Free Jewish school will be built in Muswell Hill

Pioneering “Free” school will open its doors in Creighton Avenue in September 2011

A PIONEERING Jewish primary school is to be built in Muswell Hill – one of just 16 free schools given the go-ahead by the government.

In September the Broadway revealed how Haringey Jewish Primary (JPS) had been given the green light by Education Secretary Michael Gove, as part of the Free School scheme, where education establishments are funded by the government but are independent and do not have to follow the national curriculum.

Now, the people behind the proposal have signed an exclusivity agreement to build the school on Creighton Avenue in Muswell Hill, next to Fortismere.

Almost 250 families have already expressed an interest, with 79 wanting their children to start in September 2011, when the school opens. Registration opened on Monday.

One of those leading the project, Peter Kessler, told the Broadway: “Failing any unforeseen circumstances, we do expect to be in Creighton Avenue, which is right in the middle of where the people who are mostly calling for this school want it to be.

‘‘It is also right in the middle of an area where the council education department is telling us there is a need for more places, so it’s really a case of satisfying both needs at once.

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“It was previously used as a school building, so from a planning perspective it’s already somewhere along the line, but it is still subject to planning permission.

“It’s great to be right next to a functioning school so the first pupils will have contact with other children, which very often doesn’t happen with new schools.”

With the school – which will accept Jewish and non-Jewish children – set to open in September 2011, pupils would first have to be housed in temporary accommodation and it is thought this could also be accommodated on the Creighton Avenue site.

Originally the plan was for the school to accept one form of 30 children per year, but interest by parents and the enthusiasm of government officials has been such that expansion is being considered even before the opening.

Mr Kessler says the government is so keen on the school they could pay for the new building.

Previously it was thought that grants would only be forthcoming for the conversion of existing sites.

He added: “If there’s demand for a larger school, we believe we have room to expand to two-form entry and the government is very happy for us to pursue that option and have even contacted us suggesting it.

“So I’m really delighted that the degree of interest in this school is such that they are talking to us about funding the building of a two-form entry school.”

Haringey JPS is also intent on delivering specific special needs provision, a service which could also be used by other schools in the future, he added.

Chairman of the Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association, John Hajdu, supported the plans, but was keen to see how they would progress.

He said: “Obviously we want to see the plans and find out the size and height of the building. We also want to know the number of students and staff.”