UK Jewish school to appeal ruling

British High Court of Appeal deemed it had "discriminated unlawfully" in its admissions policy.

Jewish Free School 248.88 (photo credit: )
Jewish Free School 248.88
(photo credit: )
The House of Lords agreed on Monday to allow an appeal from a Jewish school deemed by the British High Court of Appeal to have "discriminated unlawfully" in its admissions policy. In June, the Court of Appeal ruled that it was illegal for the Jewish Free School (JFS) in Kenton, north London, to admit pupils on the basis of whether their mother was Jewish or not. The court said this contravened the UK's race relations act. "The school is pleased that the House of Lords has granted us leave to appeal the Court of Appeal's recent judgement and we will be making a written submission as soon as possible," said Russell Kett, chairman of governors of JFS. "We have requested that this case be heard as swiftly as possible and hope their Lordships will be able to accomplish both this and our objective to overturn the earlier judgement before the end of October." The decision by the Court of Appeal is likely to have a large impact on the admission criteria used by faith schools in the UK, unless it is overturned. The appeal will be heard by the new Supreme Court, which is replacing the Lords as the highest court in the land. The case was originally brought to court on behalf of a 12-year-old boy - known as "M" - who was refused admission to JFS in 2007 as his mother had converted to Judaism through the Progressive Judaism movement, which is not recognized by the school. The United Synagogue, led by the Office of the Chief Rabbi, is the religious authority of the school. "We are pleased with the House of Lords's decision to grant JFS leave to appeal and we will be seeking permission to intervene," said Dr. Simon Hochhauser, president of the United Synagogue. "The responsibility for educating our children is one of Judaism's most fundamental principles. We will support JFS's endeavors to overturn the Court of Appeal's judgment in order to secure the school's ethos, as well as to protect the many other schools that are affected detrimentally by the ruling."