The British government has ordered the takeover of a state-funded Islamic school in Birmingham. The Al-Hijrah school in Birmingham failed multiple inspections by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted), as originally reported by The Times.
The school reportedly had books in the school library condoning marital rape and wife beating.
A nine-year-old pupil, Mohammed Imaeel Ashraf, died in March after he had an allergic reaction to fish and chips and collapsed.
A June report following the incident said the school was “inadequate” and not “sufficiently” safe. Staff was not adequately prepared to deal with medical emergencies.
The Department of Education has appointed an interim board to manage the school and it will be turned into an academy, a different legal classification of school in the UK.
The school is also facing another legal challenge. Although Al-Hijrah is a mixed gender school, it segregates its pupils, aged 5-16, by gender. Ofsted took the school to court over it, claiming this policy breaches the equality act.
“I am deeply concerned about the idea that total segregation of children within a mixed school is acceptable,” Chief Ofsted Inspector Amanda Spielman said. “We have single-sex schools, and I am not challenging that but the idea that you have . . . a mixed school and yet you do not have social development, stimulation, all the things that come from mixing the sexes, makes me uncomfortable.
“What pupils were missing out on in Al-Hijrah was the chance to interact with the opposite sex, to prepare them for adult life.”
Al-Hijrah managed to delay publication of the report for a year, but an appeals court last week ruled it must be published, according to Heat Street.
England has previously been rocked by the so-called ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal, in which a cadre of Islamist activists were found to have worked to take over a network of state-funded schools and use them to teach a hardline interpretation of Islam. In 2014, although not implicated in the Trojan Horse scandal, the entire governing body of Al-Hijrah school was sacked after it was found to be inadequate.