2014 Ofsted Report

From Chair of Governors, Michael Glass:

JFS was the subject of an unannounced OFSTED inspection over two days in the early part of July. Due to the Summer Holidays, the final report has only just been released.

Unfortunately the OFSTED Inspectors have downgraded JFS from an Outstanding School to a School that Requires Improvement.

It goes without saying that both the Senior Leadership Team and the Governing Body are profoundly disappointed by the Report.  

JFS has always expressed a commitment to achieving excellence and to continuous improvement.  We, of course, accept the Report’s conclusions and will be working hard together over the coming months to make the necessary improvements suggested by OFSTED, some of which we had already identified in our current School Improvement Plan.

Whilst acknowledging that OFSTED has identified important issues that need to be addressed, the School Leadership and Governing Body do think that, in reaching its conclusions, OFSTED has given disproportionate emphasis to issues which do not go to the heart and soul of the School and has not portrayed accurately the School or given appropriate weight to the rich and varied educational experiences provided for our students and to their successes.

Ultimately, it is you the parents who can speak with the most authority about JFS. For that reason, I would like to thank all those parents who took time to respond to the OFSTED survey sent to you in July.  The Inspectors noted that the response from parents was the highest she had ever seen and that:
“The high number of parents and staff who responded to the inspection surveys showed that most are overwhelmingly positive about all aspects of the school’s work.”
Despite OFSTED’s concerns about behaviour and safety, the parents' survey showed that:
99% of parents said that their child feels safe at JFS.
96% of parents said the School makes sure its pupils are well behaved.
95% of parents said their child is happy at school.
93% of parents feel their child is well looked after at JFS.
97% of parents believed the behaviour of students is good and well managed
These results suggest that your judgements about the School may not have been reflected fully in OFSTED's conclusions.

You will recall that the Headteacher wrote to you over the Summer to share the School's results but, given the disappointing OFSTED grading, it is worth re-iterating the achievements of our students which unfortunately were not available to OFSTED during its inspection and, when available, were not taken into account by OFSTED whilst it prepared its report:
At GCSE, the % of A*/A grades improved for the 3rd year in a row, increasing from 47.5% to 49.7%. In other words, almost half of all GCSE results are at these top two grades.  Slightly under 90% were at A* - C grades, also an increase on last year.  The headline figures of 5 or more GCSE grades at A* - C including English and Maths was also up on last year.

At ‘A’ Level, the School continued its trend of recent years where 50% of Grades were A*/A and 80% of Grades A*/A/B.  The overwhelming majority of students were successful in achieving a place at a top university, if that was their aspiration, while a record number of 16 students were successful in gaining places at Oxford or Cambridge Universities.
We have every confidence that, under the leadership of the Headteacher and his outstanding team, JFS will continue to thrive as demonstrated by these results.

Please be assured that we will take all steps necessary to address all issues raised by the OFSTED Report.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised by the OFSTED report then please do write to me (in strictest confidence) by email at governors@jfs.brent.sch.uk.

Finally, I should like to thank you for your continuing support.  Together, the JFS community will continue to provide the best environment in which our students can achieve great things and I would therefore like to invite you to see the School in action on a normal day at one of our open mornings. If you are interested, please book a place via our website (jfs.brent.sch.uk).

Yours sincerely

Michael Glass
Chair of Governors

From Headteacher, Mr Jonathan Miller:

Parents will have seen last week's email from our Chair of Governors Michael Glass. I share his disappointment at the outcome of our recent inspection. We are very grateful for all the letters we have received in response, the overwhelming majority of which were highly complimentary of our school. We also appreciate the very constructive suggestions we have received.

JFS is never complacent and we accept the areas for improvement highlighted in the report give us work to do. We are addressing the areas for development identified in the report and will communicate the progress we are making to you via our regular emails.

You may have realised that my comments about attendance two weeks ago are directly linked to one of the areas identified by the inspectors. They expect students to be in school every day, as do we. We are modifying our systems in response to the OFSTED report so that parents have earlier notice where attendance concerns exist.

With regard to behaviour, the vast majority of our students behave extremely well. We have high standards and will keep to these. The question raised in the report is one of consistency and communication. The Governors will be discussing this through meetings of the Discipline Committee and parents can expect to hear more on this topic in the near future.

One statement in the report I fully agree with is where it notes that we have an aspirational vision for the School. We aim to provide the very best education possible for our students, your children. They are the future of our community and deserve nothing less. We will not be satisfied until everyone recognises, including OFSTED, that is exactly what we provide at JFS.

2009 Reports

The School had an OFSTED inspection and a PIKUACH inspection of the Jewish Studies in the Spring of 2009. Both reported that JFS is an outstanding school.

The Ofsted report identified JFS as being outstanding in every one of the 39 measures by which schools are assessed.

In 2012, JFS was inspected by the National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE). Three NACE assessors spent a day at JFS observing lessons, and meeting students, parents, Governors and teachers. They reported that “The philosophy, culture and ethos of JFS are extremely aspirational...both within and beyond the curriculum”. They were deeply impressed by the pride the students have for their school, their “evident recognition and appreciation of staff commitment” and of the “exceptionally strong ethos of inclusive aspiration”. They also commented on the fact that at JFS “enrichment provision is extensive” with “a plethora” of extra- curriculum activities allowing all students the opportunity to “shine through”. When NACE grants its Challenge Award, the teaching and learning in those schools receiving the word must be “good or better”. However, the assessors judged that the teaching and learning at JFS is not “good or better” and is more accurately described as “outstanding”.

In 2011, JFS was granted 'Investors in People' status and in 2013 the school was awarded yet another kite mark; that of 'Investors in Careers'. The assessors report was extremely complimentary and indicated that JFS has “achieved the most exacting standards of excellence in Careers Education, information, advice and guidance”. This is a nationally recognised award to identify excellent practice in this area and it has been an aspect of work in which the staff at JFS invest considerable time and effort. We believe that students are more motivated and their achievements enhanced when they have a clear sense of their future options and receive realistic and individualised guidance and advice at all stages of their career in school.

To view the full 2009 Inspection Reports please click on the relevant links.