State-funded faith school warned by government for sex discrimination

Posted: Fri, 13 May 2022

State-funded faith school warned by government for sex discrimination

A state-funded faith school has been warned by the government after failing an inspection for discriminating against girls.

The Department for Education issued a termination warning notice to King David High School's academy trust after it failed an Ofsted inspection in March.

Ofsted downgraded the King David High School, a Jewish academy in Manchester, from "outstanding" to "inadequate" after discovering pupils in the single-sex unit suffered discrimination.

A termination warning notice is issued when a school must take special measures to improve. If the school does not improve, the government can shut the school down or appoint additional directors.

The school's trust board "has not ensured that the school fulfils its statutory duties under the Equality Act 2010" regarding pupils who attend the school's Yavneh Girls unit, the warning notice said.

An Ofsted inspection in November 2021 found pupils who attend Yavneh Girls are "separated from all other pupils at the school throughout the school day, including during breaks and at lunchtime".

Segregating pupils according to sex within mixed-sex schools was found to amount to unlawful sex discrimination in a landmark ruling in 2017, after the National Secular Society and other campaigning organisations highlighted the issue.

The notice also said leaders and trustees "have not ensured that effective safeguarding arrangements are in place".

In addition, students lack a decent careers education to help them make decisions about their future.

NSS comment

NSS education campaigns officer Ella Sen said: "We welcome the DfE's actions to hold this school to account.

"All girls should be given access to high-quality education whereby they are not isolated and treated fairly.

"Unfortunately, sex discrimination is a consequence of allowing schools to be run according to a conservative religious ethos. Education authorities must continue make it clear a religious ethos can never be used to justify discrimination."

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Tags: Education, Faith schools, Gender segregation