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Shrager to be JCoSS’s first Chair of Governors

Robert Shrager (59) – a former Director of Morgan Grenfell and Finance Director of the Dixons Group plc – has been appointed as the first Chair of JCoSS’s temporary Governing Body.  Mike Grabiner, Director of private equity group, Apax, is to serve as vice-chair. 

The Governing Body will be responsible for appointing the cross community school’s first head teacher and staff, overseeing the development of the school’s innovative curriculum and all the detailed work required to make the school functional.  The Governors will work alongside the JCoSS Trust, chaired by Michael Phillips, which is responsible for appointing the remaining governors, fundraising and getting the school built on time and within its budget.

Commenting on his appointment, Shrager, the outgoing Chair of West London Reform Synagogue, says:

“We are a small community and numbers have been dwindling.  We can and need to be more united.  JCoSS has a potentially crucial role to play in bringing the whole community together.  It is an incredibly exciting project and I am proud to have been offered this challenging role.”

Between 7 and 18 further Governors will be appointed over the next few months, with the Body formally being put before Barnet Council for approval in the Autumn.  It will include a number of Parent Governors, who will be appointed from those with children of school age who have registered an interest in the school at the JCoSS website.

Shrager says:

“Obviously we want to ensure that the Governing Body, like the Trust, is representative of the community as a whole – but our priority is to identify individuals with the skills we need to make a success of the project, including – most importantly – education, as well as HR, marketing and knowledge of the law. “

Last month, JCoSS launched a £10 million fundraising campaign, with supporters able to pledge money to the project via its website (  The Trust is currently in the process of appointing an educational consultant to advise the Governors and in the Autumn plans to start the recruitment process for a head teacher, which is expected to take up to six months.

JCoSS is set to become the first Jewish secondary school in the UK to welcome, on an equal basis, Jews of all backgrounds, beliefs and abilities.  It will be sited off Westbrook Crescent, East Barnet and is due to open in Sept 2010.  It will grow year on year to provide, by 2015, places for 1310 students, aged from 11-18.  It will include a 50 place Special Resource provision for children with disabilities, in partnership with Norwood.

Notes to Editors

For further information and photos please call Ben Rich on 020 7618 9100 or 07713 509134.

JCoSS’s aim is academic excellence, religious and ethical commitment and inclusivity.  It will be the only Jewish secondary school in the UK to welcome on an equal basis Jews of all backgrounds, beliefs and – in partnership with Norwood – abilities.  It will offer first class, state-of-the art facilities, in a specially constructed building.  It will be outward looking, encouraging students to learn about other cultures and religions.  It will use the national curriculum to teach students about their Judaism, while preparing them to play a full part in the world outside as proud, confident Jews, and ambassadors for our faith and values.   It will include within it a co-located Special Unit for children with profound and severe disabilities.  For the first time, it will enable brothers and sisters to go to school together and for some – by bringing Norwood’s facilities closer to home – it will enable them to live together too.

The Pears Foundation is a long standing supporter of Norwood and has made a  £2m donation towards the special resource provision.


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