Nancy Reuben Primary School in Hendon was this week celebrating a dramatic turnaround in fortune, after the latest Ofsted inspection upgraded it, noting the “rapid improvement” made in just a few months.
Anthony Wolfson, the new headteacher at the independent Finchley Lane school, was singled out for praise in the report, published this week, which upped the 200-pupil establishment to ‘Good’ from ‘Requires Improvement.’
Wolfson arrived at the Modern Orthodox school in April. In July, in a frank admission, he said the school has been “standing still” since an Ofsted inspection three years ago, which had warned that improvements were needed.
However, a new senior leadership team – in place since September – seems to have led the change, working with a newly-invigorated Governing body, which was criticised in 2014 for “not working strategically”.
Ofsted’s latest report, published on Wednesday, made for much more welcome reading, noting that “the headteacher has led rapid improvement in the quality of teaching” and that “the governing body has a secure understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses and provides effective support and scrutiny”.
Inspectors added that staff morale was high, that parents supported what the school was doing and praised pupils’ behaviour, attendance and development, saying: “They enjoy coming to school.”
While the school scored ‘Good’ ratings in every category, it wasn’t all plain-sailing, inspectors suggesting that there should be more consistency in developing both early-years and more able students.
Wolfson’s arrival in April coincided with that of Jeremy Richards as Head of Kodesh, who joined from Beit Shvidler in Edgware and Kerem School. Another new face is Shelley Cohen, praised as “an outstanding teacher” from Sacks Morasha in Finchley, who joins as Deputy Head from September.
This week Wolfson said: “From my arrival, there was a feeling that staff, parents and governors wanted to work together…The desire to move forward was exciting and contagious.”
He added: “I am immensely proud of the achievements we have made together so rapidly. The chair of governors, Michael Ezra, has provided exceptional support. The governing body is fantastically dynamic, working with the new leadership team. Their joint enthusiasm has cascaded through the staff.”