Family & Education

JFS will not join Jcat until 2023

The school is still on course to becoming part of multi-academy trust


JFS will not become part of the Jewish Community Academy Trust until next year, the JC has learned.

The school was forced to join a multi-academy trust after being put into special measures and rated inadequate by Ofsted last year.

However, after being removed from special measures and graded as a good school this year, it technically could ask for the academisation order to be rescinded.

A Jcat spokesman said this week that it was “continuing to work in partnership with JFS towards our established shared goal of academisation by early 2023.

“Our main priority regarding JFS has always been to build strong relationships with all key stakeholders that ensure a positive transition into the trust and this remains the case as we continue our journey together.”

Since Jcat was launched by the United Synagogue, which is also the denominational authority for JFS, the move seemed a logical fit.

However, some people initially had reservations as to whether Jcat could cope with a secondary school the size of JFS since its experience had hitherto been confined to primary schools.

According to an internal email seen by the JC, one JFS staff member last year even suggested that a “soft federation” with JCoSS might be an alternative.

But the new head of JFS, David Moody, has welcomed the prospect of joining Jcat, saying earlier this year that he was “genuinely excited” about the future. “Many of the pupils at Jcat’s primary academies already go on to attend JFS for their secondary education, and working together I am confident that we can build an ever stronger educational community.”

The JC understands that one of the reasons that academisation is taking time is the complexity of the PFI (private finance initiative) which was arranged to relocate JFS from its old Camden site to a brand-new campus in Kenton in 2002.

Under the terms of the PFI, £5 million has to be repaid annually until 2027, of which the school has to find just over £2 million, with the rest being met by the government and Brent Council.

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