South London inches closer to getting a Jewish primary school

By Simon Rocker, December 8, 2011

The prospects of south London finally getting a Jewish school are looking brighter with supporters preparing to submit an application to the Department for Education in February.

A group representing Orthodox, Reform, Liberal and Masorti families across the area hope to open a one-form-entry primary free school in September 2013.

Natalie Katz, a member of the steering committee, said the Government's free school system had created a "window of opportunity we want to take advantage of. There have been two or three attempts to set up a Jewish school in south London but nothing has ever got this far. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make it happen."

The school would operate with a cross-communal ethos with at least half of its places reserved for Jewish children and the other half allocated on a geographical basis. It will probably be situated in the Wandsworth/Richmond area.

Mrs Katz, the mother of four-year-old twins, who attends Wimbledon Chabad, said: "We are looking for a building but it's likely we will have temporary accommodation in the first couple of years.

Now is the time to get people registering their children

"We are stepping up marketing because now is the right time to get people registering their children for intake in 2013.

"Some people have talked of moving from north London and we've even got interest from people in South Africa who want to move to London."

In the south London boroughs generally, there was a huge demand for primary places with "serious waiting lists" at local schools, she said.

"We've got 40 people from across south London involved in this project and there's real drive and energy. We want the school to be a focal point for the Jewish community going forward."

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Last updated: 1:20pm, December 8 2011