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School wins approval

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2007-08-10

The UK's first all inclusive Jewish secondary school to welcome Jews from all backgrounds regardless of religious affiliation has gained approval for planning consent in 8-1 in a vote by Barnet Council.

JCoSS, the Jewish Community Secondary School, is due to open on a site in east Barnet, north west London in September 2010 and will accommodate 1310 students from 11-18 as well as a special unit for children with disabilities in partnership with family and children charity Norwood.

The state of art multi-million pound school has already received hundreds of enquiries from parents interested in its ethos of being inclusive.

"We are hugely humbled by the support we have received from politicians of all parties, all sections of the Jewish community and local residents," said school trustee Marc Herman. "We know some concerns remain and we look forward to working with our neighbours in a positive spirit to do what we can to address them.”

Property tycoon Gerald Ronson who has back the project says it will reach out to those who may be "lost to Judaism".

He said: "By focusing on excellence JCoSS will lead parents who want to send their children to a first rate school to rediscover their Jewish roots and draw them back into our community.  What better way to reach out to those who might otherwise be lost to Judaism than through education and through their children?"

Express Newspapers media owner and president of Norwood Richard Desmond welcomed the planning decision.

“JCoSS’s Special Unit will provide for the first time the opportunity for children with severe and complex disabilities to travel to and from school with their siblings," he said. "By re-locating the existing residential Annie Lawson School in Berkshire to the heart of the Jewish community, it will also enable many children with special needs to live at home for the first time."