Islamic school stays open after telling government it was closed

Posted: Thu, 24 Oct 2019

School corridor

An independent Islamic school which refused access to inspectors has remained open despite telling the government it had closed, a report from the education watchdog Ofsted has revealed.

In a report published on Monday, Ofsted said "the available evidence" suggested Islamic Preparatory School Wolverhampton was still operating when inspectors visited the site on 25 September.

The inspection took place two days after the school's head informed the Department for Education (DfE) that the school had closed.

Pupils were seen entering and leaving the building during the inspection. Ofsted said the school was providing 11 pupils with 16 hours of education per week, and it was "likely the pupils receive the majority of their education at this school".

The report also revealed that:

  • Ofsted's lead inspector was denied entry to the school during the visit. The school's head, Rashid Raja, had also refused to allow an inspector on to the premises during a visit in February.
  • Inspectors were unable to check whether the school had a suitable safeguarding policy, despite the fact they found "several hazards" in the school during the February visit.
  • The proprietor claimed the school was only providing tuition, so did not need to be registered or inspected.

National Secular Society head of education Alastair Lichten said:

"This is an extraordinary reminder of the lengths some religious groups will go to in their attempts to deny children a decent education.

"The government must ensure this school is closed. And those who run schools without appropriate registration or who refuse to allow inspectors to enter schools should be prosecuted.

"Allowing religious schools to operate without oversight leaves children with no guarantee that they will be kept safe or prepared for life outside insular religious communities. Religion must not be above the law."

Notes

  • Refusing entrance to school inspectors contravenes Section 110 of the Education and Skills Act 2008, which provides inspectors with the right of entry to any school to carry out a lawful inspection.
  • The school was rated 'inadequate' in all areas during the February inspection.
  • The school is now listed as closed on Ofsted's section of the gov.uk website.

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Tags: Education, Independent schools, unregistered schools