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Established 1732
Type voluntary aided comprehensive
Religion Orthodox Judaism
Headteacher Mr J Miller
Specialism Humanities
Location The Mall
London Borough of Brent
England England
LEA London Borough of Brent
Ofsted number 133724
Students 2016[2] (as of July 2009)
Gender Mixed
Ages 11 to 18
Houses Angel     , Brodetsky     , Weizmann      & Zangwill     
Coordinates: 51°34′52″N 0°16′53″W / 51.58118°N 0.28135°W / 51.58118; -0.28135

JFS (formerly[1] Jews' Free School and also known as The Jewish Free School) 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[3] making this school the largest Jewish school in Europe. The school has been awarded specialist Humanities College status.[4] After a recent Ofsted inspection, JFS was rated Outstanding in all categories.[2]




Head teachers

Years Active Headteacher
2008 - Present Jonathan Miller
1993 - 2007 Ruth Robins, DBE
1985 - 1993 Josephine Wagerman
1973 - 1984 Leslie Gatoff
1958 - 1973 Dr Edward Conway

Other staff


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     
Brodetsky Selig Brodetsky Blue     
Weizmann Chaim Weizmann Green     
Zangwill Israel Zangwill Yellow     

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 in to Houses for most classes in years 7, 8 and 9 as well as inter-house competitions, such as Football or 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. [5]

School trips

The school offers numerous school trips for students, including a 3-month trip to Kibbutz Lavi in Israel in Year 9[6], a trip to Poland in Year 12[7], a Maths trip to Disneyland Paris and a French trip to Strasbourg in Year 10. Also in Year 10 students can go on a two week 'Taste of Israel' trip to Israel. There is also a History trip to Belgium in year 9.. The year 13 students have a chance to go to Odessa, Ukraine to learn about the underpriveliged living there.

Academic results

JFS has an excellent academic record. 2007 saw record-breaking achievement, with 53% of the school's attempted GCSE exams receiving grades of A* or A. (Source: "JFS Home". Retrieved 2007-09-06.  )

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.


Admissions criteria

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[8] 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.[9]

In July 2008, the father sought to prosecute JFS on the grounds of alleged 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".[10]

The Court of Appeal, however, in June 2009 declared that JFS, under the Race Relations Act, had illegally discriminated against the child on grounds of ethnicity. 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.[11][12] The school subsequently issued revised admissions criteria based on religious practice including synagogue attendance, formal Jewish education and volunteering.[13] JFS and the United Synagogue appealled to the Supreme Court, with the support of chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks.[14]. On 16 December 2009, the UK Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal's ruling.[15][16]

Notable alumni


  1. ^ a b Nicola Woolcock (2009-10-27). "Jewish school JFS in Supreme Court to deny it broke law by turning boy away". Retrieved 2009-11-09. "JFS, formerly the Jewish Free School, which is heavily oversubscribed,..."  
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ "At one time JFS had 4,000 children on roll and was the largest school in the world." -
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Currently JFS offers a three month Israel programme for Year 9 students. It is based at Kibbutz Lavi." -
  7. ^ "Year 12 students have the opportunity to experience an educational tour of Poland with focus being on the history during the Holocaust. JFS has been running such a programme for more than fifteen years. The Holocaust study visit is a unique and life enhancing experience that is one of our most popular events." -
  8. ^ Jonathan Romain (2009-10-27). "JFS puts faith schools in the dock". Retrieved 2009-11-09.  
  9. ^ Graham Tibbets, "Boy refused admission to leading Jewish school was 'not victim of racial discrimination'", The Telegraph, 3 July 2008
  10. ^ R(E) v Governing Body of JFS [2008] EWHC 1535 (Admin) (3 July 2008)
  11. ^ "Jewish school admissions unlawful", BBC, 25 June 2009
  12. ^ R(E) v Governing Body of JFS [2009] EWCA 626 (Civ) (25 June 2009)
  13. ^ JFS (2009-08-28). "JFS - Admissions". Retrieved 2009-11-16.  
  14. ^ Simon Rocker, "JFS: What's Next?", Jewish Chronicle, 3 July 2009
  15. ^ R(E) v Governing Body of JFS [2009] UKSC 15
  16. ^ For a detailed summary of the decision see
  17. ^ Robert Verkaik (4 July 2008). "Boy 'not Jewish enough' loses school appeal". The Independent. Retrieved 12 August 2009.  

External links


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