Accord responds to JFS judgement

July 1, 2009

A judgement by the Court of Appeal last week found that the admissions criteria of a Jewish state school, the JFS, were in breach of the Race Relations Act. The admissions procedures of the school prioritised those with a Jewish mother over those who practised Judaism but were not Jewish by descent. Under Jewish law it is possible to be Jewish either by conversion or descent, but although M’s mother had converted to Judaism before he was born, her conversion was conducted by a Progressive synagogue and so its validity was not recognised by the Orthodox authorities.

The case could have far reaching implications for the admissions arrangements for other Jewish faith schools and it the school is seeking leave to appeal the decision to the Lords.

In response to the verdict, Accord Chair Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain said:

“Anything that prevents discrimination and encourages faith schools to widen the range of pupils they admit is good news. Unfortunately, this verdict leaves untouched the ability of faith schools of all denominations to discriminate in their admissions on religious grounds, even though they are state funded. It is fundamentally important for the future health of society that schools are inclusive places that welcome children whatever their beliefs or background”

Alex Kennedy is the Coalition Coordinator
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