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'Nerve-wracking' wait for secondary school places

Education agency reports an 'almost negligible' rise in applicants compared to this time last year

    Sinai Primary pupil Zoe Heiman is one of those hopeful a place at a Jewish secondary school in London will turn up soon
    Sinai Primary pupil Zoe Heiman is one of those hopeful a place at a Jewish secondary school in London will turn up soon

    Partnerships for Jewish Schools has offered reassurance to families of children who are without a place at Jewish secondary school in London.

    Initial indications show “an almost negligible increase in the number of applicants on waiting lists, compared to last year,” said Rabbi David Meyer, Pajes executive director.

    “While there is always understandable anxiety from parents over the availability of first-round secondary school places,” he added, “ Pajes in collaboration with our Jewish secondary schools developed a strategy to reduce the pressures on the application system and to try to ensure that places are available for all applicants to our schools.”

    Although JFS was ready to open a bulge class last September, in the event there proved no need.

    However, the Oversubscribed London Jewish Secondary Schools group on Facebook has had 30 new members since the first round of offers. “In previous years, there wasn’t this much activity until the second or third rounds,” said its founder Gilead Limor.

    Yanina Heiman of Edgware said her daughter Zoe, a pupil at Sinai Primary, was upset at not being offered a place at any of the Jewish schools she applied to. 

    “We applied to JFS, JCoSS and Yavneh, we didn’t apply to any other schools,” she said. “We thought she’d get one of them, we don’t mind whether it’s our first choice.

    “It’s nerve-wracking waiting,” she said. “We are just hoping — that’s all we can do.”

    Sinai had 13 pupils without a Jewish school place after the first round of offers - compared with seven at the same stage last year.

    * JCoSS is to go ahead with plans to drop priority for pupils from feeder schools for entry in 2019. Fifteen out of 210 places at the cross-communal school are currently guaranteed to children from three primaries. But the school said the “great majority” of parents who responded to a consultation on changing admissions policy supported the removal of feeder schools.

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