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July 11, 2017

Daily Mail wins right to name school at the centre of legal battle with Ofsted over sex discrimination

By PA Media Lawyer

A ban on naming an Islamic faith school at the centre of a legal battle over alleged sex discrimination has been lifted by the Court of Appeal after a press challenge.

A High Court judge in London ruled in November last year that Ofsted inspectors were wrong to penalise Al-Hijrah school in Birmingham because of their “erroneous” view that segregation of boys and girls amounted to unlawful discrimination.

But Mr Justice Jay allowed Ofsted, the body that regulates schools in England, to publish the rest of its inspection report placing anonymised “School X” into special measures, after inspectors found books in the school library that gave tacit approval to domestic violence.

Issues raised by the case were scheduled to be analysed by the Court of Appeal today.

But yesterday, on the eve of the two-day hearing, Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mail, applied for an order giving the school anonymity to be lifted so it can be fully identified during the appeal.

Sir Terence Etherton, Master of the Rolls, sitting with Lady Justice Gloster and Lord Justice Beatson, said after hearing argument: “We have reached the clear decision on this application that we consider anonymity should be raised so that (the press and media) will be able to name the school.”

The judge said the court would give its full reasons later.

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In the first case of its kind, the schools watchdog Ofsted is appealing against the High Court’s decision that the policy at Al-Hijrah of separating the sexes from year five does not constitute discrimination on grounds of sex under the 2010 Equality Act.

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