JFS School Notices 10/12/21

Dear Parents/Carers

Having had the opportunity to spend more time with parents, teachers, and students, I hope that I now have a much clearer sense of both the things that we should celebrate within the school but also the frustrations that various stakeholders have. I have appreciated the openness and frankness of everyone over the course of the last week and, given that my position exists to remove frustrations in a way that enables our students and staff to be successful, I hope that we can resolve many of these in short order.

Of our positives, I am deeply impressed by the seed-change that we have seen in safeguarding and there is heartfelt thanks to all those who have been involved in securing those improvements. The vast majority of those I have spoken to feel safer and say that they are heard in a way that they have not been previously. That is not to say that things are perfect; I think that there is still work to do regarding proactive rather than reactive interventions, but I am confident that vulnerable children within the school are being supported in a timely and appropriate manner. Of course, if that is not the case and you have concerns then I would urge you to contact me immediately using david.moody@jfs.brent.sch.uk.

Equally, personal development is now being approached in a consistent manner across the school and the work on student voice means that students are beginning to be heard on broader topics. We do need to expand our ability to hear the entirety of the student body, but that minorities in the school are now being consulted on their experiences within it can only be a good thing for our development. That said, being heard does not obviously rely on waiting to be part of a meeting and I hope that your child(ren) will feel able to stop me as I walk around the school to share their thoughts. I would ask you to actively encourage them to do this. They are an incredible group of students and it is always a pleasure to speak to them.

Academically, the school has also recently been ranked fifth in the country by ‘The Times’ for its GCSE and A Level results in 2019. Given the interruption to exams over the last two years, it represents the last available national dataset, but still serves as a reminder as to the quality of outcomes that students at JFS are capable of.

In terms of things we can improve, I know that we need to do better in terms of our SEND provision. There is much that there is good about our provision, much of it a reflection of the dedicated staff that we have in place, however, it is only right to acknowledge our systems and processes could be improved. To that end, we have a number of national bodies working with us to identify the right way forward and I will share our thoughts on this in the new year. A given should be that we contact all students on our SEND register early on in the New Year to seek your feedback alongside that of the professionals we have working with us, and I look forward to that being the case.

Anything we can do to improve communication is key and that will extend to our behaviour system from January. After the break, we will be centralising the behaviour and detention system so that all sanctions are authorised and communicated by a small group of senior staff, to ensure both consistency and clarity of message. I hope that this will be well received. It will also mean that where students regularly fail to meet the standards that we set, we will be better placed to resolve the underlying issues. We will judge ourselves by the way in which we are able to improve individual student behaviour, not just provide sanctions to discourage it. We will also be reviewing the use of line-ups within the school as well as the way in which breaks and lunches are organized, in order to maximise learning time.

In addition, from an organisational standpoint, centralising any external communications will also be important for us to make sure we have better oversight of the ways in which we are responding to queries or complaints. Over the course of the coming week, we will shape the specifics of these internal mechanisms, but my hope is that by reducing the number of points of contact, we can internally better hold ourselves to account in our response to you.

My intention is that by increasing the efficiency of our systems we can increase the amount of time that staff are free to focus on what matters most, which is ultimately the lessons our students receive and the care and kindness that they are afforded. It is space for that focus that will make JFS the truly exceptional school that the community deserves.

Whilst we iron out the details and finalise our internal workings, I would just like to thank everyone both in school and outside of it for their time and input to help shape our future. I wish both you and your families the very best for the week ahead.

With the warmest of wishes and Shabbat Shalom

 

Dr David Moody
Headteacher

D’Var Torah

Parashat Vayigash Genesis 44:18-47:27

 Following on from the cliff hanger in last week’s Torah portion, Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers. The revelation is emotional and powerful as all the threads of the story come together. Just before Joseph reveals his true identity to his family, that he is in fact the brother they sold to the Midianites all those years ago, his brother Yehudah challenges him.

 Yehudah was a force to be reckoned with and he says, “May I have a word in my lord’s ears.” The commentator, Rashi says that this means he wanted the words to penetrate Joseph’s ears and psyche. This highlights an important lesson. One of Steven Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people is to, “Seek first to understand THEN seek to be understood.” This is teaching us to be a good listener. It is a real skill. Only when you listen well and understand where a person is coming from will you be able to offer them help.

At JFS, Staff are there to listen to students and therefore anyone should feel comfortable to come and talk if they want to and really feel listened to.

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Highlights Section

UPCOMING EVENTS AND KEY INFORMATION

  • The last day of the Autumn Term – Tuesday 21st December 2021 (will  be a Winter Friday timetable (contrary to what was previously advertised).
  • The last day of the Spring Term – Tuesday 12th April 2022 (will  be a Winter Friday timetable (contrary to what was previously advertised).

JFS Term Dates 2021-22 Update 061221

 

Sponsorship Opportunities

Thank you to all those parents that have kindly sponsored some prizes already, we very much appreciate your support.

If you would like to sponsor a prize or award please click the button below to view the list of options or contact Mrs Esther Bharier
Email: ebharier@jfs.brent.sch.uk or Tel: 020 8206 3169

Prize Donations