In 2012 JFS was awarded ‘The Challenge Award’ by The National Association for Able Children in Education, (NACE), one of only 60 secondary schools in the country to have received the accolade. 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- curricular activities allowing all students the opportunity to “shine through”.
In relation to lessons and the formal curriculum, the assessors’ judgment was that at JFS there is “outstanding teaching and learning”.
JFS has special programmes to cater for Gifted and Talented students
These students, approximately 10% of the total student body, are identified by data returns and staff nomination. Their teachers are aware of who they are. Their progress is monitored closely to ensure that the students are given opportunities in the classroom appropriate to their needs and that staff expectations are suitably high.
Each department runs a Gifted and Talented programme where students who show promise of exceptional talent in a given subject are further stretched and challenged. Guest speakers, workshops and visits are interspersed with demanding lessons and stimulating opportunities. Every student is given the tools to expand and exceed their academic expectations.
Examples of the Gifted and Talented provision on offer at JFS include:
- A fast track Key Stage 4 programme allowing some students to take GCSE in Year 10 and AS in Year 11
- Termly sessions in Economics and Philosophy for students in Years 8, 9 and 10
- Special sessions in Critical Thinking for Year 7
- Extra coaching in a range of sports for gifted athletes
- Special music workshops
- Visits to and discussions with Pembroke College, Cambridge for students in Year 11
- Advanced English reading groups
- Maths withdrawal sessions in Year 8 to stretch gifted mathematicians and prepare for the fast track at Key Stage 4
- Participation in the National Maths Challenges
- A Student Journalism programme for gifted English students
- Classical Civilisations GCSE
The whole-school Gifted and Talented Programme is co-ordinated by a designated member of staff who is line managed by a member of the Senior Leadership Team.