Women-only adverts are illegal, Muslim schools told, but head suggests woman-only teaching is lawful

The Times is reporting that three Muslim state schools have been ordered not to discriminate against potential staff on the basis of gender, but one of the schools is claiming a female-only teaching environment is not unlawful…

The intervention by the Department for Education came after it was disclosed that Madani Girls’ School in Leicester and Feversham College in Bradford had been running advertisements specifying women teaching staff. Madani Boys’ School in Leicester had similarly requested male staff…

Clare Skelding, the head teacher of Feversham College, said: “Feversham College was established in 1984 for 11 to 18-year-old Muslim girls, in response to parental demand for single-sex education based on religious beliefs.

When applying for voluntary-aided status in 2001, it was made very clear to the DfE (DfEE as was) and the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (LEA) that the school’s intention was to continue to operate with female-only staff, based upon two legal opinions obtained at the time by the school.

“This position was accepted by the DfEE and LEA at the time. The school has recently taken further legal advice from a leading QC, who has confirmed that the school’s policy of a female-only teaching environment is not unlawful and complies with the terms of the Equality Act 2010.”

Pavan Dhaliwal, of the British Humanist Association, called the schools’ behaviour “plainly unlawful”…

More at: Women-only adverts are illegal, Muslim schools told (subscription required)

So what do you think? Is a policy of a female-only (or male-only) teaching environment unlawful? And if not, on what grounds would that be? Is the suggestion that it is (just) the advertising that is unlawful? Please let us know your interpretation in the comments or via Twitter…

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Comments

  1. Janet2

    It’ discrimination whether against women (in boys’ schools) or men (in girls’ schools).  The only time it’s lawful (I think) is when there’s boarding involved.

  2. steregot

    It’s like turning round any saying ‘online white/black/christian/muslim/straight/gay etc people may apply’. It’s plain discrimination which has been ruled out in the country. It’s sad, because you can guarantee they will be ruled it if a male does try to apply even if advertised to anybody and there is little they can do to prove it was because of that.

  3. steregot

    It’s like turning round any saying ‘only white/black/christian/muslim/straight/gay etc people may apply’. It’s plain discrimination which has been lawfully ruled out in this country. It’s sad, because you can guarantee applicants will be turned away it if they were male, even if advertised to anybody, and there is little they can do to prove it was because of that.

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