Family & Education

Leeds Jewish Free School still in Ofsted’s good books

‘I would pick this school every day,’ says pupil


A school that values 'diversity, inclusivity, and kindness': Leeds Jewish Free

Leeds Jewish Free School remains a good school, after its first visit from Ofsted in five years.

But inspectors warned that the school might have received a lower ranking if it had been subject to a full, graded inspection.

Highlighting LJFS’s strengths, they said it valued “diversity, inclusivity and kindness. Pupils feel accepted for who they are and appreciate the supportive environment created by their peers and the staff. One pupil, typical of many, said, ‘You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your school and I would pick this school every day.’ Staff and parents agree.”

They noted the work of the school council which advocated “the importance of social responsibility and valuing the rights of others”.

The personalised support given to those with special needs or disabilities enabled them to thrive, Ofsted said.

Pupils were generally keen to do well but did not benefit from a consistently strong curriculum and some did not achieve as well as they should.

“The school’s improvement journey has been slowed down by instability in staffing and by

difficulties in recruiting staff in some subjects,” Ofsted reported. “Leadership has now been stabilised and many parents and pupils recognise the recent changes that new leaders are increasingly bringing about.”

Ofsted said that pupils had been right to raise concerns over not feeling their knowledge of other faiths was strong enough and that girls did not have same sporting opportunities as boys. “Leaders… are determined to ‘work this out’,” Ofsted said.

Overall, “this united school community has strength of vision and clarity of purpose”.

New executive headteacher Charlie Kelsey said, “I am really pleased that the report recognises LJFS for the school it is. That it recognises the commitment of our staff and all of our school community and that it recognises we are moving our school, our curriculum and our outcomes in the right direction.”

She added, “Every one of us is now absolutely committed to taking the leaning and guidance from the report, and rapidly moving LJFS towards outstanding, not just in terms of Ofsted judgments, but in every aspect of what we do and achieve with our students and our community.”

LJFS opened with eight students in 2013 and now has a roll of 137. It was graded outstanding for Jewish studies by Pikuach last year.

Ofsted aims to visit good schools every four years without awarding a fresh grade. However, if they believe the school might be performing higher or lower than “good”, it will recommend that the next inspection is graded.

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