Islamic extremism concerns at Tower Hamlets school
- 30 June 2014
- From the section London
An east London primary school is at the centre of concerns over Islamic extremism, it has been revealed.
A Freedom of Information (FoI) request by BBC London shows Tower Hamlets Council holds information concerning the possible Islamification of Kobi Nazrul Primary School in Whitechapel.
It follows the so-called Trojan Horse plot in Birmingham, in which some schools were the target of an alleged Islamic takeover plan.
Kobi Nazrul school is yet to comment.
The FoI request demanded details of alleged attempts to infiltrate any school by Islamic extremists in the borough, subvert the school's teaching, or oversee the increasing Islamification of lessons.
Tower Hamlets confirmed it was in possession of relevant information, but refused to hand it over, claiming data protection rules may be breached by doing so.
In a statement, it said: "The council has received some information about a single school in the borough.
"The council does not propose to identify the school or produce the document it holds."
However the BBC understands the information held by the council relates to Kobi Nazrul school.
BBC London has also learned one of the governors, Mohammed Abdul Kuddus, is a member of the radical Islamist group Hitzb-ut-Tahir.
Successive prime ministers have considered banning the group, which has in the past infiltrated and recruited at universities.
It remains under "constant review" by the Home Office.
Mr Abdul Kuddus declined to comment.
Rushanara Ali, Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, said: "Alarm bells had been raised by the local education authority six months ago - there has been a government failure to step in.
"Now it seems there is another dimension which is very concerning for parents.
"This is bound to increase anxiety about safeguarding and standards."
The school was already the subject of concern after a drop in standards.
An emergency Ofsted inspection was carried out after the school recorded the worst SATs results ever in the borough.
In 2012, 82% of children achieved the required results in maths and English.
The following summer that figure was down to 40%.
Four governors at the school resigned.
One of them, Suroth Miah, said: "The focus for us is the learning, development, teaching standards and the management.
"The results of the last 18 months have not been good enough.
"This alone should influence the senior leadership to resign."
Jamal Hussain, the parent of a child at the school, said: "For this school to have failed in such a dramatic way - parents are frustrated and angry as to what has happened.
"We asked the governors why our school is failing, but we don't have an answer."
The vast majority of pupils at the school are Bangladeshi. Nearly all speak English as a second language.
Robert McCulloch-Graham, Tower Hamlets Council's director of education, said: "This council has an excellent track record of transforming underperforming schools and of taking tough action when the school does not cooperate.
"With our support we fully expect Kobi Nazrul to return quickly to the excellent school it was two years ago."
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "Ofsted recently carried out an inspection at Kobi Nazrul school due to concerns about SATs test results. We await the results with interest.
"If there are allegations of extremism in any school, we will investigate them.
"If we find evidence of extremism we will not hesitate to act, as we have done in Birmingham."