Orthodox college goes bust

The country’s only training college for teachers wanting to work at strictly Orthodox day schools has been forced to close.

Donors were not able to secure enough funds to maintain MST College, which opened in Hendon, North London in 1979.

Michael Cohen, its principal, said: “We got no government or local authority funding. We survived with an income from our students which was about a third of the costs, while the rest came from supporters.

“But in the present climate, people were not in a position to support it. Our budget was just over £200,000 a year, which was not a fortune.”

He said it was ironic that the college should close at a time of continuing growth in the Charedi school sector. “It’s like opening new hospitals without trained doctors and nurses to work there,” he said. “We’ve never had such a large student body. When I took over we had about 14 students. Now we have about 60.”

MST provided degree-level courses for teachers at strictly Orthodox schools in partnership with universities.

Existing students will be looked after by the London-based Jewish training agency TrainE until they complete their studies by the end of 2010.

Mr Cohen said that the college had been involved in discussions with Gateshead and other girls’ seminaries to enable their students to take MST courses leading to a degree.

    Last updated: 5:10pm, December 30 2008