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'Help us' call to imams

Imams should help teachers by using their sermons to stress the importance of participating in schools to Muslim parents whose involvement in governing bodies and PTAs is too low, a Labour MP said this week.

Sadiq Khan, a Muslim and a government whip, believes standards could be raised by increasing links between mainstream and Muslim supplementary schools.

"A significant proportion of British Muslim children go for Koranic studies after school for two or more hours every day," he writes in a Fabian Society pamphlet.

"This must have some impact on educational standards. While this is an important aspect of education for Muslim children it does mean that they are restricted in attending after-school activities."

Mr Khan says mainstream schools and Arabic teaching institutions should work together to give children the opportunity to attend all activities.

He says there is disaffection and disorientation among Muslim pupils because of a "perceived incompatibility of the values of the school and home".

Only 37 per cent of Muslim boys achieve five good GCSEs compared to 50 per cent of Muslim girls. Mr Khan calls for direct intervention targeting underachievement in the same way, he says, has already happened with white and black boys.

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