New secondary option for pupils in London


A comprehensive in Cricklewood, north-west London, is aiming to offer a Jewish studies programme from next September to cater for students unable to gain a place at a Jewish secondary school.

Partnerships for Jewish Schools (Pajes), the Jewish Leadership Council's education agency, is recommending that parents put down Whitefield School as a choice for the 2017 year before applications close at the end of the month.

The school, which is rated good by Ofsted, is ready to provide a special Jewish studies programme under the auspices of the United Synagogue. Pajes is also exploring the possibility of having kosher food.

Rabbi David Meyer, Pajes chief executive, said: "This is an important development that will help ensure that there is a provision available for all the children in our community."

He thanked Whitefield's headteacher Liz Rymer for the school's "willingness to accommodate the needs of all their students," adding: "We hope that this additional provision will go some way to easing the concerns of parents".

The increasing demand for Jewish secondary schools has left a number of children from Jewish primary schools without a place at one in the past two years. A one-off bulge class at Yavneh College this September eased the pressure.

Pajes said the option of bulge classes was still under consideration for next year but it was increasingly difficult for schools owing to limitations of space and resources.

While Whitefield may not be a first choice for Jewish parents, it would offer a "supportive and sympathetic environment", the agency said.

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