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|The Jews' Free School|
The Jews' Free School (JFS) traces its origins to 1732, when affluent members of the Ashkenazi Great Synagogue congregation established a Talmud Torah for orphan boys. The JFS itself was founded in 1817. During its time it has witnessed, and reflected, far-reaching changes in education as well as in the pattern of Jewish settlement.
Until the 19th century, there was no direct state involvement in education in England, and schooling for children whose parents were unable to afford either school fees or private tuition was, at best, haphazard. By the end of the century, in spite of the challenge of rapid population growth, free school education had become available to all, at least at elementary level.
JFS mirrored this expansion. At the beginning of the 19th century, only a couple of dozen East End boys could be accommodated in the school's Talmud Torah predecessor. By the end of the 19th century the JFS had over 4,000 pupils on roll, both boys and girls. In the century since, the school has migrated across London just as the descendants of immigrants have themselves migrated.
Creators: Petra Laidlaw
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