For cash and community

25th February 2005 at 00:00
Nottingham's Islamia school clearly needs money. Based in a former Ukrainian social club in the city's deprived Hyson Green area, it charges modest annual fees of pound;1,600 and Dr Musharraf Hussain, the principal, said these left the school short of cash.

There are just 10 computers for its 160 pupils, aged five to 16. Its classrooms have never seen an interactive whiteboard and prayers take place during lunchtimes behind a curtain in the main hall.

But now the Islamia school, which teaches the full national curriculum, wants to come under the control of the local authority and has applied to Nottingham's school organisation committee for voluntary-aided status.

If it is successful, the school would still appoint most of the governors and retain control over admissions, religious education and collective worship, but it could also tap into Nottingham's pound;150 million education budget. That would give it, in total, more than pound;4,000 to spend per pupil.

Dr Hussain said he hoped to use the extra cash to expand into a 210-place primary. It would still have space for more than 70 secondary-age pupils, being educated nearby on a fee-paying basis.

"We want to be part of the wider community," he said. "We are situated in the middle of a multicultural part of the city, but we are limited as to what we can achieve.

We have little money and feel segregated. I feel we could do so much more for the Muslim community of this city."

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