Government rejects application for capital funding for Jewish primary school in Herts

Borehamwood project leaders pledge to find alternative route to establish school


Plans for a new state-aided Jewish primary in Borehamwood have hit a setback after the government turned down its application for capital funding.

But the team behind the project say they will press on and look for another way to bring it to fruition.

The new school was intended to offer a more intensive religious education than existing state-aided schools in the area and cater for a growing number of observant families in Hertfordshire.

Only on Friday, it had been listed by the Department for Education as one of 14 applicants to be among a new wave of voluntary-aided faith schools.

But the same day, the team learned that their bid for capital funding had been unsuccessful.

Francesca Saltman, on behalf of the team, said: “We would not have even been able to submit an application had it not been for the help and support of a first-class team of talented and dedicated volunteers and guidance from Benjamin Perl, who was instrumental in getting us to this stage.”

Together with its advisory group, she added, “we will explore all options to bring our dream of a new school to Elstree and Borehamwood soon”.

For the past few years, almost the only way to open a new state-aided faith school was the free school route. But for some in the Jewish community, the drawback was that a free school can only reserve half its places for pupils on the basis of religion.

The government had initially indicated it was proposing to remove the restriction - but backed down and instead said it would support the opening of a number of new voluntary-aided schools.

Voluntary schools, however, have full control over their admissions. They are eligible for grants for 90 per cent of their capital costs.

Hertfordshire's three-stated aided Jewish primaries in Hertfordshire continue to be oversubscribed.

The new school team want to offer a “comprehensive and thorough secular education, whilst maintaining an equally high emphasis on a religoius education and practice”.

They hope to find an alternative route to open the school in the “not too distant future”.

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