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Head who employed London Bridge terrorist banned

Sophie Rahman struck off for leaving "pupils vulnerable to grooming for radicalisation" after hiring London Bridge terrorist attacker


Sophie Rahman struck off for leaving "pupils vulnerable to grooming for radicalisation" after hiring London Bridge terrorist attacker

A headteacher who hired one of the London Bridge terrorist attackers has been struck off for failing to safeguard her pupils.

Sophie Rahman, who used to be headteacher at Eton Community School in Ilford, east London, also misled police about a relationship with a person referred to as 'Individual S', who was linked to a jihadist group.

According to the outcome notice published this afternoon, Ms Rahman was found guilty of "unacceptable professional conduct" by a professional conduct panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency.

"By her failure to safeguard her pupils' interests, Ms Rahman left them potentially vulnerable to grooming for radicalisation," the notice states.

Ms Rahman was headteacher and proprietor of Eton Community School, formerly known as Ad-Deen Primary School - an independent Muslim day school for pupils between three and 11 years old, which was closed down in August 2017.

According to the outcome notice, Ms Rahman hired Khurum Butt after he approached the school in February 2017 for a voluntary position as a Arabic memorisation teacher at an after-school club.

Butt was one of the three terrorists who carried out the London Bridge terrorist attack on 3 June 2017, in which eight people died and 48 people were injured. He was shot dead by police with the other two attackers on the night of the attack.

The notice states that Ms Rahman allowed Butt to teach after-school classes at the school when she ought to have known he was connected to Al-Muhajiroun - a proscribed extremist jihadist network. 

The panel heard that a person named only as Individual S - who had been the proprietor of the school - had belonged to Al-Muhajiroun prior to it becoming a banned organisation. 

A witness from the Metropolitan Police informed the panel that Individual S and Butt attended the same gym. Individual S was part of the management of the gym, Butt worked at the gym and led prayers there, and the three terrorists met at the gym shortly before the attacks.

Individual S was also the father of Ms Rahman's children. 

The notice states that the panel was satisfied "on the balance of probabilities, that Ms Rahman knew or ought to have known or had a reasonable opportunity to become aware that Mr Butt was connected to members or former members of Al- Muhajiround, including Individual S".

The panel found that Ms Rahman hired Butt despite the fact that he lacked suitable qualifications or experience - he could not speak Arabic and was not a Hafiz (a person who has memorised the Qu'ran).

She also hired him even though he had a caution for a violent offence and provided no references from previous employers. The panel found that she employed him "without having conducted adequate checks in relation to his criminal record and employment history".

Having hired him in these circumstances, the panel found she then left him unsupervised and failed to keep a register of which children attended his classes.

Following the London Bridge attack, Ms Rahman sent an email to the local authority designated officer indicating that Butt had been a volunteer at the school.

She said he had weekly contact with six unnamed children at the school. The panel said this report was "deliberately misleading" and that the number of pupils Butt had contact with was more than six.

The notice states that it took Ms Rahman 41 days to comply with a request from the authorities to provide them with a register of the pupils and their details. The panel judged that "her obfuscator behaviour was... calculated to frustrate the investigations by the local authority and the police".

Finally, the panel found that she had "misled, or attempted to mislead" the police about her knowledge of Individual S. 

The notice states that Ms Rahman told the police that she did not know him personally but only through his role at the school.

When the police became aware of their relationship, she responded by saying she should not need to tell them because "you are police, you should have known that."

After Eton Community School closed she applied for a teaching role at the Islamiyah Girls High School in Blackburn in early 2018. In the application she indicated she was only a teacher at Eton Community School - something which the panel said was designed to "conceal" her true role at the school.

The education secretary's representative Alan Meyrick accepted the panel's recommendation that Ms Rahman should be indefinitely prohibited from teaching. She will not be able to apply for her eligibility to teach to be restored.

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