JFS School Notices 14/01/22

Dear Parent/Carer

At the end of our first full week in 2022, I just want to say how impressed I have been by the student and parental response to the changes that we have begun to make. As a school, when we spoke of removing line-ups, there was an initial concern that it may lead to a decrease in standards around the school; the reality however, is that students have conducted themselves exceptionally well and are to be commended. Learning time is no longer lost and the days of keeping teeth-chattering, wind-swept children out in the playground when they should be in lessons are now hopefully behind us. As testament to student conduct outside of class, we have been able to remove all staff from duty apart from the Senior Leadership Team who have taken up coverage of the whole school.

Obviously, in any school, there will inevitably be those who wish to nudge at the edges of what is acceptable behaviour and, where that has been the case, students have been removed to the investigation room where they have been met with a small number of staff who are now responsible for deciding discussion, decision and sanction. The vast majority of those conversations have been had by myself, Mrs Joseph, Miss Rigby and Mr Bartram and I hope that the centralisation of these discussions gives you confidence that JFS will be a school built on fair and proportionate responses as we aim to ensure our high expectations are met across the board.

As I get to know children and families in our school, I have spoken to well over 150 of you and can only thank you for the support that you are giving in terms of us reaching those expectations. Behaviour around the school is good. Students are honest and where they do not meet the standards that we ask of them, they always handle the conversation around right and wrong with a maturity that is a credit to you as parents. Our journey is not a wholesale reform of student standards but a gradual refinement until every lesson is completely free from distraction, as indeed the vast majority already are. Alongside that journey though, there is always the understanding that children will always be children and that is certainly something we would never wish to change. The one that has had me laughing most this week has been the two children who took one of the security ropes, clipped an end each to their respective bags and then ran in opposite directions to see what would happen.

On the more serious topic of school improvement, with regard to SEND, as I said last week, this is a significant focus for us. We have begun to work as a teaching group to consider how we can better support our children and have also increased our administrative capacity to help improve our communication. I would ask you to bear with us whilst we embed these systems, but it is my hope that by February we will have taken a significant step forward. As I have said before, the constant changes that the school has been subjected to over the past few years mean that processes have become tangled. It is well within our ability to sort these and we will do so as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I wish you the loveliest of weekends.

Shabbat shalom

Dr David Moody

D’Var Torah

Parshat Beshalach – Exodus 13:17-17:16

When the B’nei Yisrael stood at the precipice, the banks of the Reed Sea with the advancing Egyptians behind them, the sea split and the build-up of fear and worry dissipated in the blink of an eye.

This, however, poses a question. The B’nei Yisrael had already been released from slavery in a blaze of glory and divine assistance, why was worry about the future still playing on their mind? One answer could be that even though in actuality a person is free, he or she is not actually ‘free’ unless they are free from worry and insecurity. To spend time worrying about what the future may hold is an exercise in futility as even though future events may work out even better than you had wished, you still suffered in the present. So it is up to us to gain mastery over our thoughts and gain true freedom in our lives.

Shabbat Shalom

Simon Rinkoff
Head of Faculty for Jewish Education

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