Over half of Muslim schools in England have surpassed the national average of students achieving 5 or more GCSE’s or equivalent A*-C grades including English and Math GCSEs.
Although the combined Muslim schools average for that indicator matches the national stat of 59% in 2013, 40 of the 74 Muslim schools featured in The Muslim News performance table managed to attain a higher pass rate. Tellingly the six Government funded Muslim high schools achieved a combined average of 76% 5 or more A*-C including English and Math – 17% higher than the national average.
Al Khair School in Croydon, Brondesbury College London and Islamia Girls High School both in Brent are among 95 schools (1.7% of all schools) where 100% of the students achieved 5 or more A*-C including English & Math.
Success was not exclusive to Muslim schools in the capital. Last year, 87% of the students in Preston Muslim Girls High School achieved 5 or more A*-C including English & Math a whopping 26 % higher than the Lancashire average and 28 % higher than the national average. The result places the school in the top 100 non-selective, state-funded schools in England. According to Department of Education 16 of the 30 girls who sat their GCSEs in Preston Muslim Girls High School last year speak English as a second language.
Deputy Head David Foster told The Muslim News many factors contributed to the school’s success. Among them is the weekly staff training programmes, target setting, very detailed half term report to parents which monitors progress as well as the “introduction of a mentoring programme, additional lessons, including one-to-one support.”
In a letter to the Headteacher from Minister of State for Schools, David Laws, MP, said, “Your school is clearly equipping its pupils for success in both further study and future employment.”
“The results are a shining testament to the hard work and success of your staff, governors and pupils. I would like to offer my thanks to you and all at your school for your pursuit of the highest standards of educational achievement,” it added.
This achievement is not the first for Muslim schools in UK. Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School was shortlisted for ‘Secondary School of the Year’ by the Times Educational Supplement annual awards. In May, the school was rated as “outstanding” following an Ofsted inspection, the first and only secondary school in the Borough to receive such an award.
In their report, inspectors praised “highly effective” teaching, a “culture of high expectations” and “exceptionally polite and considerate” students. Last year, an amazing 96 % of Taudeedul’s girls achieved 5 or more A*-C including English and Math 36% higher than Blackburn’s average; the result places the school on top of Blackburn. Remarkably 93 of the 95 who sat their GCSEs exams last year have English as an additional language.
An on-site sixth form opened last September and girls are currently applying for top universities including Oxford. It has 770 pupils with the capacity to grow to 800.
Islamiyah School also surpassed Blackburn average of 60% by 4% [64%] of the girls achieved 5 or more A*-C including English and Math. The result is more impressive given the fact that Islamiyah provides schooling for pupils coming from areas of high deprivation. In fact 66% of the pupils come from Blackburn’s highest areas of deprivation.
Deputy Head Saba Khan told The Muslim News the main reason for their results “is the extensive intervention which was planned well ahead of time considering the needs of each individual pupil.”
Only 46% of students at Madinatul Uloom Al Islamiya in Kidderminster managed to attain 5 or more A*-C including English & Math; the results falls short of its local authority’s (Worcestershire) average of 63%.
A spokesman for the school told The Muslim News late changes to the English curriculum played significant part in the boys’ under performance last year.
“The subject was changed from GCSE English Language to GCSE English. This meant reading two extra texts including Shakespeare. As the decision was made late, it affected proportionate time allocation for Speaking and Listening, and the final exam,” said English teacher Zahid Qayyum.
“In addition to this, the grade boundaries for Speaking and Listening were raised much higher than before. Because of this the low ability students suffered a lot and nine of C grade ability students ended up obtaining a D grade. We hope that we will have much better results this year as the current Year 11s are much more focused and we are well prepared,” he added.
Leyton, East London, based Lantern of Knowledge Boys’ Secondary School continues to thrive. 82% of their boys attained 5 or more A*-C including English and Math. The result is some way above Waltham Forest average of 57% and is the second highest result out of 26 high schools in the borough.
Head of Lantern of Knowledge Educational Institute, Irfan Sidyot, paid tribute to the staff, students, parents, management and governors “for their invaluable efforts in contributing towards nurturing well-educated youth.”
Six Muslims high schools are based in Bradford, second only to Birmingham in numbers, which has 10 Muslim high schools. However, unlike Birmingham local authority, Bradford has underperformed compared to the national average. Only 53% of students sitting their exams in Bradford attained 5 or more A*-C including English and Math 6% lower than the national average of 59%. Olive Secondary School and Feversham College both managed to buck the local poor trend.
60% of students at Feversham College managed to achieved 5 or more A*-C including English and Math, while 68% of the 57 students who sat their exam in Olive Secondary School attained the same criteria an outstanding 45% higher result from 2012. Head of Olive Secondary School, Amjad Mohammed, attributed the school’s success to the “strong leadership, high-level of accountability and taking swift and constructive action.”
Peterborough-based Iqra Academy was incorrectly dubbed the worst performing school in the city after the Department of Education did not check the results with the school and reported that 20 instead of 12 students sat the GCSE and Equivalent results. The correction means that 58% and not 25% of the students achieved 5 or more A*-C including English & Math and jumps the school from 20th place to 8th placed in Peterborough for that criteria.
Another high achieving Muslim girls high school is Ayesha Siddiqa Girls School in Southall where 71% of the students achieved 5 or more A*-C including English and Math, 4% higher than their results in 2012 and 11% higher than the Ealing average.
In a statement to The Muslim News Head Teacher, Fatima Liyawdeen, said the improvements in results “is due to the fact that we were able to get more resources, our staff was working hard with the students, and we have set up booster classes. The school send staff for training in curriculum, so that the teachers are aware and familiar with the curriculum. They actually asses the students, so that they know their current target grades and are working towards it to achieve them.”
*The Dept of Education has amended the 2013 results (first published in February) in March 6.