The Home Counties primary school where less than 1%
of pupils speak English as their first language
- 99% of 630 pupils at Berkshire school class English as ‘additional language’
PUBLISHED: 15:50, 30 April 2012 | UPDATED: 16:45, 30 April 2012
A Muslim faith school has revealed that less than one per cent of its pupils class English as their main language.
Of the 630 youngsters at Iqra Slough Islamic Primary School in Berkshire, just ten are non-Muslim and more than 99 per cent class English as an ‘additional’ language.
The school had faced educational meltdown 18 months ago after a bad Ofsted report, but is not ‘making good progress’, as bosses have claimed that ‘faith has paid off’.
The school’s board of governors’ chairman, Zafar Ali, said he hoped their improving Ofsted results would see more parents of non-Muslim children put their names down to attend.
Iqra Slough Islamic Primary is thought to have one of the lowest proportion of English-speaking students in the country.
In Bradford, a similar picture is painted at Bradford Moor Community School, where less than one per cent of pupils speak English as their first language.
Across the same Yorkshire city, just 26 of 700 students at Byron Primary School in Bradford speak English as their first language.
The school faced educational meltdown 18 months ago after Ofsted gave it poor marks following an inspection.
In a bid to beat the ‘problem school’ label, it went into the ‘special measures’ category in 2010 and the local education authority tried to sack the entire board of governors and replace them with an Interim Executive Board.
But Education Secretary Michael Gove refused to let this happen and backed the governors once he had assessed the evidence.
Headteacher Gareth Thomas was recruited 18 months ago and some teachers were allowed to leave.
Ofsted inspectors visited the school on March 14th and sat in on 30 lessons involving 24 teachers.
In their new report they say ‘From children’s low starting point in reception they are now making good progress. The progress accelerates as they move through the school.’
However the report warned ‘The school is not outstanding as a result of some remaining inconsistencies in teaching and pupils’ attainment, particularly in reading and mathematics.’
The school, sponsored by the Loughborough Trust, emerged from special measures in March and is set to become an academy this year.
Mr Ali said ‘This is a wonderful report. We were confident we would prove to everybody that this is a good school with a sound future.
‘Perhaps we can now nail the myth that Muslim schools are subversive religious madrasas in disguise. We are a good school with superb teachers, and parents have put their faith in us.
‘Yes, we are a faith school, but there is no brain-washing, no militancy and no problems.’