Birmingham & Black Country

Al-Hijrah School: Sex segregation 'not discrimination', parents say

Al-Al Hijrah school, Bordesley Green Image copyright Google
Image caption From Year Five boys and girls are completely separated for lessons, breaks, trips and clubs

Parents of pupils at an Islamic faith school where boys and girls have been segregated have said they support the policy.

Court of Appeal judges ruled the practice at the Al-Hirah school in Birmingham is unlawful sex discrimination.

Ofsted had challenged a High Court ruling which had cleared the school of discriminating against its pupils.

However, parents told BBC Asian Network they did not agree with the ruling.

Birmingham Islamic faith school guilty of sex discrimination

One mother of a Year 11 girl at the Bordesley Green school, said: "If it's [an] Islamic school, obviously it's best if they separate the boys and the girls so that they don't mix with each other."

She added the separation was better for concentration.

Image copyright Southall Black Sisters
Image caption Anti-segregation protesters gathered outside the court at an earlier hearing

A man named Adam, who was collecting nephews and nieces in Year Five and above, said: "I totally disagree.

"That was whole point, that's why we sent my nephews and nieces to this school, to keep that separation between the boys and the girls."

And a father of a Year Seven girl said: "I don't think it's discrimination."

He added: "If they can feel comfort to get education separately then why not?"

Ofsted's lawyers had argued the segregation left girls "unprepared for life in modern Britain".

Appeal judges ruled the school was discriminating against its pupils, contrary to the Equality Act.

However, the court did not accept the argument the school's policy had disadvantaged girls more than boys.

Judges had heard boys and girls, aged four to 16, attend the Birmingham City Council-maintained school.

But from Year Five, boys and girls are completely separated for lessons, breaks, school trips and school clubs.

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