Birmingham Islamic faith school guilty of sex discrimination

Amanda Spielman

The policy of segregating girls and boys at an Islamic-faith school has been deemed unlawful in a landmark ruling by the Court of Appeal in the UK.

The Court of Appeal judges held that the policy caused detriment and less favourable treatment for both male and female pupils by reason of their sex, and was therefore contrary to the 2010 Equality Act. The school is run by a religious group but most of its capital costs -building maintenance, etc. - are paid with taxpayer monies.

Friday's court ruling means Ofsted will be allowed to mark down other schools which operate a segregation policy, whatever the faith.

The appeal judges said the school's policy caused detriment and less favourable treatment for both sets of pupils due to their sex.

The school challenged Ofsted in the High Court and won.

Amanda Spielman, Chief Inspector of education watchdog Ofsted, welcomed the ruling, saying it was her organisation s duty to ensure children were properly prepared for the future and it was discrimination to keep them apart.

Peter Oldham, lawyer for the school's interim executive board, said boys and girls were "treated entirely equally while segregated", and argued that was lawful.

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"This is discrimination and is wrong".

The ruling will have implications for other schools that segregate pupils based on their sex.

According to Ofsted, about 20 schools, which include Islamic, Jewish and Christian establishments, are believed to have similar policies in place.

The Birmingham school has complete segregation of boys and girls from nine to 16 for all lessons, breaks, school clubs and trips.

They said Ofsted had main it clear that they would apply a "consistent approach to all similarly organised schools". As Breitbart London reported, an Ofsted inspector also identified bullying, said the playground was chaotic, teaching was poor, pupils were not safe and some staff did not know what to do in medical emergencies.

However, the court did not accept the argument the school's policy had disadvantaged girls more than boys.

She added the number of similar cases in schools across the country were "in the low 20s".

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