It may surprise you to learn some amazing facts about us - the secret is out!
Here at JFS we have a heritage that dates back to 1732, which means that our community is connected like very few others.
This brings clarity of vision, assuredness of values and confidence in our future. At our core are our principles of Living, Learning and Caring together with a strong belief in the centrality of Israel in Jewish life.
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 3% of students are on free school meals. Our ten-form entry intake, together with almost 600 students in the Sixth Form, makes us one of the largest schools in the country and, certainly, the largest Jewish school in Europe, with a total roll of over 2,000 students.
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 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.
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 'A' Level alongside a growing vocational pathway.
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 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.
Examination results are outstanding. Our overall ‘A’ Level pass rate in 2017 was 100%, 55% of results achieved were A*-A grades; a quarter of all grades were A*s – a school record even with the more challenging new linear A levels. 74 students achieved A*/A grades in three A levels – an increase on previous years despite a smaller cohort. The headline figure of 82% for A*-B is also the highest in recent years. The School is additionally proud of the results for our vocational courses: the CACHE course in which 100% of students achieved the equivalent of 3A*s and the Hospitality course in which 85% achieved a double distinction star (D*D*). Collectively, these results demonstrate JFS's continued commitment to a wide-ranging curriculum allowing all students to achieve outstanding outcomes and make exceptional progress.
13 students have secured their places for Oxford or Cambridge Universities. The overwhelming majority of students have achieved places in first class universities of their choice, these include 4 students who went to Medical School (1 to Oxford, 1 to Cambridge, 1 to UCL and 1 to Manchester). 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.