- Dozens of Islamic schools are operating despite being deemed 'unsafe'
- Shows that a crackdown on extremism in schools has failed to materialise
- At one school, pupils were given books about being stoned to death
- In another 99 pupils were found to have gone missing or be at risk of exploitation
Dozens of Islamic schools continue to operate despite inspectors finding that pupils are unsafe, exposed to extreme views or unaware of basic British values, a Mail investigation reveals today.
The findings suggest that a supposed Government crackdown on extremism in schools – following the Trojan Horse scandal – has failed to materialise.
Five Islamic schools have been allowed to stay open after inspections found they were failing to protect children from extremism or radicalisation.
At Darul Uloom Islamic high school in Birmingham, pictured inspectors found a large number of leaflets ‘containing highly concerning and extremist views’
Some 18 are still open despite Ofsted warning that pupils are ‘unsafe’ there.
These include one where children were given books about stoning to death, and another where 99 pupils were found to have gone missing and to be ‘at risk of exploitation’.
Even in the most extreme cases – where the Government has tried to shut a school – staff have been able to use legal challenges to keep it open.
At least two failing Islamic schools are continuing to teach children while staff try to drag Ofsted through the courts over their damning reports.
The findings are based on research into the 105 Islamic schools in England, which are all registered – and therefore legal – independent schools, and should be monitored by Ofsted.
But there are understood to be thousands more children educated in unregistered illegal faith schools across the UK. In what MPs described as a ‘shocking scandal’, we can reveal that:
- At least nine Islamic schools have stayed open despite having 'limited or no' music teaching, and 16 do not teach art properly;
- Male and female staff were separated by a screen during meetings at one Islamic school;
- Another school was found to be teaching children in buildings infested with pigeons, mice and rats;
- Several treat boys and girls 'unequally' and allow sexist views to go unchallenged;
- Pupils at one Islamic school said they did not know what Christmas was;
- Several schools have been repeatedly rated inadequate with serious failings, but have been allowed to stay open.
A source close to Education Secretary Justine Greening last night said she is taking the Mail’s findings ‘very seriously’ and is ‘pressing her officials to see what changes can be made’.
The Government pledged a crackdown on extremism in schools following the Trojan Horse scandal in 2014 – a campaign to introduce strict Muslim ideology in a string of Birmingham state schools.
THE DAMNING OFSTED FAILINGS
Then education secretary Michael Gove vowed schools would be shut down if found not to be protecting pupils from the threat of extremism.
But more than two years on, 30 of the 105 Muslim schools have not been inspected at all by Ofsted. Seven appear not to have been inspected in five years or more.
At Darul Uloom Islamic high school in Birmingham, inspectors found a large number of leaflets ‘containing highly concerning and extremist views’, such as ‘music, dancing and singing are acts of [the] devil and prohibited’.
Serious safety concerns and a very narrow curriculum were also discovered.
But despite being officially struck off by the Department for Education, the school is refusing to close. It remains open five years after major concerns were first raised – when a preacher was filmed making racist remarks about Hindus and ranting that ‘disbelievers are the worst creatures’.
A spokesman for the school said it disputes the Ofsted reports as well as the conduct of the inspectors, accusing them of racism.
Ofsted found Al Ameen primary school, in Birmingham, was not promoting British values.
Year 6 pupils said they thought France was in Britain and none who spoke to inspectors knew what an MP was. Books promoting inequality of the sexes were found and when a pupil drew an explicitly violent picture, staff failed to acknowledge it as inappropriate.
Another Islamic school in Birmingham was found in March to have cameras in girls’ changing areas. Inspectors said pupils at Al Burhan grammar school were unsafe, ‘feel vulnerable and that their dignity as teenage girls is not fully respected’.
Yet it continues to operate and was allowed to keep its ‘outstanding’ rating. A spokesman for the school said Ofsted’s concerns ‘were all swiftly addressed’. The school also made clear that the changing facilities at the school were temporary and confirmed that no pupils were watched on CCTV while they were changing.
In one Leicester school, pupils were found to have stereotyped views of women, but these went unchallenged. Inspectors noted that just one cup was being used for all students to drink from.
At Jameah girls’ academy nearby, pupils ‘expressed great discomfort at the thought of being educated in a mixed-gender, multicultural setting’.
In Tower Hamlets, East London, books promoting gender inequality and punishments including stoning to death were found at Jamiatul Ummah school.
Ad-Deen primary in Ilford, Essex, pictured, – founded by Sajeel Shahid, who trained the ringleader of the 7/7 attacks – did not teach British values and failed to prevent children from going missing from education
Ofsted found Al Ameen primary school, in Birmingham, was not promoting British values. Year 6 pupils said they thought France was in Britain
At the Institute of Islamic Education in Dewsbury, pictured, adult men who had not been vetted shared overnight accommodation with boarding pupils as young as 11
Ad-Deen primary in Ilford, Essex – founded by Sajeel Shahid, who trained the ringleader of the 7/7 attacks – did not teach British values and failed to prevent children from going missing from education. It follows an Ofsted warning last year about the safety of children from Birmingham and Tower Hamlets who stopped attending school with little explanation.
At the Institute of Islamic Education in Dewsbury adult men who had not been vetted shared overnight accommodation with boarding pupils as young as 11. A recent inspection, however, found standards at the school have now been met.
Four failing schools are contesting Ofsted’s findings through costly court proceedings, claiming they have been the victims of a ‘witch hunt’ – two of which are continuing to operate despite an official ban.
A judge has refused to name one school that is challenging a highly critical Ofsted report in the High Court, provoking a backlash last week.
Tory MP Philip Hollobone last night said the Mail’s revelations were ‘a shocking scandal’, adding: ‘There is no point having Ofsted inquiries and investigations if their findings and recommendations are not implemented as soon as possible.’
An Ofsted spokesman said: ‘Inspectors report on independent schools and it is the Department for Education’s responsibility to cancel their registration.’
A DfE spokesman said: ‘Extremism has no place in our society and when we find schools promoting twisted ideologies or discrimination … we will take action, including closing the school or working with the police as necessary.’
I was expelled simply for having a disposable camera, says former pupil
Aliyah Saleem has spoken out about her treatment at Jamia Al Hudaa girls’ school in Nottingham,
At one repeatedly failing Islamic school, a pupil was expelled just for owning a disposable camera.
Aliyah Saleem has spoken out about her treatment at Jamia Al Hudaa girls’ school in Nottingham, saying she was not taught geography, history, art or music.
Until she left the school in 2011, she ‘didn’t know about World War One or World War Two’.
‘The worst thing about the school was the national curriculum, it was restricted in every way possible,’ she said.
‘We were taught English and science but we were not taught about evolution or sex
I had to teach myself evolution at 20.’
Miss Saleem, now in her twenties, was at the school from 2006 to 2011.
She was ‘publicly expelled in front of the entire school’ for owning a disposable camera, thought to be a sign of ‘narcissism’.
She wrote on her blog: ‘No regulatory body or authority ever found out about it and nobody ever confronted it, even though it caused me great humiliation and shame.’
The ex-pupil said she was pleased the school was judged ‘inadequate’ in 2015, having previously got good ratings.
Inspectors noted ‘disproportionate’ punishments, such as £20 fines for chewing gum and fixed-term expulsions for having a mobile phone.
But Miss Saleem thinks Ofsted has not gone far enough.
She said that in this inspection ‘very little was said’ on how ‘restrictive’ the curriculum is.
Jamia Al Hudaa girls’ school in Nottingham, where the last Ofsted inspection found the school does not promote balanced views or British values
‘It is obvious that for too long the Government has stood by and ignored the utterly appalling imposition of conservative religious ideologies on British school children,’ she said.
Miss Saleem, who campaigns about the dangers of religious education, added: ‘Just because independent schools are funded by parents and charities, it’s not that those children do not matter.’
The last Ofsted inspection found the school does not promote balanced views or British values, and pupils can access ‘books that have been written by controversial authors, for example by one who is not allowed to enter this country’.
An Ofsted spokesman said the balance of the curriculum was one of several areas that were assessed.
A school spokesman said: ‘The school takes all points relating to safeguarding as serious … and has policies and extensive risk assessments in place to promote British values.’
She claimed inspectors ‘did not show clarity of understanding and displayed lack of basic knowledge in regards to which books posed a risk … The school feels this is a very unfair judgment.’