Girls at failing faith school not taught ‘consent or respect’ in RSE

Posted: Wed, 09 Feb 2022

Girls at failing faith school not taught ‘consent or respect’ in RSE

Pupils at an independent faith school are not taught enough about healthy relationships, including consent, inspectors have found.

According to a report published last week, Ofsted inspectors found pupils "do not learn about harmful sexual behaviour, consent and respect" in relationships and sex education (RSE) at Jamia-Al-Hudaa Residential College in Nottingham.

Jamia-Al-Hudaa is a Deobandi Islamic boarding school for girls aged 11-19.

During the inspection late last year, in which the school was rated 'inadequate', inspectors found the personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum is "poorly planned" with "insufficient time allocated to the subject". Consequently, pupils do not have enough experience to "prepare them for life in modern Britain".

Additionally, pupils "only learn about heterosexual relationships and marriage". Schools are required to promote equality and pupils' understanding of the protected characteristics, including sexual orientation, which are outlined in equality law.

The report also said the curriculum "provides pupils with limited opportunities" and pupils "do not have the opportunity to study creative or artistic subjects".

All sixth form students study an "Islamic science curriculum" and do not have the chance to learn other subjects unless studied in their own free time.

Subjects taught under the "Islamic science curriculum" include the memorisation and interpretation of Islamic texts, Islamic history and Arabic, according to the school's website.

The report said leaders have not taken action to address issues that have been highlighted in previous inspections by Ofsted.

Jamia-Al-Hudaa was previously criticised by inspectors in 2019 for "numerous failings" in relation to safeguarding and systems to support students' wellbeing. In 2015 it was also rated 'inadequate', and inspectors said it did not give pupils sufficient access to books about "different faiths or British history".

NSS Comment

A spokesperson from the National Secular Society's education team said: "It is deeply concerning that this school is failing to teach girls how to keep themselves safe in relationships. All schools must ensure pupils are given the knowledge they need about sex and relationships to protect themselves from exploitation and harm.

"This school has a considerable track record of prioritising religious teachings over the education and wellbeing of pupils. The government must make it clear that this is never acceptable by taking robust action against those that repeatedly do so."

What the NSS stands for

The Secular Charter outlines 10 principles that guide us as we campaign for a secular democracy which safeguards all citizens' rights to freedom of and from religion.

Tags: Independent schools