Segregating boys and girls in a mixed-sex Muslim state school amounts to “a kind of apartheid”, the Court of Appeal heard on Tuesday.
In the first case of its kind, Ofsted is challenging a High Court ruling clearing Al-Hijrah school in Birmingham of unlawful sex discrimination.
The school is resisting the appeal and has sought to block Ofsted’s report.
But lawyers for the watchdog say segregation leaves girls “unprepared for life in modern Britain”.
In a report last summer, Ofsted ruled that the mixed-sex school was inadequate, saying that its policy of separating the sexes from the age of 10 was discrimination under the 2010 Equality Act.
Ofsted fights Muslim school’s segregation of boys and girls
Segregating girls and boys at the same school on religious grounds creates an “apartheid” and harms girls’ chances in life, a court was told.
Ofsted made the claim during a Court of Appeal case involving a Muslim school that segregates boys and girls in class from the age of nine.
The inspectorate placed the Al-Hijrah School in Birmingham into special measures after a two-day visit last June because it said dividing the girls and boys was sex discrimination.