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The Skills Minister has said that the case of a Muslim free school in Derby which faces the prospect of closure unless "swift action" is taken, does not mean free schools are risky.
Matt Hancock told ITV News: "This one school has broken the rules, it's broken its funding requirements.
"We're having robust discussions with it and if it doesn't abide by the rules that are very clearly set out then we will close it.
He added: "But make no mistake. The free school agenda is vital for driving up standards, it's having an effect and it's hugely welcomes in local communities where these schools open
Schools Minister Lord Nash has ordered Al-Madinah Free School in Derby to provide evidence within the next week that it has stopped any practices that lead to women and girls being treated "less favourably" than men and boys.
It has also been told to notify all of its staff that they are not required to cover their hair if it is against their religion or beliefs.
His letter says: "The Trust is... failing to ensure the safety of children at the school; delivering an unacceptably poor standard of education; discriminating in its policies and procedures towards female staff; and failing to discharge its duties and responsibilities.
A Derby Muslim free school has been told it must take "swift action" to address concerns over the way it is run or it could be closed.
Al-Madinah Free School has failed to keep pupils safe, provide a good education and has discriminated against female staff, according to a letter sent to the school by Lord Nash.
The Schools Minister said that the school had "manifestly breached" its conditions, and can expect to be closed down if it does not make immediate changes.
A Muslim free school in Derby must take "swift action" to address concerns over the way it is run or face the prospect of closure, the Department for Education has said.
The Al-Madinah school re-opened on Monday after being temporarily closed amid reports that girls were forced to sit at the back of classrooms.
It was also claimed that female teachers at the school - which claims a "strong Muslim ethos" - were forced to wear hijabs even if they were not Muslim.
Inspectors from Ofsted have visited the school and are currently completing their report.