Report: U.K. Jewish School Told to Cut Ethnic Admissions Criteria

London's JFS preference for students with at least one Jewish parent, grandparent ruled 'indirect' discrimination.

The Jewish Free School (JFS) in London has removed from its admissions criteria a clause favoring ethnically Jewish children after the school was accused of breaking state anti-discrimination laws, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, the top Jewish state school was accused of discrimination after it denied a place to a child who did not meet the definition of Jewish set by Britain's Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

Sacks, who is the school's religious authority, had stipulated that applicants must have an ethnically Jewish mother in order to be accepted into the school.

The mother of the child in question, who heads the school's English department, had converted to Judaism under supervision of Israel's chief rabbi.

Following the accusation, chief schools arbitrator Philip Hunter ruled that the JFS had not violated race relation laws as it was following religious, rather than racial, criteria.

Nevertheless, he ordered the school to remove from its admissions rules a sub-clause giving preference to children with at least one Jewish parent or grandparent, calling it "indirectly discriminating," The Guardian said.

"It is greatly reassuring that the determination of the criteria for admission of Jewish children to JFS has been confirmed as being a religious, not a racial matter, and the authority of the office of the chief rabbi to determine the Jewish status of our applicants has been confirmed," said a JFS spokesman following the ruling.