Ex-archbishop of Canterbury: Let UK faith schools set own rules

Ex-archbishop of Canterb

Lord Carey 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Lord Carey 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey is backing calls for a change in the law to enable faith schools in the UK to determine their own admissions policies. The call follows last week's Supreme Court ruling that deemed that the admissions policy of a London Jewish school was discriminatory on the grounds of race. Speaking to the Jewish News weekly, Lord Carey said he stood with the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which is considering a proposal to call for a change to the law. "I agree with the Board of Deputies on this matter," he stated. "The Jews make an enormous contribution to British society. Sadly this decision discriminates against a fine Jewish school that has a fine record of tolerance. There surely is a compelling argument for changing the law." Last week, Jews' Free School, in Kenton, north London, lost its appeal in the Supreme Court when the justices found that the school's admission criteria, which is based on the faith of the mother, as set out by Jewish law, was discriminatory. In June, the Court of Appeal issued a ruling against the school, saying that it was illegal for it to admit pupils on the basis of whether their mother was Jewish or not and that this contravened race relations legislation. The Supreme Court dismissed Jews' Free School's appeal and upheld the Court of Appeal's decision by a majority of five to four. The ruling has wider implications as the decision means that faith schools cannot have an admissions policy based on religious law. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the UK. Thus if the school wishes to take the case further, it must turn to the European Court of Human Rights. The Board of Deputies is considering proposing an amendment to the Equality Bill and is in discussions with the Community Consultative Committee.