Ofsted quashes Jewish school's 'inadequate' rating

Inspectorate admits it was wrong to find that the King David High School, in Manchester, had segregated girls and boys unlawfully

Ofsted has quashed an inspection report finding that the King David High School in Manchester was inadequate.

Ofsted has quashed an inspection report that rated a Jewish school as inadequate after admitting it was wrong to conclude that the school had unlawfully segregated pupils.

The inspectorate has withdrawn the report into the King David High School, in Manchester, which had been taking legal action against the inspectorate.

The school is now rated as "outstanding", dating back to its previous inspection in 2015.

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The school operates in three sections, with one for boys (Yavneh Boys) and another for girls (Yavneh Girls), and a third section that is not segregated.

Ofsted had said in an inspection report, published in June, that the way the school kept some boys and girls separate in different sections of the school was “unlawful segregation on the grounds of faith and belief and sex".

However, the inspectorate has now said this judgement was wrong.

A spokesperson said: “We have taken the very unusual step of giving consent to the quashing of the most recent inspection report on King David’s High School in Manchester, which was published in June 2019.

“We have agreed with the school that, given the school’s particular arrangements, it was not open to us to conclude that there was unlawful direct discrimination on grounds of either sex or religion and belief, when comparing a pupil in either of the single-sex streams with a pupil in the mainstream. 

“Quashing the report will allow us to re-inspect the school at an appropriate time, looking again at how it manages the separation of pupils by sex and assessing the education it provides against our new inspection framework.”        

King David High School has said previously that 30 per cent of its school is part of a Yavneh structure in which boys and girls are kept separate.

The Ofsted report, which has now been withdrawn, had said that the different treatment of pupils constituted "direct discrimination contrary to the Equality Act 2010 and breaches the school’s public sector equality duty".

However, in a letter to parents at the time, the school’s chair of governors Joshua Rowe said: “The school lawyers and counsel believe that Ofsted is wrong on the law.” 

Commenting on the removal of the Ofsted report, Michael Brotherton, a partner in the Stone King law firm  which  represented the school, said: “Stone King was pleased to represent the King David High School in this matter; we were instructed on the basis of our strong reputation in the education sector and are delighted with the outcome that the school has achieved.” 

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