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Tower Hamlets schools could be shut down over extremism fears

Tower Hamlets Credit: PA

Six independent schools in Tower Hamlets could be shut down by the Department of Education if they fail to improve.

The schools are due to be served 'notices to improve' by the government on Monday. If they don't comply, the government then has the power to close them by removing them from the Independent Schools Register.

It follows an Ofsted report which found the schools were failing to protect children from Islamic extremism. A state school, Sir John Cass Red Coat School, has already been placed in special measures by the government.

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Ofsted criticises sex segregation in state-run school

Ofsted have criticised a state-run school in east London was not doing enough to protect its pupils from the threat of Islamic extremism.

In one of seven reports into schools in the area, inspectors found there was inadequate protection for young people and that girls were being prevented from having equal access to school facilities.

Sir John Cass's Foundation and Red Coat School. Credit: Google Street View

Ofsted found that the school failed to monitor the online activities of the sixth-form Islamic society, which included a Facebook page with links to radical preachers. The most recent report said that despite police warnings on these links, leaders within the school failed to act.

Leaders have organised separate boys’ and girls’ entrances and exits to the school. Although there are mixed dining and study areas, segregated boys’ and girls’ outdoor and indoor spaces are provided at breaktimes and lunchtimes.
As a consequence, boys and girls do not have equal access to the school’s facilities. For example, girls cannot use the football cages provided in the boys’ playground.

– Ofsted inspection report
  1. National

East London schools criticised in Ofsted inspection

An unannounced inspection by Ofsted on a number of schools across the London district of Tower Hamlets have revealed serious failings in levels of teaching and care provided to children.

Canary Wharf in Tower Hamlets. Credit: PA

In the first of several reports due out this morning, Ofsted found that the Jamiatul Ummah School, an independent secondary school which caters to children mainly from Bangladeshi backgrounds, was "inadequate" and failing students in all of the inspection criteria. The inspection found:

School leaders provide a good range of opportunities for students to study and practice their Islamic faith. However, in other respects students are not provided with a broad and balanced curriculum.

The narrowness of the curriculum means that students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural education, in particular their understanding of the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance, is underdeveloped.

– Ofsted inspection report
  1. National

East London Mosque school 'not teaching curriculum'

A number of schools in East London have criticised for not protecting children from the threat of Islamic extremism, and spending too much time teaching the Qur'an instead of the national curriculum.

The Al-Mizan independent school,located inside the East London Mosque and managed by the East London Mosque Educational Trust, was found to be inadequate in every inspection criteria.

The school website states that pupils will be taught the National Curriculum. In practice, this does not happen.

School leaders accept that their information about pupils’ progress in English, mathematics and science is inaccurate. In contrast, a rigorous system is in place to track pupils’ progress, homework and fluency in memorising the Qur’an.

– Ofsted inspection report

Johnson to call for more music education at conference

Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The Mayor of London will call for a greater drive for music education at City Hall this afternoon.

Boris Johnson will give the keynote speech at the Mayor's Education Conference, which is focusing on how education can prepare young Londoners for success in a globalised world.

The second annual London Education report found that 86 per cent of the capital's schools are rated good or outstanding. Mr Johnson will tell conference attendees that he wants London to compete with high achieving education systems worldwide.

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Inspection reports due following extremism concerns

Sir John Cass and Red Coat School is one of the schools inspected by Ofsted Credit: Google Street View

Reports for six East London schools will be published later.

Ofsted carried out snap inspections at schools in the borough of Tower Hamlets, including Sir John Cass Red Coat School, after after concerns were raised with the Department of Education about the influence of Islamic teaching in the schools' curriculums.

Five of the six schools are private Islamic faith schools and the sixth is a Church of England primary.

Read more: School named and shamed for failing to protect pupils from Islamic extremism.

Students to take to the streets for tuition fees protest

Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Thousands of students are expected to take to the streets of central London later calling for politicians to scrap tuition fees.

Organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and the Student Assembly Against Austerity, the demonstration is expected to be the biggest of its kind for four years.

Students are expected to travel from as far afield as Aberdeen to join the march.

Academy heads' salaries to be scrutinised

Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Academy headteachers are set to have their salaries reviewed, after it was revealed that one executive head had been awarded a 56 per cent pay rise last year.

Sir Greg Martin, executive head of Durand Academy in Stockwell, saw his wage packet increase to a total of £229,138 in 2013, according to the National Audit Office.

The academy's trust says the pay increase was justified as Sir Greg's role in the school included leadership of the primary school, early years centre and middle school. Durand Academy has previously been praised by ministers.

The NAO report states that the Education Funding Agency is planning to "undertake a review of academy heads' salaries" but the scope of the review had not yet been finalised.

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