At 8.30am on Monday 6th September, JCoSS – the UK’s first cross-communal Jewish secondary school and only the second parent-promoted school in the country – opened its doors to its first students.
Nine years in the planning, the magnificent £47 million building in New Barnet, North London has overnight become the second most popular Jewish school in the country, attracting its first 148 eleven year old students from every section of the Jewish community.
JCoSS’s students are being taught in class sizes of just twenty-four, almost exclusively by senior educators and Heads of Department.
JCoSS has already achieved a number of firsts. It is the first non-academy school in the country to have been awarded specialist status (in science) even before it opens, offering pupils increased resources and access to the very best support and equipment.
Its Pears Special Resource Provision – developed in conjunction with the charity, Norwood, which supports children and families with special needs – is also a unique facility in a faith school. It will offer seven students diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders the opportunity to learn on the same campus as their peers in the main school. Fifty of the school’s eventual full roll of 1310 students will benefit from the facilities of the PSRP.
Two-thirds of JCoSS’s first students come from non-Jewish primaries across North London, the remaining third include representatives from almost every Jewish primary school in and around London.
The first intake comes from as far afield as Northwood, St Albans and Redbridge. It includes Orthodox and Reform students in equal measure as the largest groupings, with significant numbers from the Masorti and Liberal traditions, as well as non-aligned and Israelis families.
Commenting on JCoSS’s first day, Headteacher, Jeremy Stowe-Lindner, says:
“I have to admit that this morning a small tear may have welled up in my eye when the first students walked in. I am so proud of what we have achieved here already, completing the building in just 18 months so that we can offer some of the very best facilities in the country. We have assembled an incredible team, a fantastic building and, from what I have seen, an energetic and enthusiastic group of students. All the ingredients are in place for JCoSS to succeed. Now it’s time for us to deliver on our promises.”
JCoSS will be hosting its first Open events for prospective parents and pupils on Wednesday 6th and Sunday 10th October. An open day for local residents will be held over the half term. For further information and to register to visit the school go to the JCoSS website, www.jcoss.org. A formal event to mark the opening of the school will be held next year.