Jewish schools struggle to attract full intake

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 14, 2011

Manchester's Jewish primary schools are under-subscribed, with only one out of five state-aided schools able to fill its intake.

Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary was the most under-subscribed school according to last year's figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Manchester Evening News. It showed only 20 out of 30 places filled. The school has been working to relocate closer to Whitefield's Jewish residential area from its current site two miles away, in a bid to attract more pupils. But local residents have blocked attempts by the school to relocate on parkland within the suburb.

The top-performing school was North Cheshire Jewish Primary whose intake of 45 was over-subscribed last year by one application - the best for some years.

Broughton Jewish Primary in Salford was left with only three vacant places, with an increase in Charedi children enrolling at the mainly modern Orthodox school.

Headteacher Dr Leon Bernstein said applications for 2011 were "bursting at the seams. We are keeping a careful eye on our intake to be careful not to over-subscribe. If current trends stay, we will have to watch that boundary."

King David Primary's newly-built school on the King David campus filled 51 out of 60 places last year. But governors' co-chair Stephen Verber said indications were towards a healthier intake.

He said: "Numbers have been dropping over 15 years by nearly 50 per cent. But it's looking like the tip of a reversal with numbers heading back up towards 60."

Last updated: 9:50am, January 14 2011