Bradford has been named as having the second worst performing secondary schools in the country, according to Ofsted judgements. Figures published by the school’s inspector suggest 71 per cent of secondary school students in Bradford are attending schools deemed “not good enough” by the Government. While only five per cent in Bradford were officially labelled as “inadequate” by Ofsted, a massive 66 per cent attend schools which only reach “satisfactory”. In his first annual report published yesterday, Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said he was “worried” about the number of pupils across the country attending schools “judged to be no better than satisfactory”.
The regional director for Ofsted, Mike Cladingbowl, told the Telegraph & Argus that children were not getting the education they deserved. He said it was not simply down to children’s backgrounds but the quality of school leadership was the biggest factor. Education chiefs and leaders in the district have warned that while more needs to be done, the report fails to show the improvement made in Bradford in recent years. Bradford West MP George Galloway said: “Good and outstanding are the very least we should expect – we want every school in the city to be at least a good standard and these results are completely and utterly shaming of consecutive councils and in particular the Labour one. “Since the first day I arrived in Bradford it has been a campaigning issue, determined to get the standards of schools in this city raised, to get every single one at least at the good standard. “It’s absolutely unacceptable that the majority of schools in this city are failing pupils and parents.”
The best solution of this problem is that those state schools where Muslim pupils are in majority should be designated as Muslim community schools under the management and control of Muslim educational Trusts. Newly arrived Muslim children can be educated in Muslim schools with Muslim teachers. They are not going to swamp state schools and they will not suffer from bullying and racism. They will feel at home with teachers speaking the same languages. This is a humane approach to the education of newly arrived children otherwise they will suffer educationally and emotionally like their predecessors. I hope Policy makers will look for alternatives to educate children of asylum seekers so that they could be easily accommodated and adjusted in the British society as equals.
Truth is always bitter. You must learn to listen to those who are culturally, linguistically and spiritually different. Education is should be more than providing pupils with the skills they need to get a job or enter university: we should not forget that we have a duty to pass on a body of knowledge through generations
British schools are not doing enough to tackle racism and promote race relations. Many teachers are unaware of racist attitudes amongst pupils. Schools have a responsibility not only to deal with racist incidents but also to prepare pupils for life in a multicultural and multiracial society.
Children from minority groups, especially the Muslims, are exposed to the pressure of racism, multiculturalism and bullying. They suffer academically, culturally and linguistically: a high proportion of children of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin are leaving British schools with low grades or no qualification.
In the 80s, the Muslim community in Britain started to set up Muslim schools. The first was the London School of Islamics which I established and which operating from 1981-86. Now there are 180 and only 12 are state funded.
The needs and demands of Muslim children can be met only through Muslim schools, but education is an expensive business and the Muslim community does not have the resources to set up schools for each and every child, and only eight Muslim schools have achieved grant maintained status.
This leaves a majority of children from Muslim families with no choice but to attend state schools. There are hundreds of state schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be opted out as Muslim Academies with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models.
Prince Charles, while visiting the first grant maintained Muslim school in north London, said that the pupils would be the future ambassadors of Islam. But what about thousands of others, who attend state schools deemed to be "sink schools"?
The time has come for the Muslim community - in the form of Islamic charities and trusts - to manage and run those state schools where Muslim pupils are in the majority. The Department for Education would be responsible for funding, inspection and maintenance.
The management would be in the hands of educated professional Muslims. The teaching of Arabic, Islamic studies, Urdu and other community languages by qualified Muslim teachers would help the pupils to develop an Islamic identity, which is crucial for mental, emotional and personality development.
In the east London borough of Newham, there are at least 10 state schools where Muslim pupils are in the majority.
The television newscaster Sir Trevor McDonald is a champion of introducing foreign modern languages even at primary level in schools in Britain. The Muslim community would like to see Arabic, Urdu and other community languages introduced at nursery, primary and secondary schools along with European languages so that Muslim pupils have these options.
In education, there should be a choice and at present it is denied to the Muslim community. In the late 80s and early 90s, when I floated the idea of Muslim community schools, I was declared a "school hijacker" by an editorial in the Newham Recorder newspaper in east London.