Police Could Be Sent Into Failing Muslim School

Another Muslim school in the spotlight for improper conduct.

Al-Hijrah SchoolThe school was placed in special measures last year

A council has said it will send police into a failing school if staff “refuse” to allow it to replace its governors.

Al-Hijrah School, in Bordesley Green, was placed in special measures by Ofsted last year after inspectors found evidence of inconsistent teaching and poor governance.

Birmingham City Council said it tried to replace the school’s governors on Thursday but staff had not cooperated.

The council said it would call on support from police “if it had to”.

But the chairman of governors said he will ask police to prevent a takeover.

Waseem Yaqub said the school would take all legal means necessary to stop the new board moving in.

He said a group of eight officials from the Interim Executive Board, as well as officers from the council turned up unannounced at the start of the school day on Thursday.

The school said that because the head teacher was not there, the chairman of governors not in the country and the official letter giving notice of the dismissal of the board of governors and its replacement had not been sent, they were right to refuse them entry.

‘Serious problems’

Mr Yaqub accused the authorities of perpetrating an anti-Muslim witch-hunt, and said he believed it was linked to the separate investigations into allegations of Islamification in a number of other schools in Birmingham

The council confirmed the Islamic school is not one of 25 being investigated as part of the Trojan Horse allegations – an alleged plot by Muslim hard-liners to seize control of governing bodies in Birmingham.

Peter Hay, the city council’s director for education, said the school had “serious problems in its governance” and Ofsted had visited it five times in the past year.

“There is a significant financial deficit – £400,000 and rising – and concerns about the level of support for improving education,” he said.

He added a quarter of the school’s parents did not like the standard of education, while one in five did not believe their child was safe.

“The local authority successfully applied to remove the governors and replace them with an interim executive board. We tried to put that board in place last week but the school refused,” he said.

But Mr Yaqub claimed that £250,000 of the school’s shortfall of £400,000 was largely the fault of the council, which he said failed to secure proper planning permission for temporary classrooms at Al-Hijrah.

The authority said it plans to return to the school on 2 June.

“It’s important the head teacher and the school cooperate with that interim board so we can quickly get to grips with the issues and secure the education of those children,” Mr Hay added.

“What happened last week was regrettable, but we have the right legally to do what we are doing.”

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