Radicalisation in Muslim Schools

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Six Muslim private schools at risk of extremist influence according to Ofsted



Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said the school’s, “physical and educational welfare is at serious risk”, after a number of emergency inspections. He argued that the schools, all from Tower Hamlets, London, focused too heavily on Islamic teachings.


Education Secretary Nicky Morgan warned the schools would be closed if changes were not made, she said, “We asked Ofsted to carry out these independent school inspections and the findings are very concerning. While there is no suggestion of a coordinated plot, it is clear that these schools are failing children and this is unacceptable.”


“All schools must prepare children for life in modern Britain.”


In one school the students did not know the difference between British law and Shariah law. Secondary boy’s school Mazahirul Uloom School in Tower Hamlets concentrated only on Islamic themes and has faced the most criticism.


Sir Michael wrote to Nicky Morgan saying, “I am extremely concerned about the large number of failings in each of the six independent schools inspected.


“I am not convinced that the leaders of these schools have sufficient capacity to bring about the necessary improvements to safeguarding, the curriculum and the quality of teaching and learning.


“I believe that, in all six schools, pupils’ physical and educational welfare is at serious risk.


“Given the evidence gathered from these inspections, particularly in relation to the narrowness of the curriculum, I am concerned that pupils in these schools may be vulnerable to extremist influences and radicalisation.”


The schools were said to not teach art, music or drama. They also were not taught about other religions and reportedly had very narrow views of women in society. Some students told inspectors, “Women stay at home and clean and look after the children. They cook and pray and wait for us to come back from school with homework.”


The report also stated that checks were not carried out on the suitability of external speakers and children were at safety risks as staff recruitment checks were not strict enough.


The report said, “The narrowness of the curriculum means that students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural education, in particular their understanding of the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance, is underdeveloped.”


Other problems outlined included no physical education classes, segregation of girls and boys and library books written only in Arabic.


The council said it had no influence over teaching and standards at independent faith schools and all it could do was offer safeguarding training and advice to schools.


“We have repeatedly offered this assistance to independent schools locally but we cannot compel them to accept this help.

“We can – and we do – intervene when individual safeguarding issues are raised.


“We robustly act to the limit of our powers. We are of course happy to discuss with Ofsted and the Department for Education what role we can play within existing legislation to improve the safeguarding practices at these schools.”


Independent schools, academies and free schools already have to follow the Independent School Standards (ISS), which outlines that schools encourage pupils to “respect” British values.

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