While the first offers to secondary schools will be made today, it will be some months before Jewish schools know whether they have enough places to accommodate all the children who want one.
Over the past two or three years, there has been particular pressure for places in mainstream Jewish state schools in North-West London.
Rabbi David Meyer, executive director of Partnerships for Jewish Schools, the Jewish Leadership Council’s education division, writes in guidance on the Pajes website: “There probably are enough places at Jewish schools at the moment, but they are not perfectly distributed in line with the demand.”
Last year, the cross-communal JCoSS increased its intake from 180 to 210 for year seven and will do the same this year.
While JFS was prepared to offer a bulge class last September in expectation of additional demand, in the end it did not need to open one.
Although some children may not have received an offer for a Jewish school today, vacancies will become available in subsequent rounds over the next few months.
This year, however, 100 more children will graduate from mainstream Jewish primary schools in London than last year, as some primaries added a bulge class and the first year-six students will be coming out of Etz Chaim, London’s first Jewish free school.
But that does not necessarily mean more applications overall. What may be happening is that fewer applicants to Jewish secondary schools now come from the non-Jewish primary sector.