Derby's Al-Madinah Muslim free school reopens

Al-Madinah School The Muslim Al-Madinah free school opened in September 2012

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A Muslim free school in Derby has reopened almost a week after it was closed during an Ofsted inspection.

The Al-Madinah School shut last Tuesday, citing "health and safety concerns", after one day of inspections.

Sources said the school had been rated inadequate in all areas by Ofsted, but a final report has not yet been filed.

The school has insisted it was closed on undisclosed health and safety grounds and not due to the inspection.

Sources said Ofsted found incomplete records of child protection checks being done for all staff.

'Girls at back'

There have been reports that female teachers at the school were forced to wear hijabs even if they were not Muslim.

It was also claimed girls were made to sit at the back of the classroom and boys at the front.

Free schools - which can be opened by anyone - are state funded but not overseen by the local authority.

Free Schools

  • State funded
  • Funded on a per-pupil basis
  • Answerable to Department of Education
  • 174 in England
  • Can be set up by anyone, once a business plan and demand is demonstrated

National Union of Teachers (NUT) spokesman Nick Raine said: "It is a publicly-funded school - if there are health and safety concerns that were serious enough to close the school then what were they and have they been an issue for some time? "

Over the weekend Labour politicians asked Education Secretary Michael Gove to clarify matters urgently "to reassure the public".

The Department for Education said it was already investigating allegations against the school.

'Rumours circulating'

Several parents with children at the school told BBC News that they were happy with the school.

"I would rather it close and they sort it out and now she can back to school and the health and safety is going to be fine," one mother said.

The Al-Madinah school, which opened in September 2012, claimed to be the first free school in England with a Muslim ethos, catering for all reception, primary and secondary pupils.

But concerns over the application of strict Islamic practices led to a scheduled full inspection being brought forward.

A statement on the school website said: "Unsurprisingly, there has been a number of rumours circulating.

"While unfortunate, my decision to close the school related to a short-term health and safety issue that has now been completely resolved and will not reoccur."

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