Parents ‘in limbo’ over school squeeze

By Dana Gloger, June 13, 2008

At least 30 children in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, have failed to obtain a place at a Jewish primary school for September, despite their parents’ wishes.

Hertsmere Jewish Primary School, in Radlett, is the closest Jewish school, but chair of governors Rebecca Hilsenrath said that this year around 80 children failed to get a place at its nursery.Around half of these would probably  have been from Borehamwood.

Some managed to find places in other nearby Jewish schools including the Michael Sobell Sinai School, in Kenton, and Rosh Pinah, Edgware.

But the JC understands that at least 30 have failed to secure a place at any Jewish school.

One is Ilan Har-Even. His father Benny said that last year he and his wife had applied for Ilan, now four, to join Hertsmere’s nursery, but he was not allocated a place.

They applied again this year for him to enter the school, but were again unsuccessful, and he was placed seventh on the waiting list. Desperate for him to attend a Jewish school, his parents also applied to Michael Sobell Sinai School but he failed to get a place there too, or on its waiting list, or to Hasmonean, which was also full. They also applied to Hillel School in Southgate, but that too was fully subscribed, and Ilan is also on its waiting list.

His father said: “We moved to our house specifically because the people who lived there before us got their child into Hertsmere School, which is where we wanted Ilan to go. We thought we were moving to a great location but it’s a black hole for Jewish education.

“I am very unhappy. We are completely in limbo. It affects everything we do and is on our minds constantly.”

Rabbi Naftali Brawer of Borehamwood Synagogue said that the lack of school places was a major concern to his community.

“Many parents are very concerned about this and it also concerns me greatly. Ideally I’d like every child in my community to be able to go to a Jewish school.”

Education entrepreneur Benjamin Perl said he believed the true number of Jewish children in Borehamwood without a Jewish school to go to was probably higher than 30.

“I think that is an under-estimate,” he said. “The solution is to build more Jewish schools.”

Last updated: 4:12pm, July 16 2009