More on the JFS Case
The fantastic UK Supreme Court Blog has been following R(E) v JFS closely. I blogged about it here earlier in the week. The UKSC blog provides some of the case documents here and here and the Jewish Chronicle sketches the arguments made during the hearing. Pictured is the Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth, Sir Jonathan Sacks. Media coverage of the case outlines some of its key implications for British education policy as it relates to religious membership:
- The Guardian notes tensions between Jewish bodies which champion the idea of ‘open religious schools’ and those who wish to limit admission to JFS to children with a specific ethnically-grounded religious heritage. Sholto Byrnes has an interesting article on the ‘soft’ issues at stake in the New Statesman.
- The Times highlights the crux of the case for the purposes of the Race Relations Act; the ambivalent position of religious groups which ‘test’ religious identity on the basis of descent as well as practice. The BBC observes that, on this basis, the decision in JFS will have implications, not only for the country’s 33 Jewish schools, but for its 7 Sikh schools.
- The Guardian runs articles – 1 and 2 – which highlight the dilemmas which arise from state funding of religious schools. The main positions articulated are of two kinds: either, as the NSS argues, the state ceases to fund religious schools at all, or the state in furtherance of certain visions of equality, directly prohibits certain admissions criteria for state-funded religious schools. In the aftermath of the Court of Appeal decision in JFS, many Jewish schools adopted ‘points based criteria’ for admission, as reported in the Guardian.