Family & Education

Government rejects second Jewish free school application

Department of Education turns down Kavanah College bid, days after blocking Barkai application over "disproportionate" amount of Jewish studies in curriculum


The Department for Education has rejected the bid to open a new Jewish free school backed by the United Synagogue and the Office of the Chief Rabbi.

The decision not to approve the Kavanah College proposal comes just days after another application from Barkai College had been turned down by the DfE.

However, Maurice Ashkenazi-Bakes, one of the leaders of Kavanah, said they planned to submit to revised application at a later date.

In a statement on Facebook, the Kavanah team said: “Although we are understandably disappointed with the decision, the feedback was on the whole very positive, and we look forward to continuing to work towards resubmitting in the next wave of applications.”

The Department for Education, they said, had “acknowledged our strengths, namely our high calibre pre-opening team, who have a good range of expertise.”

They had been “overwhelmed with the support that we have received from parents, politicians, and the wider community. With the pressing need for additional secondary school places in the immediate future, we are committed to obtain a positive outcome for the future of our children.”
They did not give reasons why the application failed.

But Barkai was told one factor in their rejection was the six out of 30 periods a week they planned to devote to Hebrew and Jewish studies in the first two years was considered “disproportionate”.

The two free school applications were submitted in the wake of growing fears among parents of a shortage of places at state-aided Jewish secondary schools in London in the coming years.

But Partnerships for Jewish Schools has confirmed that existing schools are looking again at the possibility of expansion.

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