards a new building. This was through the £327 million Standards and Diversity Fund, of which £138 million was earmarked for independent schools seeking aided status.

However, the department had unexpectedly stopped the funding, leaving the school’s application on hold.

Ms Keen told Mr Balls that the school was in “limbo” and asked how the department would now support EJPS and others in a similar plight.

He responded that the withdrawn money was needed elsewhere during the economic downturn, but the issue would be reconsidered during the next comprehensive spending review in 2011.

He said: “We said two years ago that we would support schools that want to enter the state system from the independent system. We want to make that happen and nothing has changed.”

Governors’ chair Eddy Breuer-Weil said the school would now have to find the money within the community. “We are disappointed that the fund is no longer available but it has given us new resolve to fundraise from other sources from both within and outside the Jewish community.

“EJPS is thriving. The school only began three years ago and we have been oversubscribed every year. We own our own site and have planning permission for a state-of-the-art new facility. We plan to rebuild the school at the earliest opportunity.”

Last updated: 6:18pm, October 22 2009