Family & Education

School breached entry rules by asking parents to pay

Broughton Jewish Primary wanted undertaking from applicants to contribute towards religious studies


Broughton Jewish Cassel Fox Primary

A state-aided Jewish school in Salford has been found to be in breach of admission rules because it wanted prospective parents to commit to paying contributions towards Jewish studies.

Broughton Jewish Cassel Fox Primary had asked applicants to “undertake to pay the contributions” towards religious instruction at the school.

But the Office of the Schools Adjudicator, in a decision published last month, said the requirement failed to comply with the Schools Admissions Code, which applies to state-aided schools.

State schools are prohibited from charging fees, although they are allowed to ask for voluntary donations.

Broughton was also told that a request for parents to provide copies of ketubot was a “direct breach” of the code, which prohibits asking for marriage certificates.

The entry watchdog also told the school that it needed to have a recognised authority in order to lay down religious requirements for entry.

Faith schools are allowed to prioritise places on the basis of religious practice, as long as requirements for observance meet the code’s conditions of being clear, objective and fair.

The school is in the process of establishing the Office of the Chief Rabbi as its religious authority. According to the OSA, the members of its previous rabbinic authority are no longer alive.

In its decision, the OSA ruled: “Until such time as the school formally adopts a faith body which can act to provide it with faith-based admission arrangements, the school may not employ any in its admission arrangements.”

But the OSA rejected a complaint against the school that a reduction in its PAN — published admissions number — from 90 to 60 for reception was unfair.

In the past three years, the number of children at Broughton entering reception has ranged from 40 to 46.

The OSA said, “Whatever the reason for this, the figures do seem to support the school’s view that there is insufficient demand to support a PAN of 90.”

The complainant was also unhappy about the expected dress code for parents when they were on site, arguing that women were being held to a different standard than men.

But the OSA said, “Having different religious practice requirements for men and women does not constitute discrimination that is prohibited by the Equality Act, 2010”.

The school’s principal Rabbi Yehuda Broughton told the JC: “This engagement with the OSA provided a worthwhile opportunity to review some of our longstanding policies and procedures. We were pleased to note that the adjudicator found these to be aligned with the relevant equalities law and endorsed the process we deployed regarding a reduction in PAN number.

“The issue relating to our admissions policy is one which a number of Jewish schools are dealing with, and I’m pleased to confirm that our new policy has been amended and ratified to ensure compliance, whilst upholding the ethos of our school.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive