JFS School is a highly successful Jewish, co-educational, Voluntary Aided comprehensive school with students’ ages ranging from 11-19 years. The School has a strong sense of tradition with origins which date back to 1732. The modern JFS serves almost the whole breadth of the Anglo-Jewish community in Greater London. About 85% of our students come from Barnet, Harrow, Brent and Hertsmere.
ACCOMODATION AND LOCATION
The School moved to its new, 26-acre green-field site in Kenton, North West London, in September 2002. Housed in a modern, unusually designed campus, we have superb facilities, featuring, for example: interactive whiteboards in every classroom; a dedicated theatre seating 450; a Conference Centre; a Media/Television Studio; a Dance Studio; a Drama Studio; two Sports Halls; a dedicated BTEC Hospitality and Catering room, landscaped inner courtyards and an open-air amphitheatre. Kingsbury tube station (Jubilee Line) is a seven–minute walk from the School.
The School is thoroughly committed to professionalism and the ceaseless effort to raise standards ever higher. Our approach is modern but not ‘trendy’; our values are thoroughly ‘traditional’, reflecting the School’s Jewish ethos. Discipline is strong and student behaviour is good. All students in Years 7-11 wear school uniform and Sixth Formers are required to dress within reasonably conservative, albeit comfortable boundaries. We also expect our staff to dress in a manner conducive to the unique professional status of being a rôle model to younger people. For reasons of our Jewish ethos and our code of appropriate, smart professional appearance, women may not wear trousers (unless trousers are a fundamental requirement of a different religious code practised by a member of staff).
JFS is primarily a ‘family’ school. There is a wide range of extra-curricular activities and the collection of charity for both Jewish and non-Jewish causes is a strong feature. The School is a lively, warm and caring institution where every student is taught to respect other students and to share a sense of responsibility for the well-being of the whole community. Visitors and inspectors comment on the School’s most notable characteristics: a relationship of mutual respect between teachers and students, and the strong commitment to a work ethic.
In addition to a thoroughly comprehensive spread of ability, our students come from the widest possible range of social, economic and religious backgrounds. About 10% come from abroad, e.g. Israel, South Africa, Iran, Russia. About 8% of students are on free school meals. Our ten-form entry intake, with over 500 students in the Sixth Form, makes us one of the largest schools in the country and, certainly, the largest Jewish school in Europe, with over 2,000 students on roll.
The student body is lively, articulate, confident, very positive and demanding. There is no doubt that it is one of the School’s major strengths.
Our parents represent a very broad range of society. They all, however, share two things in common: a strong sense of Jewish identity and, in almost all cases, a keen sense of ambition for their children. The School is fortunate in that it has a strong partnership with its parent body. Needless to say, this creates many demands on, and high expectations of, teachers.
About 60% of our 220 staff are not Jewish but all staff are expected to respect, support and enforce the Jewish ethos of the school. For teaching staff, the School day begins at 8.30 a.m. and, from Monday to Thursday, ends by 3.45 p.m. On Fridays, the School closes early as it is the eve of Shabbat (Sabbath). From approximately mid-October until late March, the School day ends by 1.30 p.m. During the rest of the year, the School day ends by 2.20 p.m. The School has the same number of days’ holiday as other state schools. However, if Jewish festivals coincide with the School term, the holiday dates may differ slightly.
During Year 7, students are taught in tutor groups for everything other than Jewish Education, PE and a carousel of practical subjects. Most tutor groups are “mixed ability”; others are “accelerated” tutor groups. Setting is introduced in most subjects during Years 8 and 9. Students with learning difficulties are catered for with the help of the Special Educational Needs department. The School follows the National Curriculum with 20% of the timetable devoted to Jewish Education in Key Stage 3. In Key Stage 4, Jewish Studies is a core GCSE subject. A wide range of subjects is available at ‘AS’ and 'A' Level and there is a long waiting list for entry to the School, in all Year Groups.
The School is organised pastorally on a Year system, through tutor groups. Students in Years 7-11 are not allowed off-site during the lunch hour. School discipline is very good, depending on a consensus between teachers, students and parents as to civilised standards of behaviour, and on a long-standing friendly and caring relationship between teachers and students. Teachers, in maintaining the disciplinary and academic standards of the School, are supported by a system of Year Managers, Directors of Studies, Deputy Headteachers and, ultimately, the Headteacher.
Examination results are outstanding. Our overall ‘A’ Level pass rate in 2015 was 100%, with almost 80% of our results being at A*, A or B grade and almost 50% at A* or A grades. The vast majority of students progress into Higher Education every year, winning places at many universities, including medical schools, law schools and Oxford and Cambridge. Over 60% proceed annually to Russell Group universities. Our students have gained national awards for outstanding achievement in Science, Economics, Sociology and Mathematics.
Ever since the introduction of league tables, JFS has consistently achieved a place as one of the top performing Comprehensives in the country. The Sunday Times Tables showed JFS in the top five, non-selective schools in the country.
In recent years, JFS has won the Evening Standard Award for Academic Excellence twice, has been awarded Beacon Status and Sportsmark Status and has received a succession of DfES School Achievement Awards. JFS was awarded Specialist School Status (Humanities) and, as a High Performing Specialist School, JFS was awarded a second specialism as part of the Raising Achievement Partnership Programme (RAPP). Following an assessment in July 2011, JFS was awarded Investors in People status.
In June 2012, the School achieved the NACE Challenge award. NACE (the National Association for Able Children in Education) is a well-established and prestigious independent organisation. In order to achieve the Challenge Award, a school has to demonstrate pedagogic and organisational excellence in the way it addresses the needs of its very able children. JFS is one of only 67 secondary schools in England and Wales that currently hold this award.
In July 2013, JFS was awarded full Investor in Careers status, following a detailed assessment of our provision for, and success in, providing high quality careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) to our students. JFS is a national leader in the field of post-16 guidance and has also published a successful guide to University Interviews. Most recently, JFS was re-accredited with Investors in People status and achieved the Gold Award. The report declared that: “The vision and ethos of the school is its collective heartbeat – Achievement, Leadership and Jewish ethos. The senior team lead by example and have created a strong culture of excellence for the school and management style well respected by the staff. There is an active and involved Governing Body supporting the strategic leadership of the School”.