A modern Orthodox Jewish free school opened in Golders Green this week with barely half its reception places filled.
Based at Golders Green Synagogue’s Dunstan Road site, the Rimon Jewish Primary can take 28 reception pupils but is starting with just 15.
Governors chair Rachel Clark attributed the shortfall to having only invited applications in February, “when most people had already made their choices, so we had a lot less time to fill places. Asking people to choose a new school in the first place was a lot to ask.
“We’ve had another two applications this week and other families are looking to apply over the next six months. Competition is a good thing. In the end, the best schools will survive.”
Opening the school on Sunday, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks — a former Golders Green Synagogue minister — said Rimon was “a dream come true.
“People who build schools are our heroes. There is nothing more beautiful than a new Jewish school and this neighbourhood has been crying out for one for a very long time.”
He thanked local MP Mike Freer and “the government for the whole free school concept”.
Although half the places at the school are offered on the basis of proximity rather than religion, all the reception pupils are Jewish.
Golders Green rabbi, Harvey Belovski is the Rimon principal, assisting with developing the Jewish curriculum.
The reception classroom is the first completed element of the Rimon premises.
The Rimon building is expected to be fully operational in 2014.