Jewish school's race discrimination appeal goes to Supreme Court

30th October 2009 at 00:00

A top-performing Jewish school found guilty of racial discrimination over its admissions policy has had its appeal heard at the Supreme Court.

JFS, formerly the Jewish Free School in Brent, north London, refused to admit a boy because his mother was not officially recognised as Jewish.

Some observers have warned that the case has implications for admissions to other faith schools in England and Wales.

Three judges at the Court of Appeal ruled in June this year that the entry criteria at the JFS racially discriminated against the boy, referred to as M.

The boy's father is Jewish by birth, but his mother converted to Judaism at a ceremony not recognised by the Office of the Chief Rabbi.

JFS argued that its admissions policy giving preference to Jewish children when the school was oversubscribed was lawful because it was based on religious and not racial criteria.

In June, appeal judges said: "The requirement that if a pupil is to qualify for admission his mother must be Jewish, whether by descent or by conversion, is a test of ethnicity which contravenes the Race Relations Act."

The school's three-day appeal hearing at the Supreme Court was due to finish yesterday, after The TES went to press. A decision is not expected for a number of weeks.

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