King David School near Manchester

(JTA) — 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 pupils “on the grounds of faith and belief and sex.”

The school of 800 pupils 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 four separate streams. Three are co-educational. One, Yavneh, is separated by gender. Enrollment in the Yavneh Girls and Yavneh Boys programs is voluntary.

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 voluntary aided school, which receives funds from the state and also has a religious foundation or trust that contributes to building costs and has a substantial influence in the running of the school.

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