Plenty of room for free-thinking at Islamic school

21st January 2005 at 00:00
The idea that Islamic schools do not teach about other cultures and beliefs is disproved at Al-Sadiq and Al-Zahra school in north-west London.

Inspectors visiting the private school last October found 15-year-olds grappling with the differences between the Islamic and atheist views of evil and suffering.

An Islamic studies class was split into Muslim and atheist camps with each challenging the other to justify their opinions.

Dr Mohammed Movahedi, the head, said: "They are going to be citizens in this country and they must know about their rights and what is expected of them."

The school uses visits from public figures, including The Duke of Edinburgh two years ago to educate pupils about British society, he said. Pupils also get the opportunity to visit Parliament as part of their education about public institutions and services.

The mixed school for three to 16-year-olds charges fees ranging from Pounds 1,800 per year for reception pupils to pound;3,450 at secondary level.

It emphasises moral education which the Office for Standards in Education found enabled pupils to distinguish between right and wrong and respect the law.

"Pupils are enabled to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence through... Islamic studies," Ofsted said.

"A great deal of attention is paid to the theme of Islamic akhlaq (good character); all classrooms keep akhlaq charts as part of the reward system.

Pupils are encouraged to discuss and evaluate moral and spiritual issues and apply this to their personal lives."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today