Further details of the legal position on single-sex activities
S22 SDA (margin note)
It is unlawful for an educational establishment34 to discriminate against a woman (or man) in the terms upon which it offers admission as a pupil or student; by refusing or deliberately omitting to accept an application for her admission; or in the way it affords access to any benefits, facilities or services or omitting to afford access to them, or by excluding her from the establishment or subjecting her to any other detriment.
S23, S23A, S23BA and S23D SDA (margin note)
It is unlawful for local education authorities to discriminate on grounds of sex in carrying out any of their functions under the Education Acts35 which do not fall within section 22 above, such as in awarding discretionary educational grants. Similarly, it is unlawful for the Higher Education Funding Councils for England and Wales respectively to discriminate on grounds of sex in the carrying out of their functions under the Education Acts. The Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council may not discriminate in its functions and the Training and Development Agency for Schools may not discriminate in carrying out its functions under any enactment. The National Assembly for Wales may not discriminate in carrying out its functions under Part 2 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000. Finally, it is unlawful for the Learning and Skills Council for England to discriminate in the carrying out of its functions under the Learning and Skills Act 2000.
S25 and S25A SDA (margin note)
There is a duty on specified educational establishments36 and local education authorities (and education authorities in Scotland) to ensure that facilities for education and ancillary benefits or services are provided without discrimination. This section aims to ensure that in planning for education, pupils and applicants for admission have access to education provision irrespective of sex.
The Learning and Skills Council for England and the National Assembly for Wales have a duty to ensure that facilities for post-16 education, training and organised leisure-time occupation connected with such education or training and any ancillary benefits and services are provided without sex discrimination.
Exceptions to the prohibition of discrimination in education
S26, S27 and Schedule 2 SDA (margin note)
Single-sex establishments are exempt from the prohibition on discrimination in admissions. A single-sex establishment is one which admits pupils of one sex only, or whose admission of pupils of the opposite sex is ‘exceptional’, or whose numbers of pupils of the opposite sex are ‘comparatively small’ and whose admission is confined to particular courses or teaching classes.
34 See section 22 SDA for list of educational establishments covered by this provision.
35 Including the Education (Scotland) Act 1980
36 See s25(6) SDA for list of bodies affected.