Education

School entry rules 'fiasco'

By Simon Rocker, September 18, 2009

New school entry rules based on religious practice were slammed as a “fiasco” this week by the chairman of the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue, Rabbi Yitzchak Shochet.

He hit out as synagogues struggled with floods of inquiries from parents trying to ensure their children complied with the new admissions system.

Most Jewish schools have been forced to rewrite their rules after the Appeal Court ruled in June that they could no longer take children simply on the basis of whether their parents were Jewish.

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Synagogue attendance is not essential for JCoSS admission

September 17, 2009

The revised admissions policy for the Jewish Community Secondary School launching in Barnet next September was explained to 1,100 parents and prospective pupils at an open day on Sunday.

As with other Jewish schools, JCoSS has been reviewing its admissions criteria following a Court of Appeal judgment in June. In line with its commitment to be open to all Jews, synagogue attendance does not necessarily have to be a condition of entry. However, JCoSS will require evidence of shul membership or proof of two of three other conditions.

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School goes outside the faith to fill

By Simon Rocker, September 17, 2009

Ilford Jewish Primary School is accepting pupils from other faiths because there have been insufficient Jewish children to fill places.

Headteacher Roz Levin said that for the second academic year, non-Jewish children had been admitted “due to the fact that we are not oversubscribed”.

Five of this year’s 31 entrants to the reception class are not Jewish. Their families understood “we are a Jewish school and we only teach Judaism”, the head explained.

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JCoSS: 'It will do exactly what it says on the tin'

By Robyn Rosen, September 10, 2009

True to his key promotional role for the Jewish Community Secondary School, JCoSS head Jeremy Stowe-Lindner happily adopts a famous advertising phrase to encapsulate his hopes for the £50 million project.

Speaking one year ahead of the opening of the cross-communal school in Westbrook Crescent, Barnet, Mr Stowe-Lindner, 35, opines that JCoSS will “do exactly what it says on the tin.

“What we’re trying to do is create an inclusive, outstanding school in a nurturing environment and we can build that from nothing.”

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Manchester King David aims to avoid points entry system

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 10, 2009

Admissions to Manchester’s King David schools in 2010 will depend upon synagogue affiliation, rather than attendance at services.

Governors’ chair Joshua Rowe believes the “points for observance” entry policy announced by JFS following a Court of Appeal ruling in June is “too cumbersome. We want to keep it as unintrusive and as transparent as possible. Instead of using a birth test for being Jewish or not being Jewish, we are using affiliation to a synagogue for admissions.”

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Primary chair 'forced out over JCoSS'

By Simon Rocker, September 10, 2009

The chairman of Simon Marks Jewish Primary in Hackney has been forced to step down because, he claims, of his support for linking it with the new cross-communal Jewish Community Secondary School.

Simon Marks’s foundation body, the Scopus Jewish Educational Trust, has confirmed its decision not to reappoint Peter Kessler as a foundation governor after his three-year term expired.

He attributed the trust’s action to his backing for making Simon Marks a feeder for JCoSS, which is due to open in East Barnet next September.

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Schools struggle to stay open in US

By Paul Berger, September 3, 2009

Ray Levi, head of the Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School, has had to increase aid for struggling parents, freeze teachers’ pay, reduce benefits and cut support staff.

So it is perhaps a sign of how fragility has become a fact of life for American Jewish day schools that Mr Levi is upbeat. “Despite all the problems we face, I think there is a lot of promise for day schools in America,” he says.

Enrolment remains high and his primary school has strong communal support. But others are not so fortunate.

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Who will teach Israel’s Ethiopians?

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 3, 2009

The plight of 102 Ethiopian-born children in the town of Petach Tikva who do not have a school place has raised serious questions about the Israeli education system.

At the centre of the argument is the refusal of three private religious schools to accept about 50 of these children into their normal classes.

The Education Ministry, the media and even President Shimon Peres have all come down hard on these three schools, accusing them of racism.

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New points system for JFS entry

By Simon Rocker, September 3, 2009

New rules published this week by JFS in Kenton, North London — and likely to be followed by other Jewish secondaries — will offer places on the basis of points scored for synagogue attendance and other observance.

Parents will also need a certificate signed by their rabbi or another community official to testify to religious practice — mirroring the procedure in some Catholic schools.

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Cross-communal school courts the youth vote

August 27, 2009

In a new departure, potential pupils of the cross-communal Jewish Community Secondary School due to open in Barnet in September 2010 are being sent a mini-prospectus.

The booklet-style guide assures children that JCoSS will not be scary because “everybody will be new, even the teachers. You’ll be there from the beginning, helping to shape the school.”

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