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NEW JUDICIAL REVIEW SOUGHT AGAINST BRADFORD CITY'S SCHOOLS POLICY

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Despite last month's High Court ruling that Bradford City Council's school catchment area policy is not racist, ano...
Despite last month's High Court ruling that Bradford City Council's school catchment area policy is not racist, another dissatisfied parent won the right to mount a new challenge today. Mr Justice Laws took the 'unusual' step of opening the way for parent, Mohammed Kholil, to seek a fresh Judicial Review of the Council's policy.

Mr Kholil's claims are almost identical to those put forward by Mr Sikander Ali whose case was dismissed by Mr Justice Jowitt on September 10. But Mr Justice Laws said: 'It was Sikander Ali's decision to appeal against that ruling but, for reasons that do not matter here, he did not in fact proceed to the Court of Appeal so the judge's (Mr Justice Jowitt's) ruling remains the operative text on this subject.

'Mr Kholil, the parent of an affected child, desires to do what Mr Ali intended and have the previous judge's ruling reviewed. 'This clearly affects many children and their parents and it is equally clear that the arguments raised are matters of substance, even if the judge dismissed them.

'Counsel for Bradford Metropolitan Council says I should not allow a Judicial Review because relief would be detrimental to good administration. It goes to school arrangements for the year which has already started. 'It is quite impossible to change the admission arrangements for the present term and as it happens, Mr Kholil's son has already started attending another school.

'There is evidence that the local authority in any event intends to review its policy'. But Mr Justice Laws granted Mr Kholil, of (39) Hanover Square, Manningham, leave to seek Judicial Review of the Council's policy. Because of the 'urgency' of the matter, he said the case should come on for a full hearing as soon as possible.

Mr Kholil, as Mr Ali did before him, claims the Council's catchment area policy effectively excludes children from the predominantly Asian Manningham area from all of the city's most sought-after schools. He claims the policy is in breach of the Education Act 1980 which enshrines parents' right to chose the schools where their children are educated.

Mr Kholil's fresh bid to have the policy quashed will be eagerly watched by over 30 other sets of parents in the Bradford postal districts of BD1, BD7 and BD8. His son Syedur, 12, is now attending Bell Vue Boys' Upper School which is not one of the three schools for which Mr Kholil had expressed a preference. Mr Kholil's three choices were for Nab Wood Grammar School, Beckfoot Grammar School and Rhodesway Upper School, all of which are over-subscribed and have catchment areas.

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