Parents resist Muslim group’s takeover of largely white school

The Sunday Times is reporting that some white parents are threatening a boycott of their local school when it is taken over by the biggest sponsor of Muslim academies in the country.

The paper reports that Tauheedul Education Trust (TET), which already runs 10 Muslim schools across the country, is taking over Highfield Humanities College in Blackpool, Lancashire.

Highfield is currently in special measures but the report says many parents have expressed concern about the appointment of a sponsor that runs Islamic faith schools at a secondary where less than 2% of pupils are Muslim. They are apparently suggesting the school’s governors were “railroaded” by the government’s regional schools commissioner into accepting the takeover in a process that has been “shrouded in secrecy”.

The paper notes that TET, which describes itself as a “a mixed multi-academy trust”, runs the strongly performing Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School in Lancashire but that this was involved in controversy over a requirement, now dropped, that students were required to wear an Islamic headdress both in and out of class. Further controversy also arose in a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary.

TET has given assurances that the school will retain its non-faith character, but, the Sunday Times suggests, many parents are worried. 

Tracey Johnson, whose 13-year-old daughter goes to the school, is quoted:

“Five governors made the decision in half an hour without any prior consultation with parents. How can you decide the future of a school at a half-hour meeting?” 

Spencer Shackleton, whose 15-year-old son attends Highfield, said:

“It is shocking. TET sponsors Islamic-faith schools and Highfield is . . . in a town where less than 1% of the population is Muslim.”

However, some parents support the takeover as a way of improving the school.

Louise Graham, the parent of a 12-year-old pupil, is quoted:

“The school needs change and needs to be taken forward and I think TET is the right organisation to do this.”

More at: Parents resist Muslim group’s takeover of largely white school (subscription may be required)


Apparently all TET schools that have been inspected are rated “outstanding” so is there any reason an organisation that has previously specialised in Muslim schools shouldn’t be suitably qualified to takeover a non-Muslim school?

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  1. Nor_edu

    SchoolsImprove interesting issue, nothing explicit about them *only* working with religious schools is there? Impressive track record

  2. Tauheedul grew from an Outstanding Muslim Voluntary Aided Girls’ School. The trust has expanded rapidly and has opened nine single sex Muslim faith free schools since 2013. Three of these have been inspected – all judged Outstanding. 
    Tauheedul was named as one of the five ‘outstanding’ academy sponsors receiving part of the Northern Sponsor £10m fund to set up seven ‘high-performing academy hubs’.
    It’s unclear how an organisation which has only run single-sex faith schools could run a non-faith, co-educational school.
    According to Edubase, the school is to be closed on 29 February 2016 – seems the decision’s already been made.

  3. Monitoring (July 2015) of Highfield Humanities College says the schools was making reasonable progress to removal of special measures to the extent it can employ NQTs in certain subjects.  Inspectors noted the ‘Appropriate external support is provided by the local authority’.
    This raises the question why the school needs to become a sponsored academy when it’s improving without doing so.

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