Golders Green applies for free school

By Robyn Rosen, May 26, 2011

Parents in Golders Green have applied to the government to open a free primary school which has the backing of the Chief Rabbi.

Golders Green Jewish Primary would be modern Orthodox in outlook. Its supporters want it to open in 2012 as part of the Department for Education's free schools programme, giving parents the power to start their own local schools.

Under the scheme, the school would be required to accept 50 per cent of pupils on a faith basis and 50 per cent on proximity.

Rachel Clark, chair of the GGJPS steering committee and a local primary school teacher, spoke of a chronic shortage of school places in Barnet.

"I have always been interested in pushing the boundaries to see what education we can provide in this country," she said. "We hope to set up a school to provide a thorough and rigorous education while also providing something locally maintained schools cannot offer by following the national curriculum. We can put a more creative slant on it. Having a broad spectrum of pupils will give it an extra boost.

"Every child will have a rigorous text-based study. Boys will be expected to wear kippot and tzitzit and there will be morning prayers every day."

The committee has identified a purpose-built site in Golders Green but declined to reveal the location.

Golders Green Synagogue rabbi and school principal-designate Harvey Belovski added: "It would be hard to overestimate the vital contribution that GGJPS will make both to the Jewish community and to society in general.

"Apart from addressing the acute lack of suitable primary school places for local families, GGJPS will be a true community school which teaches authentic Jewish values, as well as seeking to fully implement them within the wider world to the benefit of all."

Giving his support, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks said: "Golders Green and the surrounding area need a Jewish primary school. From it, you will see blessings for generations to come."

The committee will learn in July if the project has been shortlisted for free school status.

Etz Chaim in Mill Hill and Eden Primary in Haringey were among the first 16 applications accepted for free school status and are set to open in September.

    Last updated: 12:18pm, May 27 2011