JFS (formerly known as the Jews' Free School and later Jewish Free School) is a Jewish mixed comprehensive school in Kenton, North London, England. Amongst its early supporters was the writer and philanthropist Charlotte Montefiore. At one time it was the largest Jewish school in the world, with more than 4,000 pupils.


Head teachers

Other staff

*Poet Daljit Nagra taught English at the school, as well as other support staff roles including Learning Resource Centre Staff Member *Moses Angel was headmaster from 1842 to 1897 *Michael Adler taught Hebrew at the school in the late 19th-century

Houses and other traditions

JFS operates the house system and has four houses for organisational purposes. Students must wear a tie with stripes in their house colour, e.g. blue for Brodetsky students. Both Brodetsky and Zangwill were former students, Angel was the first headmaster and Weizmann, who has several links to the school, was the first President of the State of Israel. Students are split into their respective houses for most classes in Years 7, 8 and 9 as well as inter-house competitions, such as football and basketball. A tradition called "muck-up day" involves Year 11 students celebrating the last day of formal schooling before their GCSE examinations with various pranks. In May 2015 this descended into "a near-riot", with more than 300 pupils barred from the campus after a small minority spread foam, eggs, flour and dead chickens around the school. The police were called after some students broke through a security fence and let off fireworks, but no arrests were made.

Transport and location

The school moved from Camden Town to a new site in Kenton in 2002 to represent the demand of the Jewish population of London moving further out towards the suburbs of the city. The school is within the jurisdiction of the London Borough of Brent, while its post town is Harrow. There are special bus routes, provided by Transport for London (TfL), between the school and several areas with a large Jewish population, such as Edgware, Mill Hill, Southgate, Barnet, Hendon, Muswell Hill, Radlett, Bushey and Elstree. The nearest train station is Kingsbury (Jubilee line), which is a few minutes' walk away. Preston Road (Metropolitan line) is also nearby. The list of bus routes are as follows: 653, 683, 688, 628 and B76

Academic results

In 2007, with 53% of the school's attempted GCSE exams receiving grades of A* or A. In 2012 JFS was at the top of the School League Tables for GCSE in Brent and A-Level results were the best of all the mainstream Jewish schools. 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 school won a Wellbeing at School Award in 2021.

Controversy over 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 (Conservative) denomination, 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. In July 2008, the father sought to prosecute JFS on the grounds of 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". The Court of Appeal, however, in June 2009 declared that JFS, under the Race Relations Act 1976, had illegally discriminated against the child on grounds of race. 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. The school subsequently issued revised admissions criteria based on religious practice including synagogue attendance, formal Jewish education and volunteering. JFS and the United Synagogue appealed to the Supreme Court, with the support of chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks. On 16 December 2009, the UK Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal's ruling.

Notable former pupils

*Barney Barnato, Randlord *Gina Bellman, actress *Selig Brodetsky, mathematician, Zionist leader, and President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem *Benjamin Cohen, journalist and Channel 4 News presenter *Morris Cohen, adventurer *Julius Dein, Internet prankster and magician * Dean Furman (born 1988) - professional footballer *Maurice Glasman, academic, social thinker and Labour life peer *Samuel Gompers, first President of the American Federation of Labor *Ray Kelvin, founder of luxury clothing retail company Ted Baker * Josh Kennet (born 1987), English-Israeli footballer *David Joseph, chairman and CEO of Universal Music UK *Bernard Lewis, founder and owner, River Island *Joe Loss, musician *Jez San, game designer, Argonaut Games *Ian Stone, comedian *Joel Samuels – DJ Luck, DJ *Steven Reingold, cricketer *Barbara Roche, Labour politician


External links

JFS official website


JFS unofficial student forum
{{DEFAULTSORT:Jfs (School) Category:Secondary schools in the London Borough of Brent Category:Educational institutions established in 1732 Category:1732 establishments in England Category:Jewish English history Category:Jewish schools in England Category:Voluntary aided schools in London Category:Kenton, London