Waiting lists for state-aided Jewish secondary schools in London are almost a third lower than they were this time last year – suggesting that applicants still without a place may find one eventually.
Although there are around 100 more children graduating from local Jewish primaries this summer, there appears to be less competition for places.
A spokesman for Partnerships for Jewish Schools – the Jewish Leadership Council’s education division – said: "Currently there is a 30 per cent drop in the numbers on the waiting list in comparison to last year.
"There are no doubt a number of factors feeding in to this, the most significant of which is the additional places offered across the schools.”
JCoSS already increased its annual intake by an extra class from last September. JFS was ready to provide a bulge class, too, last year, although in the event it did not need to do so.
It is not uncommon for some children to have to wait until May or June before a place at one of their preferred schools becomes available.
In recent years, Hasmonean High School has accepted more children than its official limit, while the private Immanuel College has also enjoyed a boom in numbers.
Increased pressure for places had been anticipated this year because a number of primary schools had added bulge classes and the first year-six students from Etz Chaim free school and Immanuel’s Preparatory school entered the secondary application pool.
Pajes said that new research commissioned from the Institute of Jewish Policy Research “shows that the number of applications for secondary places should remain at a similar level in future years”.
Projections of demand are potentially significant because they may influence the decision on whether there should be a new state-aided Jewish secondary school in London.
The New Jewish High School group has been waiting for more than a year to submit a bid to the Department for Education for a new free school in Barnet or south Herts.
But submissions for new free schools have been delayed pending the government’s review of education policy.