Ofsted concerns after 'dangerous' Solihull school closed on inspection day - and local media accused of Islamophobia - The Solihull Observer

Ofsted concerns after 'dangerous' Solihull school closed on inspection day - and local media accused of Islamophobia

Solihull Editorial 19th Dec, 2019 Updated: 19th Dec, 2019   0

AN INDEPENDENT faith school in Solihull which was repeatedly warned by Ofsted over its failings closed its doors on the day of a recent inspection.

Al-Furqan Community College, which has 14 children aged between 11 and 18 on its roll, was set for a visit from inspectors on November 19.

But the principal said he had to shut the school due to broken heating, before inspectors arrived.

The Department for Education asked Ofsted to carry out an inspection of Al-Furqan, set in a listed cottage in Warwick Road, after the college applied to make a ‘material change’ to its registration – to change from single-sex to co-educational by admitting boys as well as girls.

When the Solihull Observer invited the school to respond to the concerns in the Ofsted report, the school’s principal Amjad Ahmed accused local media in a written statement of ‘Islamophobia’.

According to an Ofsted report there were no lessons taking place or pupils’ books available when they visited the Warwick Road school.

The report noted there is a safeguarding policy in place at the school and this is available upon request to parents.

However it states: “Leaders do not ensure that pupils are safe in school.

“The site is dangerous in places. In one classroom on the first floor, the windows open fully onto a flat roof that does not have a barrier.

“Pupils could climb out of the windows and fall off the roof.”

It added: “The science room, in the main building, contains the main electricity boxes which are accessible and not closed in.

“This results in an unidentified hazard to pupils and staff.”

On the matter of changing from a single-sex to co-educational school, inspectors said: “There are appropriate toilet facilities for boys and girls and there is a separate shower room.

“Although there are no changing facilities on site, leaders have arranged for pupils to come to school in their PE kit on the day that they have PE.”

Inspectors also criticised Mr Ahmed’s curriculum. Ofsted said: “[The curriculum] is basic, and does not consider pupils’ needs, including the needs of those with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

“A small number of pupils have education, health and care (EHC) plans. Leaders have considered the subjects that these pupils will study, but they have not ensured that the schemes of work for each subject have been adapted appropriately.”

The school’s last report by the Independent School’s Inspectorate also found it had ‘deficiencies’, including lack of PE, personal education was not age appropriate, and most parents were dissatisfied with the college’s careers advice.

They found sports provision amounted to weekly slot of table tennis, and younger pupils had a basketball net.

According to Ofsted, fees at Al-Furqan are set between £2,000 to £6,900 per year.

Responding, Mr Ahmed told the Solihull Observer in writing: “The Ofsted report makes it clear that the school was closed due to heating failure, however those who have some kind of an ‘agenda’ against faith schools take this fact out of context and sensationalise this as a headline.

“It is worth reading the [Ofsted] report within the school context.

“We have been winding down for the last two years. This means that we are not taking new intake into year 7 and 8. Currently we have 12 students who we intend to take through their GCSEs and as a consequence only a fraction of the site is currently being used which is fit for purpose.

“Our students are being prepared for their GCSEs which will give them the English Baccalaureate introduced by the Government to ensure that the students study a broad range of subjects.

“We take safeguarding of our students very seriously. Adequate risk assessments are in place for the areas that are currently used. Registers are maintained for those students on roll.

“DfE are aware of this fact we are winding down. We do not understand the purpose of this story being highlighted by the National Secular Society and the local media other than unfortunately it being another example of Islamophobia which is on the rise in our society, thus creating divisions within peace loving community of Solihull.”


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