Muslim female governor ‘chose to sit apart from men’

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The female governor at a private Muslim school in Birmingham – at the centre of criticism from Ofsted – chose to sit separately from men, says the school.

Inspectors criticised Darul Uloom school when they saw a “female governor sat out of sight of the male governors in an adjacent room”. 

They highlighted particular concern about Darul Uloom Islamic High School in Birmingham, where inspectors observed that “the only female governor sat out of sight of the male governors in an adjacent room to the main meeting. As a result, she could only contribute to the meeting through a doorway. Governors told inspectors this was their usual arrangement. A senior HMI has pointed out to the school that this practice is unacceptable as it fails to show proper respect for women.”

In response, a statement from the school says that visitors, parents and governors can “sit where and how they wish as they feel comfortable, and we never assert any restrictions on this”.

The school issued a statement from the unnamed governor saying that “my request to sit as I please” was a way of “demonstrating the school’s strong promotion of both Islamic and British values”. “The right for a person to choose is a universal value,” she said. But she claimed that the “British values” requirement was opposed to this.

Darul Uloom, now rated as inadequate, had been inspected by Ofsted inspectors since 2011.

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