By Elham Asaad Buaras
A high achieving Blackburn Muslim school has denied it forces its pupils have to wear the headscarf (hijab) outside of school premises.
On September 29 the Sunday Times reported that cover-up was ordered at the 800-pupil Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School where students already have to dress in long purple tunics over black trousers to ensure flesh is not seen.
Under the rules, pupils must “wear the hijab outside the school and home, recite the Koran at a least once a week” and not have stationery which shows “unIslamic images” like pictures of pop stars.
Principal of Tauheedul, Mufti Hamid Patel, told The Muslim News: “This story is wrong. It is totally incorrect to say that pupils are “forced” to wear hijab outside of school. We are extremely sorry that despite repeated attempts by us to make sure the Sunday Times got their facts right, this newspaper chose to willfully misrepresent our school. We will carry on with the serious business of continuing to deliver the highest standards of education and developing our learners as outstanding citizens. Tauheedul is one of the highest achieving schools in the country.”
Former Government Advisor on the prevention of terrorism, Haris Rafiq, has warned against Tauheedul charitable trust which wants to open 12 Muslim free schools across the country.
“I think it threatens to create young British Muslims who are not able to integrate in the wider society, who are living in isolation and outside the wider community,” Rafiq told the Sunday Times.
Tauheedul case will ironically be bolstered by the Prime Minister’s support of the now defunct niqab ban by Birmingham College.
A spokesman for David Cameron defended the right of institutions to “set and enforce their own school uniform policies.”
And a spokesman for the Department of Education told The Muslim News they do not have statutory guidance “relating to best practice on developing school uniform policy. There is no legislation in place that deals specifically with school uniform or other aspects of appearance.”
The Tauheedul allegations came in the wake of the news that the school has come top of the class in a new league table of secondary schools.
The Taheedul Islam Girls High School scooped the accolade for its astonishing success in terms of academic results, quality of teaching, and the behaviour and prospects of its pupils.
The new league table ranks more than 3,000 state-funded schools based on more than 20 official government indicators.
The data has been compiled by Trinity Mirror’s data unit and backed by academics as giving a “comprehensive” view of the quality of schools.
97% of students achieved 5 or more GCSEs at grades A* to C with English and Math this year, while 85% achieved the English Baccalaureate.
Tauheedul is also the best school in the country for achievement by students with low prior achievement at primary school, according to the Department of Education.
Tauheedul is the best school in the country for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
In May 2012, 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.