An Islamic school in Luton has been reported to Britain’s Education Secretary and the equalities watchdog, after teachers insisted on segregating themselves from the opposite sex behind a screen, even as an inspection took place.
Ofsted, the government inspector, has previously found that the hard line Deobandi school has hosted ‘scholars’ who encouraged jihad after 9/11 and who have supported terrorist insurgents in Pakistan.
In a letter to education secretary Nicky Morgan, published yesterday, chief inspector Sir. Michael Wilshaw said Ofsted: “Continues to find that staff are being segregated because of their gender in Muslim independent schools”.
Last November, Rabia Girls’ and Boys’ School in Luton, was identified as one of 15 unregistered religious schools where children were taught in “squalid” conditions when gender segregation was enforced, and only a “narrow curriculum” made available.
Mr. Wilshaw wrote to the Education Secretary, urging her to do more to counter the problem, and said Ofsted would continued to monitor the 15 schools.
Rabia was found to have made some improvements, but the teachers behaviour was said to be “so concerning” that the school remained inadequate.
Mr. Wilshaw explained: “At the initial meeting with inspectors, the school insisted on segregating men and women through the use of a dividing screen across the middle of the room.
“This meeting was not carried out in a religious setting but in a classroom. HMI also gathered evidence that male and female staff are segregated during whole-school staff training sessions. Male staff sit in one room and the session is simultaneously broadcast to female staff in another part of the school.”
He added: “This sort of behaviour manifested by the leaders of this school clearly does not conform to the spirit of the equalities legislation which underpins the spiritual, moral, social and cultural standard.
“Despite the changes introduced in 2014 by the DfE to strengthen the independent school standards in relation to fundamental British values, it is clear that these are not being followed by some independent schools.
“Indeed, it is my view that these revised standards are being actively undermined by some leaders, governors and proprietors. HMI will remain vigilant in ensuring that such behaviour, which clearly flouts the requirement to promote British values, is identified and reported.
“Any form of segregation, without a good educational reason, is likely to lead to an inadequate inspection judgement for leadership and management.
Ofsted has previously found that the Rabia School has failed to vet speakers sufficiently, the Times reports.
Maulana Taqi Usmani, who attended a graduation ceremony at the school, issued a fatwa after the September 11 attacks saying that jihad was obligatory against forces invading Afghanistan.