Al-Burhan receives a glowing report

24th Dec 2014

Al-Burhan Grammar receives a glowing Ofsted report
Al-Burhan girls as “work-ethic mature”, say Ofsted inspectors

Elham Asaad Buaras

A Birmingham Muslim secondary school has been judged ‘outstanding’ in its latest OFSTED inspection last month. Al-Burhan Grammar School in Tyseley was told their girls’ “perseverance, resilience and attitude to learning are exemplary.”

The report, which was published on November 26, also praised Headteacher Dr Mohammad Nasrullah and the staff for their commitment “to students achieving their very best academically and flourishing in their personal development.”

The report noted that, “the school has grown rapidly in recent years owing to its popularity with parents. Many students travel from other areas of the West Midlands to attend the school.”

Inspectors were also delighted with. “the proportion of students gaining five or more passes at GCSE grades A* to C, including English and Maths, in 2014 was very high when compared to the national figure. This has been the case for a number of years.”

“Teachers have high expectations of students’ achievement and typically expect students to make at least one GCSE grade progress across each school year, which is well above the average rate of progress seen nationally,” said the inspector.

OFSTED also praised Al-Burhan for meeting the needs of its pupils (all of whom speak English as a second language) and challenging the gifted ones.

Lead inspector, Jacqueline Wordsworth, wrote, “Students who have special educational needs receive highly effective support enabling them to make outstanding progress and achieve well. All students have equal access to the curriculum.”

The report said the school, which has 105 “self-disciplined” and “work ethic mature” girls on its roll, has through its citizenship programme successfully instilled, “the values underlying modern British society. Students are taught what it means to be law abiding and have a sound knowledge of the role of public institutions, such as the work of Parliament and the judiciary.”

In a statement to The Muslim News, Dr Nasrullah congratulated the staff for their hard work. He also thanked: “all the parents and pupils for their continued support to the school.”

OFSTED said Al-Burhan is on track to sustain its success next year.


One Response to “Al-Burhan receives a glowing report”

Iftikhar AhmadJanuary 6, 2015

Ofsted is very far from perfect, but if anything it is probably far too lenient on pulling the plug on schools. Its true raison d’etre is to provide just a few sacrificial goats so that the government can con the public into believing that they actually care about state education. A very big problem in most schools is the amount of disruption in classes, that seriously dilutes the amount of teaching and learning in lessons.

The other problem is the appalling quality of far too many teachers. As a qualified, experienced teacher myself, who is now a private tutor of maths chemistry and physics, I never cease to be horrified by the incompetence of so many who teach these subjects. But this is hardly surprising when schools main recruitment criteria are cheap, young teachers who are highly manageable. It doesn’t matter how well you know your subject, or how much students want to be taught by you, if you are older, more expensive and not prepared to brown-nose management then schools don’t want to know.

Don’t believe the rubbish about outstanding schools. I could tell you tales about the so-called outstanding schools where I live that would truly shock you. It’s far, far, worse than Ofsted says it is! Disruption in schools is yet another symptom of a distressed society. Schools are set up to fail. It’s risible that the neoliberals in all the main parties think that rebranding schools will magically make them safe and successful. If parents knew how psychologically toxic most schools are, they hopefully would insist on urgent change. You judge a society by how it treats its young, old, sick and most vulnerable. Wilshaw, Gove, Blunkett et al, have implemented a most cruel educational revolution.

Obviously Wilshaw is an infallible genius…… bearing that in mind his terms…as primaries are now uniformly marvellous..presumably at one time they weren’t..this cohort has moved to the secondary phase…where deficits aren’t being overcome. Wow! Or… it could be the latest in a bucket of slime that is oozed out by OFSTED at too regular intervals proclaiming their wondrous talents…

Wilshaw’s is obviously nuts. A narcissistic attention seeker. When this truly cruel and inept Govt is put out of its misery in May, to be replaced by a slightly less cruel and inept one (Labour), Wilshaw should be relieved of his duties very quickly. If Hunt starts talking targets and what an important job Ofsted is doing to raise the standard in schools, we know the nightmare is set to continue. Ofsted have no credibility oftentimes when we learn of some disaster in school or social services and they come in with a damming report we find that the institution has been recently inspected and no serious issues found even excellent or outstanding grades given. It was very interesting to hear BBC Today Programme presenter Hyacinth Bucket (ex Blanchelande College Independent School Guernsey) giving a very ‘Leftist’ bias to the interpretation of Ofsted’s annual report.
Wilshaw on Radio 4’s Today programme, insisted that Ofsted’s judgements are consistent, despite his acknowledging that Ofsted is constantly changing. He also said that the structure of the school doesn’t matter – all types of schools are being rated ‘inadequate’ – yet when then asked whether being an academy makes any difference, he lamely avoided the trap by claiming that autonomy is a good thing. Perfect evidence that neither he nor Ofsted (nor any inspection system of this type) should continue without substantial review: the current consultation on change will not be sufficient to yield improvements. Didn’t he also say he was all in favour of autonomy provided it was rigorously monitored? Also, whilst rubbishing education in the ’60s.70s,80s (“don’t forget how bad things were before Ofsted came along”) he forgot to note that he himself was educated during that time period. Thus by Ofsted’s own skewed logic Wilshaw himself would thus be labelled inadequate (an accurate judgement for once, ironically!)

I think Mr Wilshaw deserves some credit in trying to take education out of the political arena. ‘Wilshaw will call on critics to move on from the “sterile” debate about school structure, which he describes as “yesterday’s argument”.’ is in effect a significant attack on the last two governments who have wasted huge amounts of money and caused massive disruption with their obsession with school structure and their determination to claim credit for improvement. It has, and always has been, about good governance, good leadership and good teaching and in that respect it is yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s argument. It is also about levelling the playing field so that schools serving culturally and socially disadvantaged areas get some of the same resources Mr Wilshaw’s last school in London did.

OFSTED are no help to schools, they are purely a hindrance in their present form. They come in, scare the living daylights out of teachers and management with a poor rating looming if things aren’t spot on in terms of paperwork and lesson structure, then move on leaving behind a load of bureaucratic nonsense for management to implement which in turn leaves teachers with lots of hoops to jump through and unnecessary extra work to do on top of all they are already doing. I have known for OFSTED inspectors to make criticisms that contradict themselves between one lesson observation to another. In one case an inspector made a criticism that something had been missed out from a lesson, when the teacher had actually done it and the inspector simply wasn’t paying enough attention.

Teachers are being made to waste their time for these stupid visits, when actually in many subjects they have actual progress they need to make instead of delivering a lesson in a particular way which ticks off the OFSTED inspector’s boxes. Coursework subjects, for example, do not benefit from an all-singing, all-dancing fully OFSTED-compliant lesson plan. Sometimes the kids just need to get on with the work they’ve already started in order to finish it before a moderation deadline. I also don’t think I’ve met one teacher who says they actually feel they made good progress with students during one of these can go for a pee if you want and have an actual lunch break.observations. They only talk about how relieved they are that it’s over and that their feedback was ok.
It’s a two-edged sword. OFSTED has operated to execute the government’s wishes, but increasingly Wilshaw has increased Ofsted’s independence, and had become a thorn in Gove’s side – two big egos at war. Scrutiny of the academies is long overdue – some operate on teaching assistants and cover staff while increasing the Head’s salary – some are on £200K+ and the rest. It’s big business now for some chains. They also practise hiring young teachers, working and promoting them till they burn out, often after three or four years – that’s why so many leave, often for the calmer shores of industry where you can go for a pee if you want and have an actual lunch break. often for the calmer shores of industry where you can go for a pee if you want and have an actual lunch break.

As improvement in secondary schools falters, critics will point out that just over half (56%) of secondary’s are academies, compared with 13% of primary schools, which according to the report are continuing to improve. But in a speech in central London to launch the report, Wilshaw will call on critics to move on from the “sterile” debate about school structure, which he describes as “yesterday’s argument”.

It’s not a “but” – it’s a logical progression. The type of school has no bearing on whether it is a good school or not so the mass academization needs to stop right now. Labour used academies to drive up standards in failing schools. Gove used this as a way of getting rid of local authorities in the school system and leave them confused as to their role. We now have a situation where schools are failing as stand-alone academies but with their oversight by the DfE or one of Gove’s appointed commissioners which can’t be the right approach. What an utter mess Gove has left. Actually more evidence of government failure. I suspect the schools in need of improvement are in the ‘failing’ parts of our country. Failing areas = failing schools… unless there’s a good mix of aspirational migrants!

I wonder if the Department of Education spokesperson who said ‘“We now have more than one million more children now being taught in good or outstanding schools since 2010. This has been accomplished by acting swiftly on underperformance, encouraging high-quality schools to open and unleashing a wave of teaching talent across the country through our excellent teaching schools.’ He was the same one who used to give the tirade on ‘broken schools’ when they first came into office and championed the changes to school structure that Mr Wilshaw now indicates was irrelevant?

Ofsted has been getting away with its reign of terror for years now and it’s about time it was challenged. Teaching has become a profession which has lost some of its appeal because it is clearly now in the hands of government ministers who push their own pet theories regardless of the advice they receive and Ofsted who invented their own questionable model of education years ago and have pressed it on the educational structure of the country ever since, tweaking and changing its parameters as it sees fit. The ascendancy of “data” in schools has become a tyranny to the extent that – and I heard this from the horse’s mouth – head teachers are now becoming unwilling to take on NQTs because of “the possible effect of having an inexperienced teacher on the school’s measurable performance”. In other words the profession is becoming so cowed by Ofsted’s prioritising of results as predicted by tests (often conducted years before) that the new energies and the innovations so richly injected by NQTs are being turned away at the door. If ever there was an image of self-starvation that is it in education. The watchdog needs a watchdog! How mad is that? So after all the years it has been in place, what has Ofsted actually achieved? Wilshaw moves the inspection goal posts to mark more schools as unsatisfactory or failing as it supports the political agenda to privatise state schools as we all know private is best-financial corruption and malpractice, extreme faith schools,closed admissions policies etc, etc. After telling teachers that stress is a good thing Wilshaw then bemoans the lack of good teachers as he sees it. Possibly he has finally woken up to the lack of experienced teachers who have left education because of Ofsted. Ofsted add nothing to the quality of our schools. We need an inspectorate who can actually provide advice to schools and not just a tick box judgement often from inspectors who have no clue how to run a class themselves.


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