Thursday, 25 January 2018

Panning the PANs – Part 3 – The ‘Problem’ of Beis Yaakov Primary School

Taking a step back now it was in light of YH Primary's restrictive admissions that Beis Yaakov primary was born. An increasing number of parents were left without schools or were unwilling to conform to the demands of the existing schools and were also unwilling to move to Golders Green or even to Manchester. It was to accommodate the increasing number of these children that parents grouped together to form Beis Yakov.

Its first cohort, now in Year 6, is of 7 girls and there are currently about 90 girls in the entire school. Its policies are generally more tolerant than the other schools though they too had to tighten up so as not to be seen as a 'dumping ground' for rejects from other schools.

Since Beis Yaakov has no secondary school the 'danger' to YHS is obvious. Here is Pinter like a centurion at the gate guarding the 'purity' of 'his' school virtually from cradle to the wedding bed and here in one fell swoop his life's work risks being undone. If no action is taken an entire cohort of girls with their own ethos and connections and friendships will turn up at the secondary school demanding as of right to be admitted. Not having suffered the indignities of pleading to be admitted to a Yesodey Hatorah school and complying with whatever rules that were imposed on them these girls and their parents will not feel beholden to Pinter & Co and will not have the fear of him branded into their DNA.

From Pinter’s point of view this is as intolerable a situation as it gets and which must be stopped at all cost. Pinter himself has made it known to Beis Yaakov that he had a delegation of two YHS mothers claiming to represent 40 YHS mothers to threaten that if BY girls are accepted they will withdraw their children from YHS. This was to convey the pressure he is supposedly under and to ‘persuade’ BY to find another school for their girls. Indeed, last summer there were well sourced reports that YHS was seriously considering going private to avoid having to accept Beis Yaakov girls. This must have proved too high a price to pay and was dropped. Which neatly brings us to the current consultation.

One final point before moving on to the consultation itself, it should be made clear that Pinter did not wake up to this situation overnight. Being the wily player he is and knowing what was in store, he has over recent years been relaxing admissions to YH Primary so as to deprive BY of the numbers they require to run a viable school. He has not accepted everyone but often after refusing a child and the child being accepted to BY he has then decided to accept the child after all. The presumed aim being to leave BY with the 'dregs' so that no one in their right mind given the choice would send their child there as a first option. Although he has been partially successful and Beis Yaakov remains a small school despite the local high birth-rate, he has not killed off Beis Yakov altogether and which is why more drastic action is now required.

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