Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Yesodey Hatorah Senior School: holding its figures to account – Part II

See Part I below

Rather than quibble with Ofsted's grading I have run a simple comparison exercise on the Department of Education website comparing YHS to other Hackney secondary schools for which figures are available. The results, which are for 2009-2010, are produced below.

I will let the figures speak for themselves and merely say that either the individuals/family/board or whoever runs the school has developed a miraculous formula by which they can achieve an 'Outstanding' grade yet spend overall only 86% of their allocated budget, and less than 50% of it on actual teaching, employ less than a handful of FTE (full time equivalent) qualified teachers, maintain a teacher to pupil ratio that would barely fit the school hall though with a back office budget that exceeds each of the other schools.

Or these figures are crying out for some other explanation.


These show YHS to be well above the national average and very high across the board.

Attainment 6 Dec - Copy

Who is teaching the children?

The number of qualified teachers is astoundingly low and the pupil to teacher ratio relates to qualified teachers only.

Teachers 6 Dec - Copy

How is the budget divided?

Since the income per pupil differs for each school the figures below are based on percentages of the income/spend per pupil. Note the relatively low percentage spent on teaching, the relatively high back office costs and the high unspent budget. It would be interesting to know why these funds aren’t being spent and what happens to this apparent surplus. The amount spent on building and energy is also high especially as it is a relatively new building.

budget 6 Dec 3 - Copy

Free School Meals

This is a particularly curious statistic as the 'principal' appeared on the BBC in relation to proposed housing benefit reforms to complain about the disproportionate effect it will have on this community. Yet here is a benefit administered through the school but the take up is incredibly low.

fsm 6 Dec

Data for individual schools is from the Department of Education's website for comparing schools and the national data is from this DoE page.

(Thanks to those who assisted with the charts)


  1. You dont seem to realise what the YHS was before Mrs Pinter took over. I cant speak for the finances but if anyone deserves a medal in SH it is her. All the chasidim have done their best to destroy her. They see their girls, all going to her even satmar. Instead of improving their own they are out to destroy hers. She is their most serious threat. How can you compare beth chinuch and I am referring to the kodesh which is almost non existent there. A few silly speeches by their headmistress is all they have. I think you should give credit where its due.

  2. The point you seem to miss is that there is only one parameter that interests parents, and that is the end result. I as a parent am so grateful for what the school provides for my children. I am so disturbed by your article which is so blatantly malicious.

    Your points are just cheap manipulations. If they wouldve spent their full budget you wouldve just compared to others that manage on less and implied that there is fund misappropriation. Here the school seems to be run amazingly efficiently by getting the excellent high grades and doing that on a honest low budget and you got the indecency to twist that as a complaint?

    Regarding qualified teachers,you know quite well the problem is the shortage of supply of qualified teachers that conform to the schools culture - but you spin it as some sort of conspiracy and mismanagement issue.

    If grades would be sub standard then there may have been place for a debate. Given the achievements, what is your point? Who cares if the teachers are qualified or not? Who cares what the budget surplus is? It is clearly well managed and the result excellent.

    Bottom line, if you feel you could do a better job then feel free to do it.

  3. Stamford Hill, your bottom line is my very point. I or anyone else cannot run it better since the school is effectively a closed shop. The governors are Pinter nominees and Joe as chair is nothing more than a figurehead.

    I am not spinning any figures but merely raising perfectly legitimate points. If it is all as 'honest' as you make out they would have nothing to fear from accountability and transparency.

    I do not accept that the shortage of teachers is so acute unless the criteria is as narrow as in admissions. I care if the teachers are qualified or whether they are teaching in the same classrooms they occupied 2 years earlier as pupils themselves.

    I published a chart for the grades but a school is more than a feeding place for grades. While credit is due for what it achieves there is nothing malicious in asking valid questions about a publicly funded school especially when there is no other forum to raise these issues.

  4. @StamforHill, +1 - You couldnt have put it better.


    What you smokin' man? Whats your agenda? Is it a personal vendetta against Rabbi A? I'm afraid you scored an own goal BRUV!

    Ah git shabbos all.

    A forever indebted ex parent.

  5. "The governors are Pinter nominees and Joe as chair is nothing more than a figurehead."

    1. Anyone who knows him will testify, one person who cant be made into a poodle is Mr Joe Lobenstein. He would be fully aware of his legal powers as head of governors and no one would be able to take that for good or bad.

    2. As parents we freely voted not long ago for a parent governor.

    If you want to make your life mission a jealousy fueled smear campaign, at least get your facts straight.

  6. @YhsParent

    Your contribution greatly contributed to the gaiety (as defined in the kosher dictionary) of my Shabbos. And while my portion of paradise has been greatly enhanced by withstanding the temptation to reply on the day of rest it is one shmiras shabbos Ben Yitzchok is unlikely to applaud as it also allowed me time to formulate my response.

    It may well be that had Joe the sense to keep his buffoonery to himself I would not have known him. But things being as they are there are few people who know him as anything other than a sucker for anything so long that he is at its head (cf. his thrice consecutive tenure as mayor of Hackney). He would glue himself to a loo seat if it was to chair a presidium even of bin collections.

    As for the case in point, Joe was opposed to the school turning publicly aided and said so at the time. Wily Pinter shut him up by offering him the Chair knowing full well how 'fully aware of his legal powers' he is likely to be. It paid off handsomely because while Joe continues to sound off about other publicly funded schools he keeps shtum on YHS. So much for his apparent lack of poodle characteristics.

    As for the elections, I wonder why of all the governors bar the returning officer Pinter saw it his duty to be present at the count. In any event that parent governor as well as the remaining governors, whoever they might be, could just as well be blasted to Mars and parents would see no less of them.

  7. Budget surplus?! Not very Jewish at all.

    On a different note, Mr Lobenstein is a person with a lot of communal credit under his belt. Yes he enjoys recognition, but nothing wrong with that, at least he funnels it to positive places unlike others. He is most definitely not a walkover or poodle as you put it.

    Regarding YHS, all I would say is the Jewish community is very lucky to have such a unique personality like Rabbi Pinter in their midst. Does he ever make mistakes? Of course. As someone who is involved in so many facets of community work, he is bound to have done things which have left individuals upset at him, but this mindless and backstabbing attempt at discrediting one of his greatest achievements, using manipulated statistics doesn't bring any respect or integrity to its author.

  8. The reason why so few are taking up the free school meals aRe asas in one claims working tax credit they are not eligible for free meals.... And one does not have be a genius to work out why so little is being spent on teachers.

  9. To give you the benefit of the doubt, I don't think you took enough time to think through the possible implications of this post prior to posting it.

    Valid though some of your points may be, one would have to question whether it is actually possible to get good results when washing dirty linen in public.

  10. There was absolutely no dirty linen in this post. This is actually an excellent post for objective bystanders to get a picture of what the school is up against.

    This blog author seems to be a YHS parent. He knows full well that his daughter is getting the best education by far relative to any other current school in our area. He knows he saving £1000s fees every year - not because he did something about it, just because one individual lobbied for his sake for YEARS. My daughters have a dream education with music/cooking/sewing all in state of the art premises all FREE OF CHARGE, saving me much needed money to survive, all thanks to one person. Instead of thanking him this mean natured irresponsible person tries to attack and discredit the school and him from every direction possible.

    Rabbi Pinter is a man of integrity and great moral strenghth and he has managed to survive worse attacks, but just imagine in theory if this idiot would succeed even a little and the school would lose respect by the authorities, who would stand to lose??? The biggest losers would be us the parents! Rabbi Pinter has more than enough other projects that he could use his time for.

    I am all for free discussion and debate, but when a person is willing to risk the future of one of its kind chinuch of thousands of children all to persue a jealous vendetta it sickens me to the gut.

    Rabbi Pinter, I will be forever indebted to you for what you have done for my children. My daughters talk about school as if it was a theme park outing! I will never be able to repay it and not always do I have the oppertunity to express it. May Hkb"H give you strength to keep giving form yourself so selflessly for our community.

    Of course it cant go without mentioning the unbelievably devoted and loyal head teacher Mrs Pinter who makes it all happen in practice, may you both only have nachess from all you have.

    It is a long time since I have been so passionate, I have tears in my eyes. I beg of you blog writer please reconsider your actions.

  11. Frummer?????, while I appreciate your sentiments I'm afraid we cannot be held to ransom forever by these kind of arguments. Anyway, the linen is in the barely-soiled category as the figures are in the public domain.

    The Pinter brigade want to have it both ways. Either the place is a model of probity in which case they shouldn't be hopping about or these are genuine issues but which they would rather not address. Either the place is run by a poodle-less chair with a board of independent governors and so Pinter wouldn't even be in the firing line or they are a pack of stooges and I am malicious for daring to suggest that Pinter has no divine right to run the school as his own. Let them say which it is but they can't have both.

    The OTT sycophancy is quite typical round here so let's put things in perspective. In the time Pinter obtained state aid for this one school Eliezer Pearl helped set up half a dozen or so schools yet he does not treat them as hereditary principalities. Mrs Pinter is indeed the lifeblood of the school but so are other head teachers within the community on much tighter budgets and so are head teachers up and down the country. Do also bear in mind that YHS is a tiny school of 245 pupils (capacity 348) while Mossbourne has over 1000 and JFS over 2000. Other head teachers also don't have the added bonus of positions for the husband and assorted family members.

    As for gratitude, the boys' school recently relieved itself of a truly dedicated volunteer after about a decade of service when he started asking questions yet I don't recall any outcry.

  12. yada yada yada...

  13. How can you compare Mrs Pinter to other head teachers in SH.
    There is not one school for frum girls in SH where they even learn anything apart from YHS.
    Her new sixth form or seminary is now killing Gateshead and the London sem. She is the only one who realises that girls are not dunces and are capable of learning as well.

  14. Yhs is the most amazing school
    it allows excellent kodesh studies as well as top teachers that allowed me to score a* on almost 11 gcses. It also allows broadmindedness amongst the community with a wide range of different students from chassidish to sefardi. The extra curricular and amazing speakers brought over from alll over the world gave me an inspiring yet fun and busy secondary education. Noone has ever seen a most caring headteacher involved in every students progress1
    a former student


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