Breaking: Luton Islamic school referred to equality commission over sex segregation

Rabia Boys' School, Lincoln Road, Luton

Rabia Boys' School, Lincoln Road, Luton

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The government has referred an Islamic faith school to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, after it was found that male and female staff are being segregated from each other.

Ofsted inspectors said that the rules at Rabia Girls’ and Boys’ School in Luton are ‘undermining British values’.

Rabia Girls' School, Portland Road, Luton. PNL-140624-113646001

Rabia Girls' School, Portland Road, Luton. PNL-140624-113646001

A Department for Education spokesperson told the Luton News: “It is completely unacceptable for women to be treated less favourably than men, and the advice note we have received from Ofsted on Rabia Girls’ and Boys’ School is extremely concerning.

“We have referred this case to the EHRC so they can consider whether the school has breached the Equalities Act, and we will consider carefully the inspection report on the school to determine what action to take against any potential breaches in the independent school standards.”

The findings at Rabia Girls’ and Boys’ have prompted Ofsted chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, to write to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.

Sir Michael wrote: “HMI who inspected the Rabia Girls’ and Boys’ School in Luton expressed their concern when, at the initial meeting with inspectors, the school insisted on segregating men and women through the use of a dividing screen across the middle of the room.

“This meeting was not carried out in a religious setting but in a classroom.

“HMI also gathered evidence that male and female staff are segregated during whole school staff training sessions.

“Male staff sit in one room and the session is simultaneously broadcast to female staff in another part of the school.”

Sir Michael added: “This sort of behaviour manifested by the leaders of this school clearly does not conform to the spirit of the equalities legislation which underpins the spiritual, moral, social and cultural standard.”

Rabia Girls’ and Boys’ School has been contacted for comment.