“A Muslim school falsely accused of suspending a boy for communicating with a member of the opposite sex has been cleared by an OFSTED inspection.
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw lavished praise on Al-Khair School in Croydon, stating :”I am pleased that a school with an Islamic ethos can effectively prepare both boys and girls to take their place in modern British society.”
In his letter to the Secretary of State, he also concluded that action taken against the boy was both “proportionate and appropriate.”
He added it followed a series of “lesser sanctions which proved unsuccessful in deterring this boy from behaving in a totally inappropriate and intimidatory manner, which left a female pupil feeling exceptionally uncomfortable and vulnerable.”
The Department of Education ordered a probe after a totally inaccurate newspaper story said that a teenager had been removed from classes for breaching its “Islamic ethos” by chatting with a girl.
The paper pressed ahead with publication despite being:
warned the suspension related to a much more serious issue and not harmless communication
asked to come into the school or meet anywhere else convenient to be fully briefed and
told OFSTED had already investigated the case, agreed with the sanctions taken and rated the school “outstanding” for promoting pupils’ personal development.
After the story the Department for Education asked Ofsted, which rated Al-Khair “good??? following a full inspection last September, to “urgently investigate??? the independent school.
Senior inspectors visited the school on Tuesday (Jan 26 2016) and the results of the inspection were released yesterday (Thursday), clearing the school of any wrongdoing and praising the equal opportunities given to both sexes.
boys and girls have the same opportunities for extracurricular activities, and attend a number of extracurricular events together
the headteachers, both female, are seen as ambassadors for the rights and aspirations of young Muslim women
the curriculum promotes British values and encourages boys and girls to be aspirational and productive British citizens.
Al-Khair headteacher Aisha Chaudhry said :”I am delighted that OFSTED and its inspectors hold us in such high regard.
“We are one of the best performing schools in the country and to suggest we don’t treat the sexes equally is deeply offensive.
“We have never and would never ban harmless communication between members of the opposite sex. The clause related only to harassment.
“Our actions were to protect the girl, who as Sir Michael Wilshaw concluded ,was left feeling exceptionally uncomfortable and vulnerable.
“We couldn’t believe anyone would try to interpret our behaviour policy in this way. It is very sad that anyone would think that way so as a result we have removed the policy relating to free mixing completely.
“I am very grateful for the support of OFSTED and their praise that our school, with an Islamic ethos, can so effectively prepare both boys and girls to take their place in modern British society.
“We will now be taking action over the original publication. We are very proud of our achievements to date and confident of continuing to prepare well rounded and aspirational young men and women as we achieve even greater successes.”
Al-Khair School was founded in 2003 with just five pupils by the inspirational Imam Qasim Ahmad.
Its results now put it in the top 1 per cent in the country and Al-Khair was recently rated number 35 out of 5,000 in a list of best secondary schools in the whole of the UK by the Telegraph.”
Please find below a link to the letter sent by Ofsted to the Secretary of State: