Children at an Islamic primary school in Birmingham could be at risk of radicalisation, school inspection group Ofsted has warned.Government inspectors criticised the management at the independent Birmingham Muslim School (BMS), warning of extremism concerns.
The Birmingham Mail reports inspectors carried out an unannounced visit in January at the school that educates 95 boys and girls aged four to eleven.
The report speaks of a “weak culture of safeguarding”, including staff seemingly unaware of “the risks of pupils being radicalised”.
The school had not met “all of the independent school standards that were checked during this inspection”, it adds.
“Consequently, there is the potential for pupils to be exposed to extremist views through contact with older pupils or adults out of school, such as when on school trips.”
Although the school was good in terms of teaching children reading and writing, and students enjoyed lessons, inspectors said not a single concern about a child being radicalised had ever been logged in the school’s 16-year history – a scenario they describe as “inconceivable”.
“Staff have an inconsistent understanding of who to speak to if they have concerns. They show little awareness of the signs of possible abuse, neglect or radicalisation,” the report adds.
It evens says that children at the school are at risk of going missing from education, making them vulnerable to “trafficking, exploitation and abuse”.
Headteacher Janet Laws, also known as Aisha Abdrabba, is married to Ghoma Abdrabba, who appeared on a U.S. Treasury list for allegedly funding the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an organisation accused of working with Al Qaeda.
Mr Abdrabba and two other men subsequently appeared on a UN sanctions list and had their assets frozen. They strongly denied any connection with terrorism and their names were later removed from the list.
Ofsted also said: “The relationship between governors, charity trustees, the headteacher and the directors of the company called ‘The Albayan Educational Foundation Ltd’ is very opaque. It is not clear who the proprietor is and, thus, who is accountable for the work of the school.”
Finally, the report claimed the school was not fully preparing children for the British way of life.
“They learn about other religions. However, they are not taught enough about different backgrounds and ways of life to fully prepare them to encounter the diversity of modern British society.”