Birmingham Muslim girls’ school sues Ofsted

28th Feb 2020
Birmingham Muslim girls’ school sues Ofsted

(Credit: Google Street View Map)

Harun Nasrullah

A Birmingham-based Muslim girls’ school has launched legal action against the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) after it was failed by the watchdog over a 25-year-old leaflet.

Ofsted rated Birchfield Independent Girls’ school in Aston as ‘inadequate’ after inspectors found an ‘inflammatory’ leaflet about a 1994 Islamic conference in the library.

The school had been predicted to get a rating of “good” until the discovery during the second day of the inspection last November.

Inspectors said: “The leaflet states, ‘Today we find that the sons and daughters of Islam are under continuous attack by the forces of non-Islam.’”

It promoted the ‘Khaleefah’, which is defined as ‘the total ruler-ship of Muslims over the world.’

The watchdog found the school was providing a “good” education for pupils, but said safeguarding was ineffective owing to the contents of the leaflet. This resulted in Birchfield being given an “inadequate” rating.

The leaflet advertised a Muslim conference at Wembley stadium in 1994, and inspectors said it “could lead pupils to views promoting the proposed supremacy of Muslims in the world.”

Birchfield has launched a legal challenge, saying it has been a victim of Ofsted’s “draconian and inconsistent inspection practices” against faith-based independent schools.

The school issued a statement through its website, insisting the leaflet in question ‘has no place in our teachings, curriculum nor ethos.’
And that the school library and all newly added material are inspected to ‘ensure all materials are appropriate and in line with fundamental British values.’

‘Additionally, pupils’ access to the library is always supervised and the room is under lock and key when not used. The room was given to the inspectors as a base during the inspection period. Subsequently, we were unable to carry out our regular due diligence on the days of the inspection.’

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