Express & Star

Once-criticised Abu Bakr School ‘doing better' in latest report

An independent Islamic school criticised after sectarian documents were discovered is now ‘meeting standards’ according to the same watchdog.

Abu Bakr School in Kent Street, Walsall, which has been inspected by Ofsted

Ofsted criticised Abu Bakr in Walsall last year after the material which express ‘partisan political views’ was found in a store room and declared the school did not do enough to promote British values.

But now a year on they have noted improvements at the £1,700-a-year secondary on Kent Street, which has more than 200 pupils.

Their latest report made direct reference to the concerning discovery in 2016.

It said: “This inspection found no evidence of inappropriate material in school.

“In response to the findings of the previous inspection, when inspectors found sectarian literature in a storeroom, school leaders have stopped taking in donated material.

“Leaders have also insisted that any new material that is purchased for use in school or is brought in by members of staff has to be seen and approved by the headteacher.

“In taking more control of reading material coming into school, leaders are confident that the books and literature available to pupils are appropriate. That said, this increased vigilance has led to the school putting its plans to develop an in-school library on hold.

“This is because, in the past, the school had relied heavily on donated material,” it added.

Inspectors also stated that there was some ‘very worthwhile’ work around raising awareness about the damage caused by forced marriages, female genital mutilation as well as other ‘codes of honour’ that are not acceptable in British Society.

In the area of welfare Ofsted confirmed the school had addressed another previous failing around its safeguarding policy which had missing documents such as advice for staff if they had concern with the headteacher.

The quality of education has also been improved following revisions to the curriculum, particularly to encourage pupils to respect one another.

The report said: “Pupils are taught to respect other people and show an informed understanding of the importance of fairness and equality of opportunity.”

Ofsted concluded that Abu Bakr was meeting standards in all eight key areas of inspection.