Security around Jewish schools remains on high alert after specific threats were made towards children during the height of the conflict in the Middle East.

Parents are continuing to pay for private security firms to guard schools amidst fears they may be targeted by extremists as a reaction to the tensions in Gaza.

From January 1 to March 9 this year, there were 36 anti-semitic attacks reported to Barnet Police, compared to just 11 during the same period last year, which included pro-Palestinian groups daubing graffiti and targeting Jewish businesses across the borough.

Mark Gardner, spokesman for the Community Security Trust (CST) which works to ensure the protection of the Jewish community, said a certain level of security always remained in place.

He said: “A three fold increase in incidents is quite significant but there is no doubt security around that time was stepped up.

“The security is already in place because it is not something that you can turn on and off like a tap, we have to have the infrastructure in place all the time.”

He added that areas around schools continue to be patrolled as a matter of priority.

“We take school security to be of prominent importance and the nature of some of the threats we received were specifically against children so our own long standing security needs to remain tight,” he said.

“We don't want to turn the schools into fortresses and don’t want to make our community seem more under siege than it is, but unfortunately that is the way things have to be for now.”

Martin Blain, assistant head at Hasmonean High School, which has a building in Hendon and Mill Hill, said he regularly liaises with the CST and added the private firm hired to patrol the schools gates only allow in people who are known to the school.

“We always talk to the pupils and make them aware what is going on,” he said.

“It is a terrible shame that we need the security but unfortunately it needs to be in place to guard against anti-Semitic incidents.

“The school is in a nice neighbourhood but at the same time the children like to know there is someone at the gates.”

A security guard outside another Jewish school in Hendon, who did not want to be named, said the wall outside had been painted with the words “The black man rules now” in recent weeks and claimed he had been told to remain on “high alert”.

He said: “It is a shame, but in the current environment, there is a need for the security to be in place.”

“We provide a physical presence to stop something going on. If someone was hanging around thinking about doing something, they may think twice.

“Although the graffiti is just words on a wall, you can never be sure how deep the feelings actually go in the person, and whether they will act on it.”

A parent from the school, who is on the board of governors but asked to remain anonymous, said: “It’s not about international politics, it is simply about protecting our children.

“The guards are there to stop anyone who wants to cause harm to our children and that’s why they are such high visibility.

“Our children are our most valuable possessions and we want to make sure they are safe guarded.”