Family & Education

The bulge class that never happened

How much competition for places at Jewish secondary schools in London this year? It is still too early to say


For any child left without a place at a Jewish secondary school after the first round of offers last Thursday, here is one source of comfort.

Both JFS and JCoSS last year were ready to offer 30 extra places to meet the expected demand across the Jewish system. But in the event, JFS found it had no need of a bulge class.

Inevitably, some families will have to wait for the relief of a place as the annual applications shuffle takes place over the next few months.
But there is no hard data at this early stage to suggest whether this year will be more stressful for Jewish parents than before — or whether JFS will  require  a bulge class this year.

So far 18 new names had added to the Oversubscribed London Jewish Secondary Schools group on Facebook by the weekend.

Fewer places have been offered to siblings at JCoSS this year — 83 out of 210, compared with 103 last year — which leaves more room for other applicants. The sibling count at Hasmonean is 106 compared to 109 last year; while Hasmonean’s official entry limit for 2018 is 165, it has previously accepted around 30 more pupils than this.

Marc Meyer, Hasmonean chairman, said, "We are currently assessing the maximum possible number of year-seven students we can accommodate, and are determined to take as many students as possible. We have not yet made a final decision but will do so over the coming weeks as we assess the demand and our capacity."

What is different this year is that 100 more applicants will emerge from London Jewish primary schools than last year: as well as the first graduates of Immanuel College Preparatory School and Etz Chaim, a number of primaries added bulge classes in 2011.

But this doesn’t necessarily translate into stiffer competition for secondary places in 2018. It could simply mean fewer children are now transferring to Jewish secondary schools from the non-Jewish primary sector.

Lynda Dullop, director of admissions at Immanuel College, said there was a pre-deadline rush to accept places from parents who had failed to secure one at a state school.

The college makes 10 per cent more offers than it has places to allow for some children opting to go elsewhere if a place becomes available, even if parents have to sacrifice their £2,000 deposit for Immanuel. 

But even so, the school expects to enjoy a full year-seven complement of 90 or so.  “The waiting list of 40 is our biggest,” says Mrs Dullop. “We are approaching 700 pupils in the school, which is our biggest roll.”



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