The chair of governors of Britain’s biggest Jewish comprehensive has predicted that waiting lists for places in London’s three mainstream state secondaries will disappear next year, when the Jewish Community Secondary School opens in Barnet.
JFS chair Russell Kett believes “at least one, if not all three of the schools will be seriously affected as a result of the opening of JCoSS”.
The JC reported last week that King Solomon High in Barkingside had not filled its 150 places for September after the first round of admissions, but was hopeful of doing so eventually because of over-subscription for JFS in Kenton and Yavneh in Borehamwood. Yavneh received 500 applications for 150 places.
Mr Kett reported 600 applications for the 10 forms of entry and 300 places at JFS.
But he felt the situation would be markedly different next year with JCoSS offering 180 places.
“The acid test will be how many parents appeal against the fact that their children have not been awarded places in Jewish schools. Last year we had fewer than 30.
“If we are going to be able to maintain the three schools, as well as Hasmonean and [fee-paying] Immanuel, and the JCoSS 180, we are going to need to supply children out of thin air. The only way to fill all of those places would be to open the doors to children who are not Jewish by ethnicity — or not at all.”
JCoSS trustees’ chair Michael Phillips responded that “no one can state with certainty where our pupils will come from. But Jewish parents can only benefit from the increased choice JCoSS will bring, attracting those who previously would not have considered a Jewish secondary school.”