Top Jewish School Breached Race Relations Law When It Refused Boy

Article excerpt

Byline: Tim Ross Education Correspondent

A TOP Jewish school broke the Race Relations Act by refusing admission to a boy because his mother was not officially recognised as a Jew, the Court of Appeal ruled today.

Three judges held that the entry criteria at JFS, formerly the Jews' Free School, in Brent racially discriminated against the boy, referred to as M.

The boy's father is Jewish by birth, but his mother is Jewish by conversion conducted at a Progressive rather than an Orthodox synagogue and therefore not recognised by the Office of the Chief Rabbi. It is a basic principle that a child is not recognised by the OCR and other bodies as Jewish unless his or her mother is Jewish.

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.

But Lords Justices Sedley and Rimer and Lady Justice Smith said that "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". …