Former Ofsted chief to become new JFS headteacher

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Former Ofsted chief to become new JFS headteacher

Pupils informed about the sudden change of leadership in a series of assemblies this morning. Governors to make public statement following emergency meeting on Monday evening.

Richard Ferrer has been editor of Jewish News since 2009. As one of Britain's leading Jewish voices he writes for The Times, Independent, New Statesman and many other titles. Richard previously worked at the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, edited the Boston Jewish Advocate and created the Channel 4 TV series Jewish Mum Of The Year.

Sir Michael Wilshaw.
Sir Michael Wilshaw.

This story was significantly updated at 10.25pm – ‘JFS headteacher privately quit SEVEN days ago’ CLICK HERE

The former head of Ofsted has been named as the new interim headteacher at JFS, replacing Rachel Fink.

Pupils at Europe’s largest Jewish comprehensive school were told of the sudden change at the top in a series of assemblies this morning. Parents, however, are yet to be formally notified that Sir Michael Wilshaw, 74, who was chief inspector of schools in England and led Ofsted from 2012 to 2016, will be taking over with immediate effect and for an extended period of time until a permanent hire is made.

The school’s governors are due to hold an emergency meeting on Monday evening with a statement expected soon after.

JFS was subject to an Ofsted inspection which concluded late last week. Its  report is expected imminently.

Rachel Fink.

A shocked parent told Jewish News: “We remain in the dark. How can the school decide to tell the kids everything is changing and a new headteacher is coming in but fail to inform parents?”

One pupil said: “While Ofsted was in they spoke to some of the older students about issues around sex abuse and safeguarding. The feeling in the school is that the inspection will be quite negative so I guess that is the main reason for the big change.”

Another added: “The new headteacher introduced himself in the assembly, but not as the new headteacher. He warned that he doesn’t stand for bad behaviour and that was here to help the school. No one mentioned during the assembly that Ms Fink had already left the school.”

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The school has been rocked by three pupil suicides in the space of five years, most recently the death of a Year 10 female student earlier this year.

Fink has been headteacher since 2017, when she took over from executive head Debbie Lipkin, a turnaround specialist brought in after the sudden departure of Jonathan Miller, who relinquished his position after a leave of absence. The school has since remained tight-lipped about why he quit.

Jewish News has contacted JFS for comment.

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