Popular Eden draws pupils from all sides
Reception pupils getting a feel for computer studies at Eden
Eden Jewish Primary in Haringey welcomed children from its 30-strong reception class on Wednesday, as governors' chair Peter Kessler reported that the places could have been filled more than twice over.
Jewish pupils for the first intake of the cross-communal free school have been drawn equally from the Orthodox, Reform and Masorti folds. There are also "a small number" of children without a certificate of Jewish practice. No pupils lives more than a mile-and-a-half from the school.
Mr Kessler attributed the level of demand to "a general shortage of primary school places in this area and the diversity at the centre of the school's ethos striking a chord with the Jewish community".
Without any marketing, there had already been in excess of 100 parents registering interest for the next academic year. And if expressions of interest were translated into applications, "we are oversubscribed for every year up to 2015".
He said that good relations had been established with local synagogues, including a friendly dialogue with United Synagogue ministers Rabbi David Mason (Muswell Hill) and Rabbi Nicky Liss (Highgate).
Mr Kessler cited an offer to pay for the Succot etrogim and lulavs as an example of the commitment to the school from parents without a certificate of Jewish practice. There had also been a suggestion of Hebrew classes for parents, which might be arranged in the longer term.
He added that head teacher Jo Sassienie and her team had been busily finalising plans for the first acadmic term. In eight years, the north Londoner had built up the Beit Rabban Day School in Manhattan from 30 pupils to more than 100. "She is charismatic, extremely organised and has a burning commitment to high quality education."