Saturday, April 30, 2016

Muslim Schools in Britain Segregating Teachers and School Staff by Gender

Welcome to the year 2016 in jolly old England!

The story comes from Times of India.

Staff segregated by gender at some UK Muslim schools

LONDON: Teachers and other staff at some independent Islamic faith schools in the UK are facing gender-based segregation, prompting the country's schools watchdog to write to the education ministry.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of Ofsted, said his inspectors found one independent religious school using dividing screens across the room to segregate men and women.

"I am writing again to report that Her Majesty's Inspectors (HMI) continue to find that staff are being segregated because of their gender in Muslim independent schools," Wilshaw writes in his letter sent on Wednesday to UK education secretary Nicky Morgan.

It adds that officials who inspected Rabia Girls' and Boys' School in Luton, east England, expressed their concern after the school insisted on "segregating men and women through the use of a dividing screen across the middle of the room" at the initial meeting.

"This meeting was not carried out in a religious setting but in a classroom. HMI also gathered evidence that male and female staff are segregated during whole school staff training sessions.

"Male staff sit in one room and the session is simultaneously broadcast to female staff in another part of the school," the letter adds.

The inspection was carried out earlier this month following the department for education's (DfE) request for Ofsted to carry out an emergency follow-up inspection of the school already assessed as "inadequate".

Ofsted was so concerned about the behaviour in the school that they told the owner that the "school would remain in the inadequate category despite improvements being made elsewhere".

"HMI will remain vigilant in ensuring that such behaviour, which clearly flouts the requirement to promote British values, is identified and reported. Any form of segregation, without a good educational reason, is likely to lead to an inadequate inspection judgement for leadership and management," Wilshaw said.

The private school was set up in 1996 to provide an Islamic education for young Muslims in Luton.

"It is completely unacceptable for women to be treated less favourably than men, and the advice note we have received from Ofsted on Rabia Girls' and Boys' School is concerning.

"We have referred this case to the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) so they can consider whether the school has breached the Equalities Act, and we will consider carefully the inspection report on the school to determine what action to take against any potential breaches in the independent school standards," said a DfE spokesperson.

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