JFS finally gets ‘Good’ rating from Ofsted inspectors after disastrous 2021
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JFS finally gets ‘Good’ rating from Ofsted inspectors after disastrous 2021

UK's largest Jewish school climbs out of trouble amid the impact of a student's suicide and questions about pupil safety

JFS School in Kenton, Harrow
JFS School in Kenton, Harrow

The UK’s largest Jewish school has been given a clean bill of health from the national schools’ inspectorate just weeks after a student’s father said he thought she was bullied before she took her own life last year.

JFS, which teaches more than 2,000 students in Harrow, north London, was rated ‘Good’ across the board by Ofsted in April, as revealed in the inspection report, which was published last week. It had previously been rated ‘Inadequate’.

The result will be a huge relief to the school’s leadership team, including the new headteacher David Moody, and chair of governors Andrew Moss, as they grapple with the fallout from 14-year-old Mia Janin’s suicide.

A mixed secondary school that was last inspected in 2021, JFS was praised by Ofsted for its “recent revisions to the school’s behaviour policy that are understood and respected by all”.

In the report, inspectors say: “New leaders have worked successfully to ensure that safeguarding is effective. They have increased the school’s caring culture so that pupils are safe.”

It stands in stark contrast to the judgement of inspectors in April 2021, who said: “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.”

Acclaimed mental health campaigner and author Jonny Benjamin speaks to students at JFS (Jewish News)

Earlier this month, a coroner’s court heard how JFS pupils were told to delete their Snapchat accounts just five days after Mia took her own life. The evening before she killed herself, she reportedly asked her parents if she could move schools.

Recognising JFS’s efforts to rectify the problems, Ofsted said: “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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