Family & Education

Parents launch £100k appeal to fund extra school places

North Cheshire Jewish Primary School start Crowdfunding campaign


Parents of North Cheshire Jewish Primary School this week launched an appeal to raise £100,000 in order to ensure it can provide enough places for children who want to go there.

South Manchester’s only Jewish primary had planned to cut entry in September to a single class of 30 because it could not afford to take more.

But after 14 children were initially left with no place, parents sprung into action and instigated the Unite 4 North Cheshire campaign. The children will now be able to start in autumn.

Lucie Whiteman, the campaign’s liaison manager, said, “ Fortunately, the governors were able to work with the local authority to add an additional class for this year group only, due to the high number of applicants and increased fundraising activity.”

Ofsted confirmed NCJPS as an outstanding school earlier this year— an achievement all the more noteworthy in that previously outstanding schools have been downgraded in subsequent inspections.

Mrs Whiteman — whose youngest daughter Georgia, aged three, was one of the 30 children first offered a place — described the school as “a hub” for the area’s Jewish community.

But Natalie Cowap’s daughter Lyla, four, was one of those who had to wait for a place. “Lyla has made friends for life by attending North Cheshire Jewish Nursery,” her mother said.

“Finding out that she had been turned away from NCJPS, not only meant that she would not receive a Jewish education but also that she would not have the opportunity to celebrate and learn about Jewish festivals and Shabbat with her peers. For Lyla to have the chance to attend 
NCJPS means the world to her family.”

The mother of twins Zac and Avi Earnshaw said she and her husband were “hugely disappointed” when they were not one initially accepted. “We set out appealing to the authorities, the school and anyone who would listen! Luckily we were heard.”

Bella Webb’s daughter Freya, four, had also been in the same boat. Mrs Webb, who was brought up in Stoke- on-Trent, recalled she had been able to enjoy a Jewish school when her parents moved to Liverpool.

The Webbs had once lived in Oxford. “It’s a lovely community but it’s small and there is no Jewish school there.” Now Freya will be able to go to North Cheshire.

Mrs Whiteman said the school was forecast to have a budget deficit of £100,000 for the current school year and for future years despite a squeeze on overheads.

“This problem is not unique to NCJPS, “ she explained. “There is a UK-wide national crisis in state school funding. However these cuts have hit our school harder, because state funding does not cover the costs required to provide the formal and informal programmes of activities that engage our pupils with Jewish life and the costs associated with securing a publicly Jewish school in a country on high alert.”

To have the full state funding for a two-form intake, NCJPS would need 60 children. “As a small Jewish community, we face significant year-on-year fluctuation in the number of applications we receive. This means that in years where the classes are not full, we make an additional loss,” she said.

The funds raised by the campaign, she said, would go towards “ensuring excellence across the school and providing as many places as possible to the Jewish children of South Manchester in a school that embeds a love for Jewish life and Israel for today and the future”.


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