JFS (school)

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Template:About Template:Infobox UK school

JFS (formerly known as the Jews' Free School)<ref name="Woolcock" /> is a Jewish secondary school in Kenton, north London. It presently accepts both male and female students. At one time it had more than 4,000 students attending making this school the largest Jewish school in Europe. The school has been awarded specialist Humanities College status. After a recent Ofsted inspection, JFS was rated Outstanding in all categories.<ref name="ofsted.gov.uk">http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/oxedu_reports/display/(id)/108634</ref>


Head teachers

2008–Present Jonathan Miller
1993–2007 Ruth Robins, DBE
1985–1993 Josephine Wagerman, OBE
1976–1984 Leslie Gatoff
1958–1976 Dr Edward Conway


Other staff

  • Poet Daljit Nagra currently teaches English at the school, as well as other support staff roles including Learning Resource Centre Staff Member
  • Actor Nicholas Frankau better known for his role as Flt. Lt. Carstairs ('Allo 'Allo!) worked at the school as a supply teacher in the 1980s
  • Moses Angel was headmaster from 1842 to 1897


JFS implements the house system and has four houses. It has been a tradition for some years that students wear the specific tie for their house (e.g. the tie for students in Angel has red stripes, etc.)

Name of House Named after Colour
Angel Moses Angel Red Template:Color box
Brodetsky Selig Brodetsky Blue Template:Color box
Weizmann Chaim Weizmann Green Template:Color box
Zangwill Israel Zangwill Yellow Template:Color box

Both Brodetsky and Zangwill were former students, Angel was the first headmaster and Weizmann was the first president of the state of Israel, who has several links to the school.

Students are split into their respective houses for most classes in Years 7, 8 and 9 as well as inter-house competitions, such as football and basketball.


The school moved from Camden Town to Kenton in 2002 to represent the demand of the Jewish population of London moving further out towards the suburbs of the city. The school has exclusive bus routes to and from several highly Jewish populated areas, such as Edgware, Mill Hill, Southgate, Barnet, Hendon, Muswell Hill, Radlett, Borehamwood, Elstree and others.

Academic results

In 2007, with 53% of the school's attempted GCSE exams receiving grades of A* or A.<Ref>Template:Cite web</ref> In 2012 JFS was at the top of the School League Tables for GCSE in Brent and A-Level results were the best of all the mainstream Jewish schools.

JFS has been named as the top mixed comprehensive school in the official DFES league tables. In an independent analysis of the 2007 A Level results of almost 1000 secondary schools in England and Wales, JFS was placed in the top 1% of schools for value-added achievement.The analysis was undertaken by ALPS (A Level Performance System) an organisation funded by the Learning and Skills Council - the government agency which funds all post 16 and adult education in the country.Template:Cn

Controversy over admissions criteria

Template:Main In October 2006, a Jewish father made enquiries with the United Synagogue as to whether his son, born to a mother who had been converted to Judaism under the auspices of the Masorti movement, could convert under Orthodox auspices for entry to JFS in September 2007. He was advised the process could take several years and that such applications to JFS are very rarely successful given that the school is highly oversubscribed. He applied for his son but did not declare to the school's admissions board the mother's conversion history.

By April 2007, he had not supplied JFS with the requested information, whereupon the school advised him that, being oversubscribed that year, it was unlikely his son could be offered a place. He thereupon unsuccessfully appealed for reconsideration of his application.

In July 2008, the father sought to prosecute JFS on the grounds of racial discrimination, but High Court judge, Mr Justice Munby, ruled contrariwise, holding JFS' selection criteria were not intrinsically different from Christian or Islamic faith schools and their being declared illegal could adversely affect "the admission arrangements in a very large number of faith schools of many different faiths and denominations".

The Court of Appeal, however, in June 2009 declared that JFS, under the Race Relations Act 1976, had illegally discriminated against the child on grounds of race. They ruled that the mother's religious status, and thus her child's religious status, had been determined using a racial criterion rather than a religious criterion. The school subsequently issued revised admissions criteria based on religious practice including synagogue attendance, formal Jewish education and volunteering.<ref name="2009 admissions">Template:Cite web Template:Dead link</ref> JFS and the United Synagogue appealled to the Supreme Court, with the support of chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks. On 16 December 2009, the UK Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal's ruling.

Notable alumni


  • Barney Barnato, Randlord
  • Israel Zangwill, writer
  • Barbara Roche, Labour politician
  • Gina Bellman, actress
  • Benjamin Cohen, journalist and Channel 4 News presenter
  • Samuel Gompers, first President of the American Federation of Labor
  • Joe Loss, musician
  • Jez San, game designer, Argonaut Games
  • Morris Cohen, adventurer
  • Dean Furman, footballer
  • Ian Stone, comedian
  • Maurice Glasman, academic, social thinker and Labour life peer



External links

Template:Schools and colleges in Brent