An application for a new Jewish secondary school in north-west London has been rejected.
Barkai College saw its proposal turned down amid continuing concern over a shortage of places in the region.
A report released this summer revealed a shortage of about 90 year seven places in Jewish state schools in north-west London, while there is a “significant overprovision” in Redbridge.
Eve Sacks, chair of the Barkai team, said: “We are obviously saddened that the DfE has made this decision. We put together this bid in consultation with parents and leaders across the Jewish and wider community and know there is a strong demand for the type of school that we envision. Many of us on the team are parents of children who would have benefited from a school like Barkai and we understand that there will be many disappointed parents as a result of this decision.”
A spokesperson for the Partnerships for Jewish schools said: “We have been exploring alternatives for ensuring sufficient provision at Jewish secondary schools. Whilst the decision of the DfE not to approve the free school application is a setback, it was only one of the options being considered.
“PaJeS has for some time been in ongoing discussions with the community’s schools to see if additional provision can be created through the expansion of our existing schools. In many ways, this is a far more economical alternative and will also help mitigate the the shortage in teachers and educational resources”. PaJeS said it would be continuing discussions in January with governors and head teachers to reach a “community-wide solution”.
The report on the future of educational provision, which was commissioned by PaJeS, also said: “Due to an increased proportion of children being educated in Jewish primary schools, our projections suggest the possibility of a further increase in demand for Jewish secondary school provision.”
However, given that UK census data However, given that UK Census data shows a decline in the number of people in the age groups under 30 in the mainstream community, the long-term trend will be for falling demand in the mainstream Jewish school population.
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