Derby school rated inadequate but cleared of treating female students unequally

25th Oct 2013

By Elham Asaad Buaras


A Derby-based Muslim free school has been damned by Ofsted inspectors as “dysfunctional” and rated inadequate in every category.


The report, published on October 17, concludes that teachers at Al-Madinah school are inexperienced and have not been provided with proper training and that the school requires special measures.


The school, which said it accepted the report and would use it to move forward, has however been vindicated of practising equality between male and female students.


It was also claimed girls were made to sit at the back of the classroom and boys at the front.


Speaking anonymously a staff member told the media the school was “like being in Pakistan”.


She said: “Girls are treated very separately from boys, the girls sit at the back of the classroom. Boys go and eat first at lunchtime and then the girls are allowed to go. It is like being in any school in Pakistan. That is why it was founded, that is the idea.”


However, Ofsted said its inspectors “saw no evidence during the inspection of boys and girls being treated unequally.”


Inspectors also ruled that the girls were not made to sit in the back of the class: “In class, younger pupils work well together in mixed-gender groups much of the time. Older pupils are seated with boys on one side of the class and girls on the other. Due to limited canteen space, boys and girls have their lunches separately, taking it in turns to eat first.”


There have also been media reports that non-Muslim female teachers at the school were forced to cover their hair.


Addressing those allegations in a letter to parents, Interim Principal, Dr Stuart Wilson, wrote on September 24, “There has been a suggestion that female members of staff are unhappy to wear a headscarf. In all our adverts, and whenever we interview candidates, we draw their attention to our dress code, which we have based on our interpretation of modesty within our unique Free School environment. To date, the school has not received a single concern from colleagues about this issue.”


Although the inspection report does not address allegations that female teachers were obliged to cover the hair, the issue was brought up by Lord John Nash in a letter to the school.

Lord Nash, the Minister with responsibility for free schools and academies, ordered the school to put its house in order or face the withdrawal of its funding. In particular, he wanted assurances that it no longer adopted discriminatory practices towards its staff – of insisting all female staff wore headscarves regardless of their religion.


In a letter to the staff, Chair of Al-Madinah Education Trust, Shazia Parveen, apologised for the now defunct policy that required female staff to cover their hair.


Parveen said the policy, which was in place “in keeping with our ethos as a faith based school” was not intended to treat female staff “less favourably” than their male counterparts or “ impacting on the right to freedom of religious and cultural expression. The Trust and the Governing Body would like to make it clear that this was never the intention and would like to apologise for any situation where staff felt discriminated against on cultural, religious or gender grounds.”



One Response to “Derby school rated inadequate but cleared of treating female students unequally”

Iftikhar AhmadDecember 1, 2013

The school is in a mess because the Board of Governors have appointed a non-Muslim head teacher along with couple of non-Muslim female teachers.There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. They do not understand and respect the needs and demands of the Muslim children. Majority of children are from Pakistan, they need to learn and be well versed in Urdu to keep in touch with their cultural heritage and enjoy the beauty of Urdu literature and poetry. It is their social and emotional language. The school does not teach Urdu language. The school only teaches Arabic language which is a religious language. A Muslim must learn and be well versed in standard English, Arabic and Urdu and other community languages. A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. He/she does not want to become notoriously monolingual Brit.

There is no requirement for teaching staff to hold appropriate qualifications or have the necessary experience; there is no requirement to follow the national curriculum, which does work towards recognised qualifications. In my town the children attending the state schools have below average attainments at GCSE compared to the national average. The children are not achieving their full potential and are being let down by the qualified teachers at these schools. Although I’ve no doubt that there are many non-’qualified’ people who could teach as well as, or better than, many of those certificated to do so. A very real concern is that those who teach in state schools (often also including “assistants”) lack proficiency in the subjects they teach, even at the most basic levels. In those circumstances, what they are doing is not teaching, but inculcating wrong information or none at all. Curriculum seems to have been dumbed down to accommodate teachers who probably would never have passed the subject at O level in times gone by – let alone A level or a degree.

I heard 3 parents being interviewed on the radio a little while ago, and god help me they were actually quite happy with the school! It would seem that the spirit of the Crusades is alive and well. Al-Madinah is certainly not the only failing school in the country. However, seasoned Ofsted report readers will I hope agree that we have never read such a damning report. Words like “dysfunctional”, “woefully inadequate” and “chaotic” do not normally feature in Ofsted reports, even when they are slating a school. The evidence is surely the 173 Free Schools that have, minor teething troubles aside, opened perfectly successfully – many opened by teams that have never opened a schools before. That’s the reality. So a Muslim school (which it seems retains a great deal of parental backing) has come a cropper with serious questions to answer. It seems however, despite the odd teething troubles (buildings, Ofsted confusion over Montessori methods, etc.) here and there, that the other 173 Free Schools have opened successfully against a backdrop of ideological sniping from local authorities, the Labour Party and teaching Unions. So the Free School failure rate so far is 0.6%. Disarray for sure. State schools get appalling Ofsted reports as well. There will be good and bad state schools and good and bad free schools.

State schools get appalling Ofsted reports as well. There will be good and bad state schools and good and bad free schools. Muslim Girls school tops state school rankings in Blackburn. Yet, the only news we get is about a failing school in Derby. There are good Muslim schools and there are bad ones. However, let’s be blunt, negative stories about Muslims predominate. There is a reason for that. And no, it’s not because Muslims predominantly do negative things. While it’s great that a Muslim school toped some ranking that isn’t news – just like the many Christian and secular schools that top local rankings aren’t. There is a very obvious reason why there are more negative stories about Islam than positive ones.It is funny how negative Muslim stories are given front page and positive Muslim stories are packed away where you have to actively look for them. What about the Catholic church for example: White British men who abused boys and were just placed in different institutions when caught and protected by their superiors.Or is it because we are white that we don’t behave badly or are blameless for any bad behaviour?
Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental period. This is the only solution for them to keep away from the evils of western society. Let them teach what ever the native Brits would like to teach their children. It is a crime against humanity to keep sending Muslim children to state and church schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers. This is why the legal definition of genocide includes cultural killing, not only actually killing. British education is the home of institutional racism and British teachers are chicken racist.

What gives OFSTED the right, or indeed any Brit, to preach to minority groups about how they should live their lives. This is a cosmopolitan country, the Muslim community have the right to educate their children how they choose. Studying the Qur’an will certainly help towards these children becoming fully integrated citizens of the UK.

A quarter of a million extra school places will be needed in England by autumn 2014 to meet rising demand, the National Audit Office (NAO) is warning. The spending watchdog said one in five primary schools in England was full or near capacity and there were signs of “real strain” on places. The demand for places has been driven by the birth rate rising more quickly than at any time since the 1950s.

The solution of this problem is very simple. There are hundreds of state and church schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out as Muslim Academies.

It will satisfy the needs of those native parents who do not want to send their children to those schools where the number of Muslim children is on the increase.

Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental period. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

The Muslims don’t want to integrate or abide by western law. Just because they don´t want to wear nude clothes or at least cloth that can show how big her breast are… so these people failed to integrate. Just because they don’t like free sex, then these people failed again.. what a dirty Bush mind you have!

Speaking English does not promote integration into British, American and Australian societies, and broaden opportunities. English speaking Muslim youths are angry, frustrated and extremist, thanks to state schools with monolingual non-Muslim teachers and English language. English language is not only a lingua franca but also lingua frankensteinia. Human right are also covers linguistic right. Cultural and linguistic genocide are very common. British schooling is murdering community languages like Arabic, Urdu and others. English is today the world killer language. Linguistic genocide is a crime against humanity and British schooling is guilty of committing this crime. Language is not just a language. It defines one’s culture, identity and consciousness. It defines how we think, communicate and express ourselves. The fact is the most South Asian Muslims have come to know Islam by way of Urdu, the children’s alienation from the language that connects them the heritage of their parents and grand parents is disturbing. As a matter of fact, one has to get to know his mother tongue well if one is to master any other language.
Iftikhar Ahmad
London School of Islamics Trust


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