OFSTED V AL-HIJRAH, THE CASE OF SEGREGATED SCHOOLS AND SEX DISCRIMINATION

Rajnaara Akhtar

Abstract


This case of HM Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills v The Interim Executive Board of Al-Hijrah School was the unfortunate outcome of an Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) inspection which resulted in a cataclysmic breakdown in trust between the government agency and the Birmingham city based Al-Hijrah school. Following an Ofsted inspection carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005, the subsequent Report stated that the full segregation of female and male pupils in a mixed-sex school amounted to sex discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. Al-Hijrah School applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the report prior to its official publication. The High Court Justice considered a range of evidences including facts related to Ofsted procedure, and ruled that the segregation did not amount to a breach of the 2010 Act, as when taken as a group, the treatment of the boys and the girls was the same and so there was an absence of “less favourable treatment”.

 


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