UK: Gove asks Muslim schools to sign code of conduct barring extremism

A private Islamic girls’ school in the UK

Private Islamic schools are expected to come under a new form of voluntary regulation amid fears of extremism in the British education system.

Michael Gove, the education secretary, is due to announce a system in which madrasas will be asked to sign up to a code of conduct.

A Whitehall official said: “The code will make sure that all teachers are CRB [Criminal Records Bureau] checked, and that no corporal punishment is dealt out.”

The schools will also have to agree to a syllabus that prevents fundamentalist teaching.

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The official added: “The incentive for the supplementary schools is that the DfE [Department for Education] will consider publishing their names on its website to give them a bit of prestige and differentiate them from the unregistered schools.”

The new measures build on a government report, issued in December, regarding tackling extremism in the UK. The report states that: “All schools in England [. . .] must expect that they will be inspected and assessed on their measures to protect their pupils from extremist material.”

As madrasas operate outside mainstream education, they are not inspected by Ofsted or any other school watchdog and are currently unregulated by the government.

Mr Gove’s announcement is due to arrive as investigations continue into allegations that Muslim fundamentalists attempted to take over 21 state schools in Birmingham. The investigations began after a document was found containing details of an alleged plot to destabilise head teachers and impose Islamic beliefs in their schools.

Park View, one of the schools involved in the so-called Trojan Horse controversy, has been further caught up in the scandal after it was alleged that the school nurse was instructed not to offer sexual health advice to students.

The school has issued a lengthy reply refuting the allegations. However, The Sunday Times obtained a copy of a poster allegedly displayed in the school, in which the words “sexual health” have been scribbled out of a list of issues the nurse can deal with.

After the publication of the inspection reports, it is expected that six of the 21 schools will be placed into special measures that could include the removal of the head teachers and governors.

The schools could be placed under the control of some of the 15 head teachers in charge of outstanding academies in Birmingham. Liam Nolan, chief executive of Perry Beeches Academy Trust, which runs three of Birmingham’s academies, could be one of the heads considered.