Ofsted reveals “serious risk” to students’ physical and educational welfare in faith schools

Nov 24, 2014

By National Secular Society

A series of Ofsted investigations have exposed serious failings in six Islamic schools. The head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw has warned the Education Secretary that pupils “may be vulnerable to extremist influences and radicalisation.”

According to Sir Michael Wilshaw: “All schools focused intensively on developing Islamic knowledge and understanding at the expense of other important areas of the curriculum.” Ofsted found that “pupils’ physical and educational welfare is at serious risk.”

At Mazahirul Uloom School inspectors found pupils were unable to tell the difference between sharia law and English law.

The six independent Muslim Schools, all in Tower Hamlets, are failing to provide pupils with “an appropriately broad and balanced curriculum.” In one school the curriculum was focused “entirely on Islamic themes.”

Commenting on the findings, Stephen Evans, National Secular Society campaigns manager, said: “For too long the rights of young people have been neglected by the willingness to allow religious communities to use schools to impose their own values and traditions on children.

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38 comments on “Ofsted reveals “serious risk” to students’ physical and educational welfare in faith schools

  • 2
    Miserablegit says:

    This was always going to be a problem with the Tory free schools, they would always be manipulated by the more reactionary faiths such as Islam to allow themselves to be free from any interference from government so that can carry on brainwashing children.

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  • I’ll say it again…religion is about indoctrination, not education.
    Knowledge is poisonous to religion and will never be tolerated.

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  • It is frightening how naive the ‘government’ is when it comes to the faith school issue. On the one hand they act surprised when Muslim youngsters are attracted by jihadists and yet on the other hand they encourage the intense indoctrination of children by fanatical islamists at governemnt sponsored faith schools!
    All government schools should be entirely secular with any religious activitiy being an extramural activity, ie not in formal school times. Those who want to insist on indoctrinating their children with islam should send them to schools in Saudi Arabia or the like, not in Britain.

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  • Children’s rights have been neglected unless they’re just a clump of cells. Then people scream MURDER! At the mention of abortion.

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  • Labour backed this idea.

    The fact is nearly all the politicians, whatever their politics, are willing to back factions that are motivated and politically organised. Politicians are not nice, they sell themselves to anyone with the clear intention of voting, while holding their noses until they’re actually in power. Get over it.

    Secular-Humanists really need to get understand this in every country in the World: Non-engagement is not an option.

    If you don’t like religious schools write to your MP [and the candidates that came second and third in the last General Election], your Local Coumcil, the local radio station – anybody. Then do it again next week and every week until the next general election, or write a placard and have a good shout in your nearest High Street every Saturday.

    If you care act.

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  • I toured an Islamic elementary school in Vancouver. What struck me was how Spartan it was. The community it served were mainly immigrants from Yemen and Serbia. They were not well off, yet they felt obligated to fund a private school they could not afford.

    To me it was obvious this school harmed the students by depriving them of a properly funded school, and by their families wasting money on a luxury, not to mention the indoctrination damage.

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  • This time, I’m on the streets with you, Stephen. This is not just the root of a problem. It is the very focus of the changes we need to see happen in society. All predicated on Secular Education.

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  • Richard01 Nov 24, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    It is frightening how naive the ‘government’ is when it comes to the faith school issue. On the one hand they act surprised when Muslim youngsters are attracted by jihadists and yet on the other hand they encourage the intense indoctrination of children by fanatical islamists at governemnt sponsored faith schools!

    It is a legacy from the monastery schools and colleges from history, plus devious politicians bypassing safeguards, to make openings for opportunists on behalf of their sponsors and supporters.

    Blair the closet Catholic for theist opportunists, and Tory Free-market ideologists, seeking to replace Local Education Authority supervision of their political appointees, with central government abdication of responsibility, posing as a “superior” form of supervision!

    You are right about their surprise! When opening doors to unregulated operation of schools by their own opportunists, it should have been obvious that other opportunist ideological groups would take advantage of the removal of supervision and enforceable regulations.

    In political tradition, they are now running around like headless chickens, trying to put sticking plasters on the problems their stupidity has caused, while also pretending they were not responsible for creating the problems in the first place.

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  • It is not difficult to see how politicians are influenced by religious nonsense and religious agendas, when this sort of lobbying is allowed!

    Pope Francis addresses EU Parliament
    Pope Francis is addressing the European Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg where he is due to talk about social and economic issues.

    The Pope is expected to speak about migration during his four-hour trip, which will also see him address the Council of Europe.

    Many of Strasbourg’s Catholics are upset that he will not meet them or visit the city’s cathedral.

    Some Catholics have accused him of neglecting Europe.

    Classic political chicanery! Absent from the cathedral where he should be preaching and given a platform at the centre of government!

    Pope Francis is making the second papal visit to Strasbourg.

    In 1988 Pope John Paul II visited the city and addressed the European parliament where he was heckled by Northern Irish MEP the Rev Ian Paisley.

    During his speech the late Pope called Europe “a beacon of civilisation”.

    The current Pope however has called Europe a “tired” continent which worships the “idol of money”.

    Or more accurately: “Tired of proselyting buffoons pontificating on their bronze-age ignorance, and delusions!” –
    Away from his golden throne and and the displayed wealth of the Vatican, on this occasion!

    which worships the “idol of money”.

    It often seems totally beyond the mind of the faith-head, that many people do not “worship” at all!
    Woo-immersed faith-heads, are simply unable to grasp the concept of non-sheeple, non-worshippers – or the irony of their own claims!

    I wonder which Ayatollah will be invited next under the political correctness of “equality”?

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  • I’m angry too Stephen.

    My MP David Gauke has had many letters from me over the years asking him for info on various matters, the latest being the TTIP agreement which would have put the NHS in jeopardy of privatization; it has been voted down – for now – but they’ll doubtless try to sneak it back in.

    However, this time it’s not going to be a request but an instruction for him to ask a question in the House of Commons.

    And to help him comprehend what has motivated it, purely as a guide you understand, I shall draft a question myself.

    A hiding to nothing? We shall see.

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  • let’s not forget the no true scotsman mantra

    all too often islam is attacked at the biggest target, the beheadings, the suicide attacks etc. but maybe it’s time to focus more on this fact. send your child to a faith school and you have no idea how much they will learn of what we might call important (numeracy, literacy, physical health…) but you can be sure they’ll learn to repeat some words.

    Now I would once have said this is no way to prepare children for the future but I guess if they have cause to visit africa and bump into a boko haram roadshow then they’ll have a far better chance of getting on in the world than the rest of us.

    So let’s see if we can take the scotsman out of just the murdering stuff and apply it to education. an education that prepares a child primarily for being accepted by a (definitely not real muslim) terrorist organisation, presumibly isn’t what “real” islamic education is about is it?

    over to you moderates….

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  • 18
    inquisador says:

    Perhaps the gov. would like to introduce a dose of strychnine to the dinners of pupils at certain schools, would that be a good idea? Or is it wrong to poison their bodies but okay to poison their minds?

    Currently there are around 700 unregulated madrassas (scroll down) in Britain, attended by approximately 100,000 children of Muslim parents, and over 150 privately funded Muslim faith schools.

    And, coincidentally of course, an estimated 2,000 young British Muslims currently fighting for the Islamic State, and record numbers of terror plots being discovered.

    Wonder how many are not being discovered?

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  • Stafford Gordon Nov 25, 2014 at 8:37 am

    He deserves the title “Pope Brass Neck the Umpteenth”.

    Faith-thinking knows no irony!

    Pope Francis complains of ‘haggard’ Europe in Strasbourg

    I suppose it should be no surprise that those given to infantile thought processes, can’t understand intellectually mature cultures!

    Isn’t this the addled faith-head, who presides over a bunch of geriatric cardinals, among the Vatican’s wealth – accumulated over centuries from the poor they were pretending to help, – while conniving to support some of the nastiest war-lord dictators who walked the planet, in exchange for privileges for their church in those tyrannical regimes!

    Politicians think these people are fit to run SCHOOLS and teach children to THINK!!?

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  • 20
    Lorenzo says:

    I object to the word “school” used to describe places where ignorance is forced upon children. Those places should not exist in a civilized world and they must be abolished, immediately.

    Every child has the right to know the world for what it really is, utouched by weird, berserk and immoral myths.

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  • Thank you inquisador; after I’ve made use of the sources you’ve provided, that information will be conveyed to my MP David Gauke.

    There has sprung up this absurd notion that these young men – there are some females too I think – are doing what people did when they went to fight in the Spanish civil war; when in fact the very opposite is the case; in Spain they were fighting to preserve democracy, in Syria they’ve joined the struggle to destroy it.

    And they’ve done so despite having been born and bred in the home of Magna Carta. And why? Precisely because their religion instructs them to do it, and they aren’t thinking for themselves; par for the course.

    Incidentally, I’m also going to remind him of our scientific heritage, and how that too is being betrayed.

    I’ve had enough of this nonsense!

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  • @Stafford “There has sprung up this absurd notion that these young men – there are some females too I think – are doing what people did when they went to fight in the Spanish civil war”

    I haven’t heard/read this but I’m not surprised that some have tried to make the analogy. But they need to explain themselves.

    It depends which side they fought on. Exact numbers of Republican fighters aren’t known (between 29000 and 59000). There were an estimated 50000 foreign volunteers fighting for Franco (not counting 30000 Morrocans). Dutch and Belgian volunteers were stripped of citizenship and not allowed to return home in the aftermath.

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  • I’m not sure the numbers matter Vorlund, the question is, are those who make this false comparison doing so out of ignorance or are they simply apologists?

    Oh! Wait a minute; what’s the difference?

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  • Thanks Olgun, but a letter to an MP mustn’t be too long.

    I’ve drafted a letter about faith schools teaching creationism in place of science and sources of information about it all; the subtext is obvious.

    No single denomination you’ll note; that’ll be in the next communication.

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  • The numbers don’t matter, I was pointing out that not all foreign volunteers fought for democracy. Many of them were fascists and nazis. Many of the republicans were communists.

    They may be ignorant or divisive, but the analogy is a bad one.

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  • 29
    inquisador says:

    Thanks for your links Olgun.
    The 2nd one in particular is very telling and powerful. It reflects a real and growing threat towards Jews in many parts of Europe at present. I’ve never heard about it on the BBC though.

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  • Vorlund Nov 26, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    The numbers don’t matter, I was pointing out that not all foreign volunteers fought for democracy. Many of them were fascists and nazis. Many of the republicans were communists.

    However, if we look at the ideologies involved, democracy and rationalism, were defeated by RCC theocracy and fascism!


    Have a look at the sections on, 1930-1936, Civil war 1936-39, Franco regime, Catalonia, and especially – Concordat of 1953.

    Some in the USA and other places seem to be trying to replicate this!

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  • The letter to my MP David Gauke has been sent.

    But because I’m not au fait with procedures in the House of Commons, I didn’t ask him to take up the matter of faith school misconduct in the teaching of science there, but, after going into detail about how they are teaching creationism in place of science, betraying our scientific legacy as well as the children, and breaching their contractual obligations, I said: “Therefore, I call upon you to do everything within your power please, to ensure that, mandatorily, children are taught about the rudiments of evolution at the earliest possible age, in every school in the nation.”.

    I also included the well known emphatic statement by Theodosius Dobzhansky: “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”.

    We can but try.

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  • Stafford Gordon Nov 30, 2014 at 6:02 am

    “Therefore, I call upon you to do everything within your power please, to ensure that, mandatorily, children are taught about the rudiments of evolution at the earliest possible age, in every school in the nation.”.

    Here is the latest version of the statutory and non-statutory national curriculum – Published 11 September 2013.


    Year 6 programme of study

    Evolution and inheritance

    Pupils should be taught to:

    recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago
    recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents
    identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution

    Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

    Building on what they learned about fossils in the topic on rocks in year 3, pupils should find out more about how living things on earth have changed over time.
    They should be introduced to the idea that characteristics are passed from parents to their offspring, for instance by considering different breeds of dogs, and what happens when, for example, labradors are crossed with poodles.
    They should also appreciate that variation in offspring over time can make animals more or less able to survive in particular environments, for example, by exploring how giraffes’ necks got longer, or the development of insulating fur on the arctic fox.
    Pupils might find out about the work of palaeontologists such as Mary Anning and about how Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace developed their ideas on evolution.

    Note: at this stage, pupils are not expected to understand how genes and chromosomes work.

    Pupils might work scientifically by: observing and raising questions about local animals and how they are adapted to their environment; comparing how some living things are adapted to survive in extreme conditions, for example, cactuses, penguins and camels.
    They might analyse the advantages and disadvantages of specific adaptations, such as being on 2 feet rather than 4, having a long or a short beak, having gills or lungs, tendrils on climbing plants, brightly coloured and scented flowers.

    These are the issues which OFSTED will be requiring to be taught. Some schools will be regulated by the local council LEAs, others such as “free schools”, supposedly regulated by central government.

    For those not familiar with English systems,

    Year 6 is 10 -11 year olds,
    Year5 is 9-10 year olds,
    Year4 is 8-9 year olds,
    Year 3 is 7-8 year olds.

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  • Stafford Gordon Nov 30, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Oh dear Alan; it seems that I’ve wasted my time.

    Anyway, a reminder won’t do any harm.

    Not necessarily – if there are schools in your area which are disregarding statutory regulations and guidance.

    There are various people who need reminding.

    The link should also be useful to any US readers who want to see what a proper primary school science curriculum looks like, or who may be confronting incredulous people who claim this cannot be taught to children of this age!

    The link also has a whole lot of other science requirements on it, which should be useful to any parents checking up on what their children are being taught.

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  • Mr DArcy Nov 24, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Yea, salt water and fresh water never mix, the “perfect” book of nonsense.

    Viewed through the bias specs of faith, such issues can be seen as absolutes!

    However, in science, the layers can remain separate for a long time mixing only slowly at the halocline – unless stirred up!

    A halocline can be easily created and observed in a drinking glass or other clear vessel. If fresh water is slowly poured over a quantity of salt water, using a spoon held horizontally at water-level to prevent mixing, a hazy interface layer, the halocline, will soon be visible due to the varying index of refraction across the boundary.

    This will persist in this experiment for a short while, until diffusion equalises the salinity concentrations.

    There can also be separate layers of hot and cold water in watery caves, lakes and oceans.

    I suspect that this phenomena was observed and reported by bronze age people (sailors?), and repeated without understanding by theologians.

    Cave divers have found haloclines between sea water and rain water. They need to be careful not to mistake these for the surface if coming up from below. There are some interesting videos of this separation layer, shot by divers.

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  • Faith/Free School willfully devious misconduct and breach of contract letter sent to David Gauke MP @ 13.40 on Saturday 29.11.’14.

    Positive succinct reply received @ 16.55 on Monday 1.12.’14.

    The matter is now in the hands of The Department for Education (DfE)

    Nota bene: a turn-round time of 51 hours and 15 minutes: therein lies a certain satisfying symmetry.

    It would seem that there really is an election in the offing.

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