Schools: Discrimination

Department for Education written question – answered on 12th February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Watson of Invergowrie Lord Watson of Invergowrie Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many schools Ofsted has reported to them as operating a segregation policy; and what action has been taken as a result of any such reports.

Photo of Lord Watson of Invergowrie Lord Watson of Invergowrie Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many schools in England treat girls differently to boys in terms of (1) common room access, (2) playground activities, (3) eating arrangements, and (4) any other activities in the school but outside the classroom.

Photo of Lord Agnew of Oulton Lord Agnew of Oulton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

In June 2018 the department published the attached guidance ‘Gender separation in mixed schools’, to support schools in complying with the law on this matter. Such separation is permissible when in accordance with exemptions under the Equality Act 2010 – for instance those related to the correction of educational disadvantage or the needs of different sexes, provision for competitive sports, or is insignificant enough to be regarded as de minimis.

Ofsted began systematically reporting on pupil segregation matters from September 2018 and has drawn attention to this in several inspection reports published since that date. The exact number of schools reported by Ofsted could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The department is taking action in relation to each school where this has occurred, by seeking details of the school’s plans to eliminate segregation or making organisational changes to the school and setting out the approvals process which has to be followed. The department is also in touch with a number of schools thought to operate segregation for pupils to discuss their plans, and has liaised with representative bodies for the schools involved.

Information regarding how many schools in England treat girls differently to boys in terms of (1) common room access, (2) playground activities, (3) eating arrangements, and (4) any other activities in the school but outside the classroom, is not held centrally.

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