*** DEBUG END ***

Governors sacked at Muslim school in Birmingham

30 May 2014


Interim board: Al-Hijrah school 

Interim board: Al-Hijrah school 

BIRMINGHAM city council has sacked the governors of the Muslim voluntary aided Al-Hijrah School, Birmingham, and appointed an interim executive board and a new acting head teacher after OFSTED inspections over several months showed a serious decline in standards, the council has confirmed.

The decision to disband the governing body, "which no longer has any power or responsibility in matters relating to the school", was taken with the backing of the Department for Education (DfE), a council statement said. A recent monitoring visit by inspectors found "continued failings related to the school's governance, financial stability, and its improvement plan", it said.

The move has been strongly resisted by the staff and governors of Al-Hijrah. Members of the new interim board who visited the school on Thursday last week withdrew "after it became clear staff were not going to co-operate", the statement said. They would return next Monday, when the school reopens after half term, to explain the situation to parents.

Press reports said that a council officer who tried to enter the school was turned away by security guards hired by the governors.

The heavily oversubscribed Al-Hijrah School opened in 1988 as an independent school, but became a publicly funded voluntary aided school in 2002. It is not one of the 21 schools inspected in connection with the "Trojan horse" allegations (News, 16 May), but is connected to them through its governors, one of whom was a "consultant" at one of the affected schools.

Tariq Alam, who chairs the governors at Park View Academy, at the centre of the allegations, is reportedly secretary of the Al-Hijrah Trust, which runs a school in Balochistan, in Pakistan. It is also associated with the neighbouring Al-Hijrah Training Academy.

The academy's website says that its courses are designed to help parents, teachers, governors, and educational institutions ensure that the moral and spiritual needs of the half-million Muslim children who attend maintained schools in Britain are met.

Birmingham clergy and diocesan officials have expressed concern that the investigations sparked by the Trojan-horse affair are damaging community relations. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, is a member of a group of city leaders set up by the council to review the allegations.

Muslim-school dispute.

OFSTED inspectors investigating allegations of fundamentalist Salafist teaching at the independent Olive Tree Muslim primary school, Luton, met strong resistance from parents, The Guardian newspaper reports.

The allegations were denied by Olive Tree school's chairman of governors, Farasat Latif, who said that the inspectors had asked pupils inappropriate questions about the teaching of homosexuality.

Reports in The Guardian say that the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Farooq Murad, has written to OFSTED's chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, seeking clarification of the situation.

OFSTED did not usually inspect independent schools, but could do so at the request of the DfE, a spokesman said this week. The agency did not comment on inspections before reports were published, he said.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events


Church Times/RSCM:

Festival of Faith and Music

26 - 28 April 2024

See the full programme on the festival website. 

Early bird tickets available


Intercultural Church for a Multicultural World

28 May 2024

A Church Times/Church House Publishing webinar

Tickets are FREE


Church Times/Modern Church:

A Political Faith?

Monday 3 June 2024

This panel will explore where Christians have come to in terms of political power and ask, where should we go next?

Online tickets available


Church Times/Modern Church:

Participating in Democracy

Monday 10 June 2024

This panel will explore the power of voting, and power beyond voting.

Online tickets available


Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)