Top U.K. Jewish High School Labeled 'Inadequate' Over Gender Segregated Classes

The Manchester high school had been rated as one of the country's best-performing high schools, but now faces being shut down due to 'unlawful segregation'

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FILE Photo: King David High School in Manchester, U.K.
FILE Photo: King David High School in Manchester, U.K.Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Joshgoldman
Cnaan Liphshiz

The British government declared a top-performing Jewish school to be “inadequate” because it teaches girls and boys separately.

King David High School in the Manchester area was downgraded this year by Ofsted, the British government’s regulatory authority for education, the Manchester Evening News reported last week.

It had been rated by Ofsted  as “outstanding” in keeping with its being one of the top-rated and best-performing high schools in the country but was found to be practicing “unlawful segregation” of students “on the grounds of faith and belief and sex.”

>> Read more: Dress codes and separate entrances: Gender segregation in Israeli universities expands beyond the classroom ■ From Tel Aviv to El Al, Israel is backsliding on gender segregation | Analysis

The school of 800 students may be shut down if it continues to be found inadequate in subsequent inspections.

In a letter sent to parents, the school’s governors said its lawyers dispute the findings and believe Ofsted “is wrong on the law.” A legal challenge to the inspection results could now follow, the Evening News reported.

The school has two separate streams, Yavneh Girls and Yavneh Boys, which offer Modern Orthodox Jewish education at secondary school level.

Many Orthodox schools insist on total gender separation in education.

Ofsted said in its report: “This is unlawful segregation on the grounds of faith and belief, and sex. Pupils affected by this segregation suffer detriment.”

King David High School is a public school. Belgium, too, has Orthodox public schools. Gender segregation and the refusal of some teachers to teach sex education lessons and evolution have led to repeated conflict with authorities there.

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