Again, I find myself playing the part of the JC’s token JFS graduate.
Let’s be clear, this paper is not trying to make the school – my school – look bad.
One audacious 16-year-old has just called the office and squealed. He was so riled up by our coverage of, the truth, that he went into a high-pitched rant only dogs could decipher.
Another asked: “Why do you keep writing bad stories about our school?”
Well, because we are not in the business of covering up issues, whether they are embarrassing or not.
It is not the JC’s responsibility to manage the largest Jewish school in Europe’s public relations and image – it is the job of JFS’ leaders, teachers, and to a large extent, students.
Plus, a handful of parents have called us complaining about the running of JFS, with one mother describing it as “one big joke”.
The reputation of JFS is, without question, going through a crisis – and personally, I am just as hurt as said squealer to watch the chain of events unfold.
But the facts remain.
Ofsted school inspectors have voiced serious concerns over the behaviour, safety and attendance records of JFS students.
After an unannounced inspection last year, the school was downgraded from having an Ofsted rating of “outstanding” to “requires improvement”.
Then, there was that ‘muck-up day’ – an event that forced the school to call in the police to reign in a handful of students who saw fit to rip a security fence out of place and deface public and school property.
Now it has emerged that GCSE maths students did not receive the full amount of allocated time to sit the exam on Thursday morning.
And yet, there is still a 100-plus waiting list to get into the school.
This tells me there is still hope. In the midst of its PR disaster, our community still feels loyalty, respect and admiration for the school that boasts bright and high-achieving graduates.
So please, JFS, pull your finger out. Respect Edexcel’s exam time guidelines, do your best to impress Ofsted – and to all Year 10 students planning muck-up day next year – keep security fences in place.