An Islamic girls’ school has accused Ofsted of “draconian” practices, after it was rated inadequate by inspectors who found an inflammatory leaflet in its library.
Inspectors gave the lowest available rating to Birchfield Independent Girls’ School in Aston, Birmingham, after discovering the leaflet giving details of a meeting held in London in 1994 to promote “total rulership of Muslims over the world”.
An Ofsted report, stemming from a three-day inspection in November last year, said the leaflet claiming “the sons and daughters of Islam are under continuous attack by the forces of non-Islam” meant pupils at the school were not safe.
The report noted: “Leaders have not made sure that pupils are protected from inflammatory and unsuitable literature.
“Therefore, pupils are not safe from potential radicalisation.
“School leaders could not say how the leaflet that was found got into the library, nor why it was openly displayed on a library shelf. Leaders could not say why staff had not spotted and removed the leaflet.”
The report said pupils at the school were taught to accept everyone, whoever they are, and that the broad curriculum was delivered in fun and interesting ways, providing a good quality of education.
But Ofsted said the leaflet found at the site meant all the independent school standards had not been met.
In a statement confirming that the report was being challenged, and referring media inquiries to a law firm, the school said: “We are deeply disappointed with the judgments.
“They in no way reflect the paramount importance that we place on safeguarding, nor the evidence base collected by inspectors.
“The leaflet identified has no place in our teachings, curriculum or ethos. We work hard to promote fundamental British values and the rule of law at our school.
“Our pupils are well equipped to combat radicalisation and inspectors were able to verify this as part of the inspection process.
“Sadly, we are not the only faith-based independent school to fall victim to Ofsted’s draconian and inconsistent inspection practices.
“It is simply unacceptable for Ofsted to undermine all of the hard work put in by staff and pupils when coming to wholly inaccurate judgments of schools.”