Muslim girls school kicks out Ofsted inspectors for wearing shoes in prayer room

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From Birmingham Live

A Birmingham school which charges pupils £4,000 a year in tuition has accused Ofsted of ‘serious failings’ after being rated as ‘inadequate’ – after it blocked inspectors during a visit.

According to the Ofsted report leaders at Cannon Hill Girls School, an independent Muslim day school for girls, were “unwilling to cooperate with inspectors,” adding that they “prevented inspectors from collecting the full range of evidence that was needed to inform the inspection”.

The school, which only opened in February 2018, caters for pupils aged 9-12, and charges £4,000 per year in tuition fees. At the time of the inspection, which took place from November 26-28, there were just 21 pupils at the school, though the facility has capacity for 100.

The report, which was published last week, praises the school for its provision in mathematics and English, but said that other subjects were not covered “in enough depth”. 

However its main criticisms were levelled at staff at the school for their behaviour during the inspection, with documents noting: “During the inspection, several key documents were withheld from inspectors by the leadership team. Inspection activities were not permitted to continue after the second on-site day of the inspection. On the third on site day, the principal obstructed the inspection. Leaders were unwilling to cooperate with inspectors. Judgements were made based on the evidence inspectors were able to secure.”

The school has hit back in its response, though, revealing that they have complained to Ofsted about the conduct of its inspectors during the visit. 

A statement from the school said: “Our decision not to engage with one inspector during the inspection was as a direct result of unacceptable inspection practices and a refusal to respect and observe our religious customs. One inspector walked into our prayer room with her shoes on, despite shoe covers being available. It is an established custom in our faith not to enter such areas with outdoor footwear. . . 

“We simply could not allow the dignity and respect owed to our staff, pupils and school to be eroded any further during the inspection . . . The current judgements do not reflect our school and we are comforted that our parents and the community share our growing concerns about Ofsted.

“We are all increasingly doubtful about being able to place any faith in inspection judgements.” 

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