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Muslim school accuses Ofsted of racism after 'acts of devil' leaflets row

Published 17/06/2016

Ofsted's latest report said a number of serious pupil safeguarding concerns were identified during the unannounced inspection on May 12.
Ofsted's latest report said a number of serious pupil safeguarding concerns were identified during the unannounced inspection on May 12.

A Muslim faith school has accused Ofsted of racist conduct after the watchdog expressed concern at the discovery of leaflets branding music and dancing as "acts of devil".

The Darul Uloom Islamic High School said the leaflets - described by Ofsted as evidence of safeguarding weakness - were not found on its premises but at the rear door of an adjacent mosque.

The independent school in Small Heath, Birmingham, has alleged that an Ofsted inspector angrily refused to take off their shoes during a recent inspection, and was "extremely belligerent" throughout the visit.

Ofsted said a large number of copies of the leaflet were found in May in areas shared by the mosque and school and used by pupils.

Darul Uloom was subjected to a full Ofsted inspection last October when its overall effectiveness was rated as inadequate. It then drew up an improvement action plan which was evaluated by inspectors in February.

The latest Ofsted report, published this week, said: "Leaders and staff have had training in preventing extremism and radicalisation, and been given the latest Government safeguarding guidance.

"However, the impact of this work has not rectified safeguarding weaknesses.

"A large number of copies of a leaflet containing highly concerning and extremist views, such as 'Music, dancing and singing are acts of devil and prohibited', were discovered during the inspection.

"The leaflets were found in areas shared by the school and adjoining mosque which are used by leaders and in areas used by the pupils from the school."

Inspectors were also critical of Darul Uloom - which caters for boys aged 11 to 16 - for failing to provide pupil progress information.

In a statement issued after Ofsted's latest findings were published, the school, which has a music curriculum, said the leaflets had no association with the mosque or the school and had been "dumped" by a member of the public.

The school statement added: "These leaflets were not on the display board or anywhere near the display board.

"They were clearly dumped by a member of the public, ironically next to the sign where it is clearly signposted 'Strictly no posters or leaflets'.

"Furthermore in regards to the inspection in question, the conduct of the Ofsted inspectors during this inspection were unacceptable and racist."

As well as claiming that an Ofsted official refused to take off their shoes when visiting the mosque, the school alleges that its equality statement was dismissed as being "just a piece of paper".

A Department for Education spokesman said: "These leaflets should have no place in any school - and we will not hesitate to take strong action when schools focus on ideological indoctrination rather than a high-quality education.

"We are urgently investigating the concerning allegations about this school and as part of this we commissioned Ofsted to do an unannounced inspection.

"Extremism has no place in our society and when we find schools promoting twisted ideologies we will not hesitate to take action, including closing the school or working with the police if necessary."

An Ofsted spokesperson said in response to the school's allegations: "We do not confirm or comment on individual complaints received.

"However, Ofsted takes complaints very seriously, investigates them thoroughly and deals with them as quickly as possible."

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