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Trustees quit at Muslim free school

Trustees running a "dysfunctional" Muslim free school have agreed to resign from their posts to make way for a new management team, the Department for Education has confirmed.

Schools Minister Lord Nash said the needs of pupils at the Al-Madinah School in Derby would be best served by bringing in a more experienced trust with the "skills and capability" required to deliver improvements.

In a letter to the school's chair of governors, Shazia Parveen, Lord Nash said he had asked the chief executive of a trust which already runs 22 other academies to start work with Al-Madinah.

The minister informed Ms Parveen: "I have asked Barry Day, chief executive of the Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust, to start work with you.

"I am not satisfied that you have demonstrated a strong basis for the transformation required at the school.

"I cannot tolerate any child experiencing a poor quality of education in any state-­funded school and am therefore determined to ensure there is a swift resolution.

"You and your fellow trustees have agreed to resign in due course."

Lord Nash, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, added that Mr Day was keen to meet Al-Madinah's trustees, governors, staff, pupils, parents and the wider community to secure the future of the school and discuss the way ahead.

The Greenwood Dale trust has already demonstrated its ability to transform struggling schools, said Lord Nash, who pledged support to ensure a smooth transition to the new management team.

In his letter to Ms Parveen, the minister stressed that Greenwood Dale had a proven track record of providing a high-quality education to children from a Muslim background.

In a statement, the Department for Education said the plan to improve Al-Madinah underlined the Government's commitment and ability to take "swift and decisive" action against under-performing schools.

Al-Madinah, one of the Government's flagship free schools, opened last September.

On its website it is billed as having a strong Muslim ethos with shorter holidays and longer school days to maximise opportunities for pupil achievement and success.

Last month the school was condemned by Ofsted inspectors, who said its governing body was ineffective and had failed to appreciate how poor pupils' experiences are.

In a statement issued by the Al-Madinah School Education Trust, Ms Parveen said: "The trust will ensure that the transition is smooth and the ethos of the faith-designated school remains secure.

"We acknowledge the positive input to allow our children to progress and have an academic success and a positive future."


From Belfast Telegraph