The team behind the proposed new Jewish secondary school in north London has said it still intends to proceed with the bid – despite two existing Jewish secondary schools increasing their intake.
Only last week plans were announced to merge two rival bids for new Jewish free schools, but in the same week JFS and JCoSS said they would be offering an additional 90 places between them, while newly-approved planning permission at Hasmonean also incorporates additional places.
This week, a spokeswoman for the proposed new merged bid confirmed that an application would still be made in April, despite Jewish education chiefs saying the extra provision for places would be “sufficient” to meet demand.
“We do not think that the 90 extra places are sufficient to deal with the excess demand,” said a spokeswoman for the bid. “In addition, one of our key goals is to increase parental choice.”
The statement seems to contradict a comment from Rabbi David Meyer, director of Partnerships for Jewish Schools, who last week said the extra places “will help ensure sufficient secondary school places for the coming year”.
The spokeswoman for the proposed new school added: “We are making changes to the bid based on feedback that both teams received from the Department for Education, and we will include data from the [Institute for Jewish Policy Research] JPR report in our bid.”
The report, published earlier this month, highlighted that extra places at Hasmonean and Yavneh College last year increased the number of Jewish secondary school places in London by five percent. Combined with the places offered at fee-paying private school Immanuel College, this closed the gap between demand and supply.
Earlier this month a spokesman for Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said his view “has always been that one free school application is much better than two, if and when there is a need for a new school”.
He added: “The Chief Rabbi’s stated preference remains for our existing schools to provide the additional places required. Now that existing schools are working to deliver the necessary places, we trust this will resolve the issue and it would also be the most responsible approach for the community to adopt.”