The history of LJFS

The development of Leeds Jewish Free School

It is not known exactly when the need for a Jewish secondary school in Leeds first arose, but for many years there was a variety of groups working to establish one.  The nearest secondary school was King David’s in Manchester.  One concern was that a large proportion of pupil’s family time was spent travelling the 140 miles on the M62 making the return journey between Leeds and Manchester.  Leeds has the third largest Jewish community in the UK and the lack of a secondary school was acceptable.

With the election of the Conservative government in 2010 who introduced the ‘Free School’ initiative presented the opportunity to establish a Jewish secondary school in Leeds distinct from the problems which had prevented the establishment of one in the past.  Planning was started immediately to prepare an application to open a secondary free school.  A limited company was formed as the application vehicle for the new school.  The sponsors of the school and first directors of the company were:

Cllr. Daniel Cohen

Mr. Alan Dunwell

Rabbi Jason Kleiman

Rabbi Reuven Cohen

Mr Alex Abrams

Mr Spencer Weiner

Mr Simon Myerson QC

Cllr Cohen was the project leader and Mr Jeremy Dunford (the Head Teacher of Brodetsky Primary School) was appointed the designated head teacher of the proposed new school.  The directors working with a specialised consultant in making free school application produced the detailed application pack.  This included details of the curriculum, ethos of the school, management, financial plans and premises requirements.

The Secretary of State for Education approved the free school application in 2012 and work commenced on the new building and refurbishment of the building previously used by a Middle School on the Brodetsky campus.  The development of the curriculum and administrative systems were developed and tested ahead of making the school ready for opening in September 2013.