An Orthodox Jewish school has been told it must stop asking parents about their sex lives in its admission process.
Rabbis at Hasmonean High School currently ask parents if they “observe the laws of family purity” before they approve whether their children attend the institution.
The question has been slammed as unfairly invasive, unreasonable, and irrelevant by people wanting to enrol their children in the faith school.
A member of the local Jewish community told the Fair Admissions Campaign: “As a prospective parent applying to the school, I was shocked to see that they thought it either appropriate or relevant to ask about adherence to these rules.
“Not simply due to their extremely intimate nature, but also because they don’t affect anyone apart from husband and wife.”
The government regulator, the Office of the Schools Adjudicator, ordered the school on Wednesday last week to stop asking the probing question by February 2016.
Boys and girls are taught on separate campuses at the pious school where orthodox Jewish kids are taught from the ages of 11-18.
Hasmonean High School had argued in the report: “This test of religious practice is an established and appropriate test of religious observance which would be entirely clear to an observant Jew and is in no way embarrassing or intrusive.”
The adjudicator said that rabbis could not be reasonably expected to confirm parents sex lives, or whether a family was observing Jewish dietary laws regarding kosher food.
The school, in Barnet, north west London, is referring to archaic laws in the Hebrew Bible that state women must abstain from sex for a week after their period.
Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, Rabbi of Maidenhead Synagogue and chair of the Accord Coalition, said the case was “astonishing” and that it reflected wider problems in the admission process of other faith schools.
He said: “The particular case is astonishing because it is asking very intrusive personal questions that have nothing to do with the child and his right for an education at a state-funded school. But it is not an isolated incident because it reflects similar questions that are asked in schools of other faiths demanding information about parents that’s irrelevant about schools’ admissions procedures.
“The focus seems to have shifted away from children’s education to religious policing of the parents.”
Hasmonean High School confirmed they would be changing their admission procedure.
A spokesperson 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.”