Guardian | Wednesday 16 December 2009 | 11.27 GMT
One of Britain’s most successful faith schools lost its appeal today to overturn a ruling that it had racially discriminated against a 12-year-old boy. In a landmark legal decision, judges at the Supreme Court found the Jewish Free School, a comprehensive in north-west London, had broken the law by refusing to admit the boy, known as M. It had denied the boy, who is a practising Jew, a place because it has twice as many applicants as it can take and prioritises children whose mothers are recognised as Jewish by the chief rabbi. M’s mother converted from Catholicism to Judaism under a non-Orthodox authority, which means she is not recognised as Jewish by the chief rabbi. The chief rabbi only recognises children as Jewish if he recognises their mothers as Jewish.
M’s father took the school to court claiming racial discrimination. In June, the court of appeal ruled in his favour. It said the school’s policy amounted to racial discrimination because it prioritised applications from children with Jewish mothers. But the school appealed and took the case to the Supreme Court. Critics say today’s ruling has meant secular jurists are deciding who is Jewish and who is not. The ruling will Continue reading