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.