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Ofsted report on Islamia school

Incidentally, I checked the Ofsted report on Ibrahim's school (he is no longer head, it seems).

Before I get to the school's report, what is especially interesting is this:

There are no national statutory requirements for religious education (RE), other than that RE should be provided.

There are non-statutory (i.e. entirely toothless) guidelines, however. They are here. Very waffly, aren't they? What do the require so far as getting children to think critically about their own religion is concerned? Er... um...

Maintained schools do have to comply with a locally agreed RE syllabus, determined by the Local Education Authority on advice from a Standing Advisory Council on RE (SACRE) which is comprised of 4 groups of people, each group with one vote, comprising representatives from: (i) religious denominations, (ii) the Church of England, (iii) local teaching reps, (iv) the Local Education Authority (notice membership must therefore be at least 50% religious). The syllabus is drawn up with an eye to the non-statutory guidelines.

Independent schools can do whatever they like.

Islamia school is independent, it seems.

So now to the Islamia school's Oftsed report. It says everything is pretty much great. Except right at the end we find this:

While not required by the regulations, the school might wish to consider the
following points for development:
  • continue to seek ways of integrating the secular curriculum and Islamic studies
  • further improve the quality of teaching by sharing good practice and through a rigorous programme of training and development
  • increase resources for physical education for older pupils and improve thefacilities for practical science
  • provide a wider range of opportunities for pupils to increase their knowledge and understanding of the other faiths and cultures.
(Source: Inspection report: Nottingham Islamia School, 9-10 May 2007.)

Note that first and last comment. That's it, suggestion-wise. Notice they are pointing up some weaknesses in RE re. the non-statutory guidelines. Legally, the school doesn't have to provide any opportunities for pupils to increase their knowledge and understanding of other faiths and cultures. There's just the suggestion that it might like to provide more.

Nor is there any mention, anywhere, of an absence of a critical culture. But then how could there be given even the non-statutory guidelines waffle over that issue?

So, even if the school were a little indoctrination factory (I don't say it is, by the way, but remember Ibrahim's approval of "indoctrination" and his suggestion that in any good Islamic school "Islam is a given and never challenged"), the report could not fault the school for failing to meet even non-statutory guidelines in this respect.

Not good enough.

When pressed on the issue of indoctrination, Islamic and other faith schools often respond by pointing to their "excellent" Ofsted reports. Unfortunately, on this issue, Ofsted reports provide no guarantees whatsoever, and Ofsted is utterly toothless.


Anonymous said…
I refer you to:

I quote from that page:

"The central Constitutional question here is whether the government has the power to pass a law that restricts the free exercise of religion. The First Amendment says unequivocally that it does not; but in order to suppress the Mormon practice of polygamy in 1878, the Supreme Court redefined "exercise" as belief, which is protected absolutely, and action, which is not. So the question became this: What religious conduct is protected by the Constitution from the majority? A century later, the answer is none."

I know this is a uk blog. But still do you think that we can close down religious schools by saying that indoctrination of children is religious action which is not protected by the first amendment and thus pass laws banning religious indoctrination and thus religious schools?

We are not aiming to prevent religious belief only religious public action that will affect us in the future.
anticant said…
The issue is not whether Muslim or other faith schools should be closed down, but whether they should receive state subsidies if their teachings aren't in accordance with approved educational method and they are seen to indoctrinate as opposed to educating.

I consider that such schools should be financially self-supporting, as should political parties.
Anonymous said…
@ Anticant
hmmmm, I might be overly worried, but I think the potential damage (societal and to the individual child) is too serious to give a carte blanche to any religious group with sufficient money to run a school. (Saudi support of wahabbi-madrasses various places around the world is one example. I am sure there are other schools e.g. within christianity and scientology that could be problematic, as well)

I would not support a ban, but would prefer laws of by-laws securing the necessary elements preventing indoctrination embedded in the curiculi. Of course such an arrangement needs control and means to correct noncomplying schools.

In Cod we trust

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