Hasmonean gives highest value in DfE league tables
From September, pupils at the Hasmonean High in north-west London can take GCSE Chinese.
It is as an example of the forward thinking that is paying dividends at the Orthodox school, the top Jewish secondary in terms of academic progress made by pupils from 11-to-16, according to new Department for Education performance tables.
Most Jewish schools are performing well above the DfE's average "value-added" score of 1,000 - which compares what pupils entering the school might be predicted to achieve at GCSE with their actual results five years later.
But Hasmonean's value-added score of 1,037, followed by two strictly Orthodox girls' schools - Beis Yaakov in Salford (1,030) and Yesodey Hatorah in Hackney (1,025) - is particulary noteworthy.
"We are very pleased," said Hasmonean executive head Rabbi David Meyer. "We have implemented a number of intervention programmes to meet the needs of every student, whether it is one-to-one learning or after-school and lunch clubs.
Schools ranked according to A-Level points per pupil
King David Liverpool
King David Manchester
"If a student is on course to get a B grade but we feel they could get an A, or on the borderline between a D and C, we look at where we can intercede. It works for those at the top of the range as well as for the weakest students. Across the board, we are ensuring good and outstanding progress."
It is not only for exam results that the school has won recognition. Ofsted inspectors have just ranked its business and enterprise programmes as outstanding.
This year's performance tables include a host of new information, such as how many pupils qualify for the new English Baccalaureate - with GCSE passes in English language, maths, double science, history or geography and a foreign language.
The EBacc score is complicated by the fact that some schools may take international GCSEs in some subjects, not all of which are counted by the DfE. The department has declined to accept religious studies for EBacc, despite lobbying by faith organisations including the Board of Deputies.
Among other data is the amount of money spent on students, ranging from £5,201 per pupil at King David Liverpool and £5,361 at King Solomon High to £8,039 at JFS. All state-aided Jewish schools have an officially "low" number of children eligible for free school meals - an index of disadvantage. At some it is just one per cent. King Solomon with 11 per cent and JFS at nearly eight per cent are the highest, indicating a broader social intake.
JFS head Jonathan Miller said: "Our students make excellent progress across the ability range and our most able students achieve true academic excellence."
The school's position in performance tables, he added, "reflects the outstanding teaching that JFS provides to all its students, continuing to build on our legacy of excellence".