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Muslim school faces new challenge

The private Muslim school for girls in Dundee, which has won a reprieve following a highly critical HMIE report in April last year, could be the first to fall victim to new ministerial powers due in December.

The Imam Muhammad Zakariya school in Broughty Ferry will not be removed from the Register of Independent Schools, Peter Peacock, the Education Minister, ruled this week. But it will remain provisionally registered and inspectors will revisit it in December.

The School Education (Ministerial Powers and Independent Schools Scotland) Act, which comes into effect on December 31, will scrap that category, however, and all independent schools will have to be fully registered. If this is granted to the Muslim school, ministers could then impose further conditions.

Meanwhile, Mr Peacock has decided that, while progress had been limited since the previous inspections, measures such as broadening the curriculum and taking on qualified staff warranted the school's survival at this stage.

He said he wants to give Gaye Nicolson, the new headteacher, time to make further improvements before giving the school a clean bill of health.

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