JFS has marked a remarkable turnaround by becoming the top comprehensive school in England and Wales, according to an influential annual survey.
The UK’s largest Jewish school topped the charts in The Times’ annual Parent Power guide, which is based on exam results. Two other Jewish schools made it into the Top 10 comprehensives nationwide.
Menorah High School for Girls came sixth, while Hasmonean High School for Girls came in seventh. JCoSS made the Top 10 comprehensives in London.
The JFS triumph caps a sharp change in fortunes. In April 2021, Ofsted inspectors rated it as ‘Inadequate’, saying: “Leaders do not ensure that all pupils are safe from harm… many feel that leaders have not protected them from the behaviour of their peers.”
The damning indictment, which led to the school being placed in special measures, resulted in the departure of several senior staff and the arrival of David Moody, who steered JFS to a ‘Good’ rating a year later, in 2022.
Reacting to the news, he said: “It is exactly two years ago today that I started at JFS and, in that time, I have been blown away by the determination and dedication of our pupils and staff. There is no doubt that this school and its community are a privilege to be a part of.”
He added that “to be the top comprehensive school in the country is an incredible achievement and I could not be more proud of everyone involved… I just want to congratulate all of the students, teachers, support staff and families on what is a truly amazing effort”.
JFS, which teaches more than 2,000 students in Kenton, north-west London, was left devastated by the suicide of 14-year-old student Mia Janin in 2021. Earlier this year, it emerged that the Metropolitan Police had “lost” key evidence in the case.
Last year, Ofsted recognised that school leaders “have raised the importance of mental health and looking after the emotional well-being of the whole school community”.
They added: “Pupils know to whom and where they can turn if they have any worries. Pupils felt confident to report any concerns because staff help them. Staff are vigilant to any incidents of bullying and act swiftly to resolve any bullying issues.”
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