Incomplete segregation by sex is un-British

There has been a slow-burning scandal around a government-funded Islamic school that seems to be too much Islamic and too little school. The report by the schools inspectorate Ofsted that has just made its way into the press sounds pretty disastrous, if not exactly Lord of the Flies: Inexperienced teachers, overcrowded facilities, low educational attainment. But what I found fascinating was what was considered scandalous, and triggered the inspection:

An Ofsted inspection had been due to take place by the end of the year, but was brought forward by two months after allegations that women teachers were obliged to wear headscarves and that pupils were segregated.


the Ofsted report says that boys and girls eat lunch in separate sittings, although it puts this down to the small size of the canteen. Older boys and girls are seated on either side of classrooms although younger children sit together.

It sounds like segregating boys and girls is a terrible thing, perhaps barely justified at lunchtime if there is not enough space in the canteen.

Unless they are segregated into completely separate school. Most independent schools, and hundreds of state schools, are single-sex.

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