Ofsted inspectors have downgraded JFS from an ‘outstanding’ school to one that ‘requires improvement’.
The verdict was contained in a report released on Friday following an unannounced two-day inspection in July.
A letter sent to parents, chair of governors Michael Glass said: “It goes without saying that both the senior leadership team and the governing body are profoundly disappointed by the report.
“JFS has always expressed a commitment to achieving excellence and to continuous improvement. We, of course, accept the report’s conclusions and will be working hard together over the coming months to make the necessary improvements suggested by OFSTED, some of which we had already identified in our school improvement plan.”
The classification as ‘requiring improvement’ represents a two-stage downgrade from 2009 and bypasses a ‘good’ ranking. It comes amid pressure on the faiths schools sector in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal.
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But Glass charged that Ofsted had “given disproportionate emphasis to issues which do not go to the heart and soul of the school and has not portrayed accurately the school or given appropriate weight to the rich and varied educational experiences provided”.
And he suggested that the response of parents to an inspection survey – described by the report itself as “overwhelmingly positive” – had not been fully acknowledged in the inspectors’ decision. This includes 99 percent saying their child feels safe at school and 97 percent believing students’ behaviour is good and well managed.
The letter also drew attention to the school’s recent exam results which saw a record number students gaining winning place at Oxbridge and the percentage of GCSE A* and A grades improving for a third consecutive years. Glass wrote that those results were not available to Ofsted during the inspection and, when available, were not taken into account”.
JFS President Lord Levy threw his full support behind the school’s leadership: “Both chair of governors Michael Glass and head teacher Jonathan Miller, together with all of his team have my full support and commitment. Sometimes even the best of schools having achieved such high standards, need challenging and I take this Ofsted report in that context”.