UK
14/10/2015 07:38 BST | Updated 14/10/2015 10:59 BST

Jewish Orthodox School Told To 'Stop Asking Parents About Their Sex Life During Admissions Process'

An Orthodox Jewish school has been told it must stop asking parents about their sex lives during its admissions process.

Hasmonean High School in Barnet, north-west London, asks on one form: “Does your family observe the laws of family purity?”

Schools adjudicator Phil Whiffing said such questions could be considered “embarrassing” and “intrusive” and added that answers would be impossible to check.

He was prompted to investigate the school after a complaint from a member of the public.

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Hasmonean High School in Barnet has been told it must stop asking parents about their sex lives; a group of Orthodox Jewish boys are pictured above dancing in the street in March this year

Orthodox Jewish women are required to abstain from sex during their period and for seven days after it ends, followed by a ritual bath.

Whiffing’s ruling states: “While the school and its religious authority may think that to be asked such a question would not embarrass an observant orthodox Jew, there remains the possibility that some parents applying for places at the school may find it embarrassing or intrusive."

It goes on to say: “While the Rabbi may be aware that a woman is using the mikvah [ritual bath] regularly I do not see how they can be certain that the more intimate requirements of the laws are being observed other than by trusting the word of the applicant."

Whiffing concluded "that it would not be possible to objectively assess whether or not a family observes the laws of family purity”.

in 2008 Hasmonean High School was told off by the watchdog for not making it clear in its prospectus that it offers places to pupils of other faiths.

Following a complaint from Barnet Council the adjudicator investigated and ruled that the school was flouting the government's statutory admissions code by not spelling out to parents that "other children" could attend if places were available, The Guardian reported.

The school, which teaches boys and girls separately, withdrew from local authority control in 2011.

Criteria used to allocate school places, according to nationwide rules governing admissions codes, must be objectively judged, the report added. Under that criteria the question asked by Hasmonean High School could not be defended.

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The report notes that the person who complained about the school was not a "member of the community the school aims to serve".

Earlier this year Theresa May vowed to help protect the Jewish community from hate crime.

Hasmonean High School must change its admissions policy to reflect the latest ruling by February 2016, the Evening Standard reported.

A spokesperson from Hasmonean High School said: “We are reviewing and updating our admissions policies to ensure that we abide by the current regulations governing admissions, that our school’s ethos is upheld and that we reflect the needs of the Orthodox Jewish Community.”