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Change of admissions rules at JFS (state school NW London)

(8 Posts)
MumNWLondon Sun 06-Sep-09 21:42:31

Incase any of you are interested, JFS, (Jews Free School) one of the best state schools in London has been forced to change its admission rules as a result of a recent court case.

Previously in order to get a place the child had to be jewish, but it seems that for this year, 6 attendances at a synagogue of your choice will suffice - on the jewish new year 19/20 Sept, day of atonement 28th sept plus another 3 trips from one of 12 sept or 3/4/10/11/17/24 october.


If anyone wants to pursue this they would have to contact a synagogue to find out what the procedures are for attending and getting a certificate.

Hope thats helpful - I know this isn't for everyone but thought I would post anyway.

lazymumofteenagesons Mon 07-Sep-09 18:11:29

Does JFS have the same admissions policy for the 6th form. Would they consider the son of a non-practising jewish mother and non-jewish father? How much religious study is there in the 6th form. Would he feel out of place?

MumNWLondon Tue 08-Sep-09 09:45:50

Under the old policy the child of a non practising mother and anon-jewish father would have been accepted because under jewish law such a child is considered jewish (as the mother is jewish) even if the family didn't actually consider themselves to be jewish.

A family where the father was jewish and practising and the mothers wasn't jewish took the school to court (as the son didn't get a place) on the grounds that the policy was racist and they won. As a result the school has been forced to move to a policy of observance, hence the requirement for synagogue attendance.

The amount of jewish study is relatively small and he would not feel out of place as a significant majority of the children are from non practising families.

MumNWLondon Tue 08-Sep-09 19:54:32

sorry also wanted to say i assume 6th form policy is the same as they were forced to change it by law, but it sounds like you would have got a place under the old system anyway.

lazymumofteenagesons Tue 08-Sep-09 20:42:59

Thats very interesting, I might look into it. I thought the majority of the kids would come from orthodox jewish families and he although jewish by birth has not been brought up within any faith. So I wonder whether only the non-jewish kids have to prove synagogue attendance.
I thought I read that prospective parents were interviewed and this would be a problem with the non-practising.

MumNWLondon Tue 08-Sep-09 22:32:01

the majority of kids would come from "orthodox" jewish families, but many of these will be "three time a year jews" ie go to the synagogue only the jewish new year and day of atonement, with little other observance.

now all children will have to prove synagogue attendance - the old policy was that you had to prove the child was jewish, generally by producing a jewish marriage contract either of the parents or the maternal grandparents or even one generation (or more) back up the maternal line. they did not give preference to those who were more observant even though the school was oversubscribed.

but the court of appeal ruled that judiasm is racist and jfs no longer allowed to continue with this admissions policy (lots of on web if you google it) hence it has to be based on observance so all children will have to attend the synagogue although they have set the bar quite low by requiring only 6 attendances.

lazymumofteenagesons Wed 09-Sep-09 12:46:53

Its almost made it stricter. I know alot of jewish families who no way go 6 times per year.
Anyway that cuts us out of the equation. Its just that it is a very good state school in the borough where I live and I thought I might take advantage.

MumNWLondon Wed 09-Sep-09 15:43:12

Yes, if you are actually jewish it is stricter and will rule out some people - this is not at all what the school wanted, they see themselves as a school for all jews not just for observant ones. Although it does mean now that someone who is not jewish could attend the synagogue and pass the observance test.

Re: the six times - its only 6 visits between now and the end October deadline for applying, so not a massive commitment - I bet also that you could turn up, clock in and then leave. You would just have to call a synagogue before the jewish new year so they know you are coming.

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