PaJeS, the Jewish schools’ network, is to commission research to determine what lies behind a five per cent drop in applications to Jewish primaries in Barnet for September.
The fall is less than for other faith groups in the North London borough, with applications to Catholic schools down 17 per cent and to Church of England schools 10 per cent, PaJeS chief executive Rabbi David Meyer noted.
“On these figures, it would seem the Jewish community was better insulated against a drop in birth rates but also the impact of Brexit,” he said.
However, the question remains whether the fall remains across the board or affects only part of the Jewish community— and whether applications from more strictly Orthodox families are holding up or growing.
Barnet has the largest Jewish population of any borough and the highest number of state-aided Jewish schools.
One Barnet primary, Menorah Foundation in Edgware, has been taking steps to reduce its entry from two classes to one in September 2024.
PaJeS is also looking to examine demand for Jewish secondary schools in the capital next year.
Last week Hasmonean High School for Boys announced plans to house all year-7 pupils in temporary buildings on the site of its sister girls’ school in order to be able to offer a bulge class this September.
“We’re going to investigate to see whether this is a blip or sign of a growing trend,” Rabbi Meyer said.