JFS tells worried Hasmonean Year 7 parents: ‘We’ve got room for your children’

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JFS tells worried Hasmonean Year 7 parents: ‘We’ve got room for your children’

Headteacher Dr David Moody says he can welcome up to 35 pupils after Green Belt regulations halt Hasmo expansion plans for second time: 'I've over-staffed for next year in order for that to happen"

Dr. David Moody, head-teacher, JFS
Dr. David Moody, head-teacher, JFS

The headteacher at Europe’s largest Jewish secondary school is offering an educational lifeline to students at an Orthodox school whose places are in doubt for September 2023.

Dr David Moody, head at JFS confirmed to Jewish News that he was ready and prepared to offer up to 35 Year 7 students at Hasmonean a place after the summer.

His announcement comes after plans for students at the Orthodox Jewish secondary boys’ and girls’ schools to study on same premises were blocked by strict Green Belt environmental regulations.

As recently reported by Jewish News,  it was hoped 150 incoming Year 7 pupils (including 50 on a waiting list) from Hasmonean Boys’ could be located on portakabins on the same site at the girls’ school on Page Street in Mill Hill.

The plans came amid growing concerns that the boys’ campus was becoming over-stretched, with twice as many students as it was originally designed for. With those plans denied and Hasmonean returning to the drawing board for other ideas, Dr. Moody told Jewish News:

“In terms of having parents in, yes, I’ve been approached by a number of Hasmonean parents. It was just really nice to listen to them and what they wanted for their children because that conversation also informs what’s good for our children in JFS as well.

“I think that the (Hasmonean) appeals are due to be outlined on 11 July and at that point, if there are a group of families who want to come to JFS, I really think we are building something special. So if, for example 30 parents said that as a group they want to bring their children here, I think we are well set up to cater for that. I’ve over-staffed for next year in order for that to happen.”

He says that “JFS has got a lot of religious children in it” and he wants to do the best for his students.

“One of the conversations I’m having with parents of children who’ve put us down as first choice for next year is about what perhaps an expanded kodesh provision could look like. I’ve overstaffed in the Jewish Studies department to enable that. I’m exciting for it. At the moment, there are people who are unsure about whether or not they have a place at Hasmonean. My understanding is that portakabins are not something that will come to fruition.”

Dr. Moody says he “doesn’t really want to see people being forced to go out of the community if I think we can provide something good and worthwhile here.”

He says “that sense of community across the two groups of people is really good. With JFS being the size it is, I think we can be home to many chevra (society) and we can do good things for it. Obviously if people put down Hasmonean for their first choice, I hope as many people as possible get that first choice. But if not, however, I’ve overstaffed so we we would be in a position to take 30-35 children if there was the need for that.”

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