School ‘fails over extremism fears’

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Published: Friday 21st November 2014 by The News Editor

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An “outstanding” Church of England school is to be put into special measures by the education watchdog over concerns about Islamic extremism.

Ofsted inspectors found Sir John Cass Foundation and Redcoat Church of England School in Tower Hamlets, London, failed to monitor the online activities of a sixth-form Islamic society, which included a Facebook page with links to radical preachers.

The state school, where 93% of its pupils are from ethnic minorities, is also criticised for allowing segregation between boys and girls in the playground.

The school ultimately failed the inspection for neglecting to safeguard its pupils and will be put in to special measures as a result.

The full inspection report, which was partly leaked to The Independent, will be published by Ofsted today alongside an advisory note to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan detailing the inspectors’ concerns.

Inspection reports into six other independent faith schools in Tower Hamlets, all reported to be linked to the Muslim faith, will also be published today.

It comes just months after investigations into so-called Trojan Horse allegations that schools in Birmingham were subject to a takeover plot by hardline Muslim groups.

Robert McCulloch-Graham, director of education at Tower Hamlets Council, did not address the report directly but said it would act quickly to address any issues.

He said: “What we can say is that where any issues in our maintained schools do occur, we have a strong record of intervening swiftly and successfully to address them.

“As is common practice, we will work with the leadership of this school to address any issues identified by Ofsted.

“We are working closely with Ofsted and the Department for Education after their recent inspections and we will, of course, act on the findings of the reports.”

Tony Mullee, chief executive of school trustee Sir John Cass’s Foundation, added: “We are greatly concerned by the report.

“We remain committed to addressing the safeguarding issues and will be assessing the necessary action to return the school to an outstanding rating.”

In 2008, Ofsted estimated 93% of the school’s intake was from ethnic minority groups, with two-thirds from Bangladeshi backgrounds. About 80% of students were classed as bilingual.

Headteacher Haydn Evans, who was made a CBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list, has previously been praised for transforming the school from one of the lowest-performing in the country to ‘outstanding’ in the last two Ofsted ratings.

He yesterday accepted an honorarydoctorate from the University of East London for his achievements in education.

Published: Friday 21st November 2014 by The News Editor

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