Since leaving this school I have wanted to bring attention to it as I know that the education there is insufficient and the management style is very poor.
However I did not know if I would be believed or listened to. In fact after I spoke out publicly about the school they released a statement contradicting my account where they implied that I had lied. Many of the girls who attended the school openly called me a liar, bitter and Islamophobic. I have always known that I did my best to give a clear insight into what happened at the school when I was there, and a few girls privately said that they agree with my account even if they do not share my views on secular education.
I first spoke out about the school at a Secular conference with the support of Maryam Namazie of The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. After this I wrote an article for the Times in November 2014 with the help of Janice Turner about the school in more detail.
The school was then inspected unannounced in April 2015 as a result of concerns being raised about it. The result of the inspection was that Jamia Al-Hudaa which was previously graded as ‘good’ is now seen to be ‘inadequate’. Please scroll to the bottom to find a summary of the inspection report which shows that the school failed in every possible way to demonstrate its ability to provide a good education and safe environment for its pupils.
There is still much to be done in regards to this school and all independent schools which have the power to immensely limit the curriculum taught. Although it is good that the school has been graded down, very little was said in regards to how restrictive the curriculum is with subjects such as music, art, history and geography not being taught. It is obvious that for too long the government has stood by and ignored the utterly appalling imposition of conservative religious ideologies on British school children.
What I find incredible is the shocking difference between this report and earlier reports where the school was graded ‘excellent’ and ‘good’. I believe that children who attend such schools deserve so much more from the government, and an apology would be a good place to start. The management at this school are not only incompetent, but at times were utterly cruel when I was a student there. We are yet to understand the full scale of successive government’s failures to monitor independent schools rigorously.
The department for education must ensure that pupils are protected from dogmatic ideologies, and have access to a broad curriculum. It is not acceptable that children can have their education limited and replaced with religious studies which can offer them very little in terms of qualifications or career opportunities.
Lastly, I am saddened that the report found that parents are so supportive of a school that not only fails to safeguard their children, but also massively stunts their ability to build careers.
Below are some links if you want more information about the school:
Faith schools in Britain: music is out, compulsory headscarves and CCTV cameras are in.
My Experience at an Islamic Boarding school in Britain
Below is a summary of the findings of the latest report.
Jamia Al-Hudaa Residential
Overall effectiveness Inadequate 4
Leadership and management Inadequate 4
Behaviour and safety of pupils Inadequate 4
Quality of teaching Requires improvement 3
Achievement of pupils Requires improvement 3
Early years provision Inadequate 4
Sixth form provision Inadequate 4
The overall experiences and progress of children and
young people Inadequate 4
Summary of key findings
This is an inadequate school
The school’s arrangements for safeguarding do
not meet requirements. Leaders do not carry out
all the necessary checks on staff, and referrals to
the designated officer are not always recorded.
Leaders are unclear of all their responsibilities and
are reliant on the knowledge and skills of a few
key staff. They do not have an accurate view of
the school’s strengths and weaknesses.
Leaders have not ensured that all policies are
applied in practice.
Leaders do not always implement the behaviour
policy effectively. Additional, disproportionate
sanctions are employed by staff.
Teachers do not use information about pupils’
starting points to provide the most able with
sufficiently challenging learning activities.
Pupils do not have sufficient access to books and
other resources in the library, to help inform their
understanding of different faiths or British history.
Members of the proprietorial body do not have
sufficient knowledge about the independent school
standards to effectively hold leaders to account.
Pupils have insufficient access to impartial careers
Pupils’ achievement varies over time. They
achieve comparatively less well in GCSE
Arrangements for monitoring the health and
welfare of boarders are insufficient. Ten minimum
standards for boarding schools are not met.
The school has the following strengths
Pupils’ behaviour is good and their attitudes to
learning are consistently positive.
Pupils have a strong moral code and show respect
for British values.
The teaching of Islamic Studies is good and pupils
achieve well in these subjects.
Teachers have a good understanding of learning
and development in the early years.
Compliance with regulatory requirements and national minimum standards for boarding
The school must take action to meet the schedule to The Education (Independent School Standards)
Regulations 2014 and associated requirements. The details are listed in the full report.
Inspection report: Jamia Al-Hudaa Residential College, 27–29 April 2015 2 of 14
The school does not meet the national minimum standards for boarding schools.