Rabbi chal­lenges faith school en­try rules

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY SI­MON ROCKER

THE EN­TRY pol­icy of Jewish schools has been chal­lenged by a cam­paign which op­poses se­lect­ing chil­dren for state schools on the ba­sis of faith.

The Fair Ad­mis­sions Cam­paign has lodged com­plaints against 50 schools of dif­fer­ent faiths with the Of­fice of Schools Ad­ju­di­ca­tor, the body which reg­u­lates ad­mis­sions to state schools.

FAC was co-founded last year by the Ac­cord Coali­tion, an ed­u­ca­tional lobby group chaired by lead­ing Re­form rabbi, Dr Jonathan Ro­main.

A spokesman for the cam­paign said that it had cho­sen a cross-sec­tion of faith schools to see whether any of them were in breach of na­tional en­try reg­u­la­tions but it would not com­ment fur­ther un­til the OSA had reached a de­ci­sion.

But it is un­der­stood that three Jewish se­condary schools are among those who are the sub­ject of com­plaints, in­clud­ing the coun­try’s largest, JFS. It re­ceived an unan­nounced visit from Of­sted last month, which is highly un­usual for a school of­fi­cially rated out­stand­ing. It is not known if there is any link be­tween the in­spec­tion and the com­plaint made to the OSA. Of­sted would not give de­tails.

The OSA con­firmed that it had re­ceived a “sig­nif­i­cant” num­ber of ob­jec­tions from the FAC and it was in the process of sift­ing through them.

Rabbi Ro­main, who sees re­li­gious schools as so­cially di­vi­sive, said: “It is an in­ves­tiga­tive process, not tar­get­ing any one faith in par­tic­u­lar, but look­ing at faith schools through­out the UK of all re­li­gious types. It is cur­rently at a very early stage, with the idea be­ing to see if there is any dis­cernible pat­tern over re­li­gious ad­mis­sions.”

FAC be­lieves faith schools should be open to all and that chil­dren should not be se­lected ac­cord­ing to faith.

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