More than 1,000 people have signed a petition against proposed changes to JFS’s admission policy.
Concerned parents urged Europe’s largest Jewish secondary to rethink plans to turn two local primaries into ‘feeder schools’ next year.
It was announced in December that JFS, which is heavily oversubscribed, was changing its admissions rules for 2021, giving priority to students applying from nearby Sinai and North-West London Jewish Day School.
In a letter sent to parents, headteacher Rachel Fink cited “demographic changes” as a key reason for the policy shift.
Hundreds have this week signed a petition claiming that “children who do not attend Sinai or North West London Jewish Day School (NWLJDS) will have hardly any chance of gaining a place at JFS” under new proposed admission rules.
Criticising the plans, signatories call on it to rethink, saying “all children should have a fair and equal chance of attending.”
The petition also cites concerns about the impact of the plans to Barnet’s Jewish primary schools, which “will become a less attractive option, may not be able to fill their spaces despite many Jewish families living locally, and suffer from drops in funding, resulting in fewer resources and falling standards of education for their pupils.
“We oppose that the children who attend Sinai or North West London Jewish Day School should have priority over children who attend other schools.”
A spokesperson for the Partnerships for Jewish Schools (PaJeS) said: “Whenever a change is proposed it can impact different people in different ways, and the perception of this impact is often inaccurate.
“The purpose of a consultation is to ensure that all who are impacted have a say. PaJeS is in discussions with the key stakeholders and we are confident that JFS is considering all responses carefully.”
Matthew Offord, MP for Hendon, whose Barnet constituency includes a number of Jewish primary schools – said: “I share the concern of my constituents who have raised this matter with me. At face value, JFS’s proposed admission changes will detrimentally affect many families in Barnet who will find that their children who are at Jewish primary schools in the borough are no longer able to get a place at JFS.”
JFS’s proposals are currently out for consultation – so it is not agreed – but I am in contact with Barnet as the Local Education Authority to discuss how we might mitigate the impact on Barnet children if the proposals go ahead.”
A statement from JFS said: “The JFS Governing Body welcomes responses to the consultation and has provided opportunities for members of the public and community to express their views through the formal channel of the consultation process. Details of how to respond to the consultation are available on the school website.”