Jewish school choice narrows in Herts

Jewish parents in Hertfordshire could find it harder to get their children into a Jewish primary school next autumn owing to a change in national admission procedures.

From now on, they can apply for places only through their local council - and Hertfordshire permits only three choices, including schools outside the borough. Some councils allow six.

Howard Lee is hoping to find a place for his son at a Jewish school next year. He said: "Considering the shortage of places available at all Jewish primary schools, this unnecessary restriction on Hertfordshire families limits our chances of a securing a place at one even further."

He pointed out that if he lived a mile away in Edgware in the borough of Barnet, he would have six preferences.

Last year, Hertfordshire offered his son a place at a non-Jewish school in the borough but Mr Lee opted to keep him for a further year at his Jewish nursery in Borehamwood.

A Hertfordshire spokesman explained: "Under the national Admissions Code, local authorities are allowed a minimum of three preferences and a maxmium of six - we have determined ours to be three.

"Previously people could apply for three preferences in Hertfordshire and for up to six more in another London borough. But now they can only apply through their local authority. If they live in Hertfordshire, it's three - which would include applications to schools outside the borough."

There has been a growing demand for places at Jewish primary schools in Hertfordshire and outer north-west London.

Councillor Alan Plancey, a member of Hertfordshire's education committee, said: "I have spoken to the chairman of the committee about this and it is being investigated to see what we can do."

    Last updated: 3:21pm, October 21 2010