We’ve heard enough about it over the past month or so, and now hopefully this is the end of it. The troubled Al-Madinah Free School that has never evaded our attentions has been taken over, as confirmed by Lord Nash.
It follows a highly critical Ofsted report and a letter from the minister outlining 17 areas of improvement to be addressed by the school. The school was described as “dysfunctional” and rated inadequate.
The trustees have agreed to resign along with the chair of governors, Shazia Parveen.
The Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust, which runs several academy schools across the East Midlands, has been asked to work with the school.
In a letter to the outgoing chair of governors Lord Nash said: “Overall, I am not satisfied that you have demonstrated a strong basis for the transformation required at the school. I cannot tolerate any child experiencing a poor quality of education in any state funded school and am therefore determined to ensure there is a swift resolution. I have decided that the needs of the pupils at Al-Madinah school would be best served by bringing in a more experienced trust with the skills and capability required to deliver the improvements needed. The Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust has a track record of providing high quality education to children from a Muslim background and I have no doubt they will apply this expertise at Al-Madinah.”
Earlier, a statement on the school’s website said the governors would not be resigning and would be working with the Department for Education (DfE) over the future of the school. The message read: “Just to re-assure parents regarding the rumours circulating… about governors resigning. This is not the case and we would urge parents to talk to the PTA and the governors if they are concerned. We are working with the DfE to ensure that our pupils future and the future of our school is secure.”
Lord Nash had written to the Al-Madinah Education Trust on 8 October “placing 17 requirements, which they must satisfy or risk their funding agreement being terminated”.
The school’s trustees were told to provide a plan by 1 November to show how fit they were to run the school and how it would improve. Derby’s Muslim community leaders had already called for all the governors at the school to go after chairwoman of governors, Ms Parveen, announced she was stepping down.
An Ofsted inspection was brought forward after fears were raised over teaching standards. The report found teachers are inexperienced and have not been provided with proper training. It concluded the school required special measures.
The school said it accepted the report, meaning that should this new trust deliver what the DfE seems to think it will deliver, then this is the last we will hear about this school.