Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Muslim Private Schools Targeted by Ofsted Inspectors - Lord Ahmed

Muslim Private Schools targeted
by Ofsted Inspectors, says Lord Ahmed
Dr. Mozammel Haque

Six Muslim schools in London’s Tower Hamlets region have recently been accused of exposing their pupils to ‘serious risk of extremist influences and radicalisation’, Sir Michael Milshaw says.

Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham wrote in his article, “Six Muslim schools in London’s Tower Hamlets region have recently been accused of exposing their pupils to ‘serious risk of ‘extremist influences and radicalisation’, Sir. Michael Wilshaw says.”

Lord Ahmed also mentioned about the future of these schools. These primary and secondary schools will be closed very soon. Lord Ahmed said, “The head of Ofsted and Chief Inspector of Schools claims these independent institutions focus far too heavily on Islamic teaching, ignoring the core modules of the National Curriculum and under preparing their students for a life in modern Britain. Although many staff within these schools called Ofsted’s accusations ‘unprofessional’, the Education Secretary has threatened that unless they alter their academic focus, these primary and secondary schools – many of whom have since lost their ‘outstanding’ academic status previously awarded by Ofsted –will be closed.”

Tracing the background of the fate of independent Muslim institutions, Lord Ahmed went back to the Birmingham schools ‘Trojan Horse’ incident in the first quarter of this year. Lord Ahmed mentioned, “This investigation into independent Muslim institutions comes in the wake of the Birmingham schools ‘Trojan Horse’ incident of earlier this year, where five Muslim schools were accused of encouraging a ‘hard-line Islamist takeover’ and subjected to unannounced inspection by Ofsted.”

“In a similar case, Wilshaw claims that the schools in Tower Hamlets focus solely on Islamist teachings, ignoring subjects such as art, music and drama and as such, exposing their vulnerable pupils to ‘extremist influences and radicalization”, said Lord Ahmed.

According to Lord Ahmed, to suggest that Muslim institutions specializing in Islamic teachings are radical and extremist is sweeping misjudgment. Lord Ahmed said, “This is simply not the case, however, and to suggest that Muslim institutions specializing in Islamic teachings are radical and extremist is moreover, a sweeping misjudgment; one that is unfortunately no doubt shaped by the influx of information concerning certain terrorist organizations ISIS and Boko Haram within our media.”

Referring about the performances and achievements of the Muslim institutions, Lord Ahmed mentioned, “In many instances Muslim schools have raised the standard for pupils within the community, creating a safe and approachable environment for families who care not only about their children’s education, but their religious beliefs and continuation of cultural practices and morals.”

“Since 2004 the national average of Muslims achieving a GCSE A*- C grade has increased drastically with the development of these schools, with pass rate figures rising from 25-30% for both boys and girls in parts of England, to 100% in particular Islamic institutions. The Brondesbury College for Boys in Brent is one such example, whose GCSE pass rates are 46% higher than England’s national average,” mentioned Lord Ahmed.

Speaking about how these Muslim institutions provide Britain with young educated Muslim who will in turn contribute towards Britain in primary fields of work, Lord Ahmed mentioned, “Muslim Schools are therefore setting the standards of all-round excellence and nurturing a new generation of high achievers throughout the country; allowing their pupils to excel in subjects beyond the schools’ Islamic focus. The number of Muslim schools, along with their successful pass rates, thus provide Britain with young educated Muslims, who will in turn, be in a better position to contribute towards Britain in primary fields of work.”

Lord Ahmed mentioned about those six Muslim schools that were inspected and what they were accused of: He said, “The Mazahirul Uloom (Secondary School), was accused of focusing solely on Islamic themes. Jamiatul Ummah (Secondary School) was accused of not providing pupils with a broad and balanced curriculum. Ebrahim Academy (Secondary School) was accused of not preparing students for modern British life and their curriculum was said to be too narrow.”

“London East Academy (Secondary School), was accused of not having a broad and balanced curriculum and their students were accused of not having a sufficient understanding of how other people live in Britain and abroad. This school was also accused of not keeping their children safe and most of the library books are in Arabic. Al Mizan (Primary School) was accused of only teaching Islam in religious studies and not keeping children safe due to the public having open access to the school. East London Islamic (Primary School) was accused of focusing a majority of their lessons on Islamic or Arabic Studies,” said Lord Ahmed.

Lord Ahmed thinks these primary and secondary schools were “unfairly rated by Ofsted. He said, “These primary and secondary schools have thus all been unfairly rated by Ofsted.”

Lord Ahmed raised question why these private schools would not have the same privilege and freedom to develop their own curriculum and ethos as government encourages community run schools to do that. Lord Ahmed said, “As the government encourages community-run schools to have more freedom to develop their own curriculum and ethos, why shouldn’t private schools such as these have the same privilege? The academic focus of these Muslim institutions is in no way different from the existing Christian, Jewish and other faith schools that exist around the country who focus heavily upon their culture, religion and ethical values, but do not neglect the National Curriculum.”

Lord Ahmed also maintained that the pupils of these schools are not “at risks of extremism and radicalization” and he thought that “Ofsted’s chief inspector has overreacted” on the recent reporting of the six Muslim private schools. Lord Ahmed mentioned, “By creating an environment in which parents feel their children are safe, a child can develop strong links between what is taught at home and what is taught at school, thus enhancing their learning, in accordance with their parents’ wishes. Though a faith focus exists in many other institutions, here it has been misconstrued as extreme and radical, when simply it is just put in place to teach the fundamentals of the specific religion. Pupils are not “at risk of extremism and radicalisation”, and it seems as though Ofsted’s chief inspector has overreacted on the recent reporting of the six Muslim private schools.”

Lord Ahmed also said, “Many say that for too long the United Kingdom has allowed religious communities to “enforce their own values and traditions” on children. Is this so wrong? These religious communities include parents, do they not have a say in how to bring up their own children anymore? Why is it so necessary to get involved with the personal lives of people so much, what happened to freedom of choice?”

Lord Ahmed pointed out about the worst discrimination faced by Muslims found in a recent research by Dr Nabil Khattab and Professor Ron Johnston, from the University of Bristol. Lord Ahmed said, “This report has emerged at the same time as the recent research by Dr Nabil Khattab and Professor Ron Johnston, from the University of Bristol, which finds that Muslims experience the worst discrimination of any other minority group in job prospects in the UK, with Muslim men up to 76%, and Muslim women up to 65% less likely to gain employment than their white counterparts of the same age with the same qualifications.”

Lord Ahmed also maintained, “Combined with the recent downgrading of several Muslim schools, this evidence suggests an ongoing and growing nervousness about Islam in the UK, raising further worrying questions about Islamophobia amongst the public.”

Lord Ahmed concluded by saying, “Furthermore, if we look at the subjects offered by each of the six accused Muslim private schools, we notice that they do offer a variety of subjects which are not all solely based on Islamic teachings. Therefore the argument about not providing a broad and balanced curriculum is inaccurate.”

At the end, a Links for Curriculum’s of each school mentioned:

Some examples are given below:

Mazahirul Uloom – courses (
Alhamdullilah, we are now able to offer a greater selection of GCSE Courses than ever before:
The following subjects are taught leading to a Full GCSE:
Arabic Language

English Literature
Science (triple award for our top students)
Information Communication Technology

In addition we teach the following National CURRICULUM Subjects:

Physical Education (Football, Cricket, Table Tennis, Athletics)

We also have a full Traditional CURRICULUM including:

Tahfeez;  Tajweed; Aqaaid; Fiqh; Hadeeth; Seerah and Taareekh and Nasheeds

Jamiatul Ummah – curriculum
This page gives an overview of the school CURRICULUM, and connects it to GCSE subjects.
Subjects Offered
Brief Description
GCSE Entry
Hifzul Qur'an
Memorising the whole Qrr'an for Hifz students
Memorising the last para/Juz and other selective suras, with Tajweed Recitation and meaning
Selective hadith in Arabic text, with meaning, explanation and APPLICATIONS to our practical life, and principles of Hadith
All these subjects come under Edexel syllabus as a full COURSE- Islamic Studies
Seerah/Islamic History
Short biographies of earlier prophets, extensive biography of the last prophet, short biographies of the companions, heroes and contemporary scholars of Islam

Aqeeda of Ahl-Sunnah wal Jamah, based on al-Fiqh al-Akbar by Imam Abu Hanifa and Sharh Aqidah al-Tahawiyyah by Imam Tahawi

Comparative Religion
Discussion and comparison of the major living religions of the world

Fiqh and Usul al-Fiqh
Major issues of Fiqh, including those that are faced by modern Muslims in the West

Arabic Language
A combined course in Qur'anic and modern (Standard) Arabic
Includes ethics, Akhlaq-Adab, developing positive social behavious and peaceful living in a multi-cultural society
To be confirmed
Writing ESSAYS, reading comprehension, poetry
English Literature
Novels, short stories, poems, etc
SCIENCE (Double Award)
Biology, CHEMISTRY and Physis
Number, Algebra, Handling data, Space and Shape, etc
Information Communication Technology (ICT)
DATABASE Software, Spreadsheet, Graphics software, Web Design, etc.,
Physical Education (PE)
FITNESS, Football, Cricket, Kayaking, Climbing, etc.,
Reading, writing and speaking
This subject in under consideration in the near future
To be confirmed
This subject in under consideration in the near future
To be confirmed
A pupil can choose the Hifz section where a considerable amount of time is given to memorizing the Qur'an in addition to studying the  National Curriculum subjects. Since the task of memorizing the whole Qur'an normally requires extra  time and effort, pupils from the Hifz section do not attend some of the optional subjects.

Ebrahim College – Courses

Al-Mizan School Secondary – Curriculum

Islamic Sciences 

Qur’an and Tajweed
Second list item
Hadith; Arabic Language;  Aqeedah; Fiqh; Islamic history; Seerah;
IGCSE Islamiyat and Tafseer

National Curriculum 
English (Language and Literature)
Science (Chemistry, Biology and Physics)
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
Humanities (Geography, History & Social studies)
Citizenship, PSHE, Physical Education
Art and Cultural Studies,
Religious Studies