DfE does not know how many schools illegally segregate pupils

The Department for Education does not know how many schools are illegally segregating pupils by gender, almost 18 months after a key Court of Appeal ruling, Tes can reveal.

One headteachers’ leader said the DfE should “absolutely” know how many schools were affected by the judgement, and what was being done to bring them in line with the law.

The issue stems from a Court of Appeal ruling in October 2017, which said that Al-Hijrah School, a state-funded, mixed-sex Islamic school in Birmingham, was acting unlawfully by separating boys and girls.

Now, almost a year and a half later, the DfE has said it does not know how many schools are illegally segregating their pupils.

The admission came in response to a Tes freedom of information request, which asked how many schools were affected by the Al-Hijrah ruling.

The request also asked how many of these schools were still acting illegally, and whether there were any plans for them to end unlawful segregation. 

The DfE rejected the request, saying: “It may be helpful to explain that the department does not hold a central record or list of schools that have been affected by the Court of Appeal ruling.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, told Tes that gender segregation was an issue that leaders are concerned about.

Some schools are taking action to address the issue, with Yesoiday Hatorah School, an 881-pupil primary academy in Prestwich, Manchester, planning to set up a multi-academy trust so that it can split itself into two single-sex schools.

Read more DfE does not know how many schools illegally segregate pupils

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