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Nicky Morgan: Ofsted reports 'very concerning'

The Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan said the findings of the Ofsted report into seven schools in the Tower Hamlets district of east London were "very concerning", and that they expected improvements to be made "within weeks".

We asked Ofsted to carry out these independent school inspections and the findings are very concerning.

While there is no suggestion of a co-ordinated plot, it is clear that these schools are failing children and this is unacceptable. All schools must prepare children for life in modern Britain.

We will now be demanding urgent action plans from the independent schools and expect to see improvements within weeks. If changes are not made then we reserve the right to force the closures of the schools involved.

– Nicky Morgan

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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.

Ofsted: East London schools 'vulnerable to extremism'

Pupils at six private Muslim schools may be "vulnerable to extremist influences and radicalisation", Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw has warned as the watchdog published a series of highly-critical reports.

In an advice note to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Sir Michael said he was "extremely concerned" about the large number of failings in each of the six independent schools inspected in Tower Hamlets, east London.

In all of the schools, pupils' physical and educational welfare is "at serious risk", Sir Michael said as stressed the need to take urgent action to address the situation.

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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

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

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

Taskforce's proposals on how to tackle extremism

A taskforce set up by David Cameron in the wake of soldier Lee Rigby's killing has made several proposals on how to tackle extremism in the UK, among their suggestions are:

  • Giving more support to places facing the biggest integration challenges, especially those communities where extremism is a particular problem
  • Working with internet companies to restrict access to terrorist material online which is hosted overseas
  • Improving the process for the public to report extremist content online
  • Ensuring prisoners who have demonstrated extremist views in prison receive intervention and support on release
  • Make delivery of the Channel programme, which supports individuals at risk of being radicalised, a legal requirement in England and Wales
  • Considering if there is a case for new types of order to ban groups which seek to undermine democracy or use hate speech
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