Hopes rise for a Jewish secondary

Renewed hopes of the first Jewish secondary school in Leeds have been bolstered by a new wave of support from parents and the Chief Rabbi after a failed application for a free school earlier this year.

Dan Cohen, who is heading the application process, said a second option of a local authority-funded, voluntary aided school is also being considered as an alternative to the free school scheme. But he confirmed that a new free school application will be made in 2012, despite describing the Department for Education's rejection of last year's application as "an error".

Last Thursday, more than 30 parents attended a meeting to support a second application under the Government's free schools scheme. Earlier in the day, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks had visited Brodetsky Jewish primary, which would redevelop part of its campus to host the additional, 210-place school.

Lord Sacks offered support for the high school which has parents of 150 children committed to the plans: "Leeds needs a Jewish secondary school that Brodetsky Primary can feed into."

Mr Cohen said he was also encouraged by Chancellor George Osborne's announcement last week of £600 million to fund 100 new free schools over the next three years.

"This shows there is clear commitment to the free school policy. While it was disappointing that we did not get the go-ahead last year, we did get confirmation that our application met all the key criteria for a free school."

    Last updated: 10:56am, December 9 2011