Mixed emo­tions for par­ents over school places

The Jewish Chronicle - - EDUCATION - BY LIANNE KOLIRIN

THERE WAS ela­tion and frus­tra­tion for par­ents this week, as Jewish sec­ondary schools sent out their first round of offers for places.

As in re­cent years, high schools in north Lon­don have been over­whelmed by de­mand for the lim­ited num­ber of Year 7 places avail­able.

Hun­dreds of anx­ious par­ents awaited news of their chil­dren’s fu­tures as the offers were sent out by email and post on Wed­nes­day.

In an­tic­i­pa­tion of the in­evitable dis­ap­point­ment faced by some par­ents and chil­dren, sev­eral Jewish pri­mary schools pre­pared fam­i­lies ahead of of­fer day.

Staff at Wolf­son Hil­lel Pri­mary School in South­gate, north Lon­don, spoke to chil­dren about the need to be sen­si­tive to oth­ers who may not have re­ceived good news.

Par­ents at Si­nai, in Ken­ton, north-west Lon­don, re­ceived a let­ter from in­terim head­teacher Juliette Lip­shaw.

She wrote: “I am sure that many of you are feel­ing anx­ious as well as in dis­be­lief that your chil­dren are old enough to be go­ing to sec­ondary school. I would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to wish you all good luck and hope that you all re­ceive the news that you want.”

She said the school would do its best to sup­port dis­ap­pointed par­ents, adding: “We spoke to the chil­dren to­day to ask them to consider their peers’ feel­ings and emo­tions over the com­ing days.”

In Lon­don over­all, al­most a third (32 per cent) of pupils missed out on their first choice of sec­ondary school, ac­cord­ing to the Pan-Lon­don Ad­mis­sions Scheme.

Six per cent of all pupils missed out on all six school choices they opted for.

Although there was no avail­able data for Jewish sec­on­daries at the time of go­ing to press, ed­u­ca­tion lead­ers have been qui­etly con­fi­dent that the pres­sure should be re­duced this year due to newly in­tro­duced mea­sures.

JCoSS, in East Bar­net, north Lon­don, has in­creased its in­take from 180 to 210 pupils, while JFS, in Ken­ton, may also in­tro­duce an ex­tra class for 30 chil­dren de­pend­ing on de­mand.

A spokesman for Part­ner­ships for Jewish Schools (Pa­jes) said: “Once the first round of offers has been made and there is a clearer in­di­ca­tion as to how many chil­dren are still on the wait­ing list with a gen­uine de­sire to send to JFS, a de­ci­sion will be made by the school as to whether a bulge class will be re­quired.”

Yavneh Col­lege, in Bore­ham­wood, does not plan to re­peat last year’s bulge class, but pri­vate school Im­manuel Col­lege, which re­cently emerged as the best per­form­ing Jewish school in new gov­ern­ment league ta­bles, has said that it can ac­com­mo­date up to 96 chil­dren.

Rabbi David Meyer, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Pa­JeS, said: “The sys­tem op­er­ated by the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties is as ef­fi­cient and fair as it can be.”

We ask chil­dren to re­spect their peers’ feel­ings’

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