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Haringey Jewish Primary lures respected New York headteacher
A RESPECTED headteacher is being flown in from New York to take the reins at a Jewish free school in Muswell Hill.
Haringey Jewish Primary, set to open in September 2011, will be based in Creighton Avenue next to Fortsimere the borough's top-performing secondary school.
News the school had found a home was announced at a public meeting last week and since then project leader Peter Kessler has confirmed the school has appointed its first choice of leader.
The new headteacher, who will be officially announced this week, is moving from New York to take on the challenge of running a cross-communal Jewish faith school uniting children and families from Orthodox, Reform, Masorti, Liberal and Secular backgrounds.
Mr Kessler said: "Our new headteacher has run a school with an ethos similar to ours in New York and will be returning to the UK, where she taught for many years, to join Haringey Jewish Primary. She was our number one choice and many parents know her and are aware of her fantastic reputation. This is great news.
The school is waiting for the final green light, expected in December, before building work takes place.
Thirty reception age pupils starting in September 2011 will be housed in temporary classrooms on-site or share facilities at other Jewish faith schools such as JcoSS in Barnet.
A total of 229 children have already pre-registered and applications open this week welcoming all veins of the Jewish community.
He said: "What I am most excited about is that what we're doing is pioneering. We will not only be Haringey's first free school, we will be its first Jewish school. We have an opportunity to break down barriers between different parts of the community. Religion should be left to the rabbis and synagogues and our focus on giving our young people a great education."
Mr Kessler said half the places would be available on a proximity basis and 50 per cent on a faith basis but said they wanted to keep it as one-form entry.
He added: "I would rather have one-form entry than two forms cramped on the premises. So many parents have pre-registered their children but it does not necessarily follow they will apply. At least the demand proves there really is a need for this type of school."
Free schools, proposed by education secretary Michael Gove, operate like academies: state-funded and not under local authority control, but driven by demand from the community as opposed to private businesses or education trusts.