Parents have expressed concern at plans for an Islamic group to take over a secular school where less than two per cent of students are Muslim.
The Tauheedul Education Trust (TET) is due to take over Highfield Humanities College in Blackpool, which is currently in “special measures”.
The school was deemed “inadequate” by inspectors last year and has failed to improve since, leading the government’s regional schools commissioner to “railroad” in the takeover by the trust.
The TET currently runs 10 Muslim schools across Britain, but Highfield’s students are 95 per cent white British.
TET insists the school will retain its non-faith character, but a petition calling for the decision to be postponed has now reached more than 1,000 signatures. One parent told the Sunday Times: “Five governors made the decision in half an hour without any prior consultation with parents. How can you decide the future of a school at a half-hour meeting?”
Another added: “It is shocking. TET sponsors Islamic-faith schools and Highfield is… in a town where less than 1 per cent of the population is Muslim.”
Writing on the petition itself, Esther Paiva wrote: “I think it is awful parents have not been consulted on this. Seems they have already made their minds up whether the parents like it or not.”
Last month, Breitbart London revealed the government was sending the trust a multi-million pound grant despite previous allegations of fundamentalist beliefs at some of its schools.
One of its schools was condemned two years ago after it was revealed that girls were required to wear Islamic headdress even outside of the classroom, and asked students not to bring stationery to school that contained “un-Islamic” images, such as pop stars.
The Tauheedul Islamic Girls’ High School in Blackburn, Lancashire has since dropped the requirement.
In April 2013, pupils were punished after appearing in a “Harlem Shake” YouTube video. The Lancashire Telegraph reported: “A dozen 12 and 13-year-old Tauheedul Islam Girls High School students were viewed 12,000 times hip-thrusting and jumping on toilet seats during the five days it was online.”
Governor Coun Khonat told the press: “This could not have come at a worse time. The school is of a strict Muslim faith and Mr Patel is very disappointed in the girls. He is determined to get to the bottom of what has gone on. I think the girls have let themselves down. It’s saddening but we are dealing with children here. The girls work very hard and there has never been an incident like this at the school before. Hopefully everything will get back on track.”
Another of its schools, Oliver Primary, was secretly filmed for a Channel 4 documentary that revealed teachers calling music and clapping “Satanic”.
The school trust has also hosted lectures by preacher Mufti Ismail Menk, who is banned from six universities for peaching that gay people are “worse than animals”.
The schools received a clean bill of health in subsequent reports.
TET said: “TET is one of the most successful multi-academy trusts in the country… We have a long history of working with non-faith schools to support real, long-lasting improvements.
“We are committed to bringing this expertise and experience to Highfield.”