Muslim Faith Schools Achieve Poll Position in UK’s ‘Top 10’ List07 Mar 2020
Four Muslim faith schools have achieved top 10 positions in the British government’s rankings of secondary school performance, including one school securing first place.
It was Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School, based in Blackburn, that came out on top with the highest Progress 8 score in the whole country, with Muslim faith schools in general taking the top 3 positions. The annual governmental list ranks U.K. schools according measurements such as the percentage of students staying on for further education and the EBacc average point score.
The Progress 8 measures pupils’ progress from the end of their primary education to the end of their secondary education. Tauheedul High School managed to achieve an impressive 2.16 Progress 8 score, with Eden Boy’s School in Birmingham and Eden Girls’ School in Coventry achieving a 1.69 and 1.61 score, still ahead of the rest in the country.
This was also the sixth consecutive year that Muslim faith schools have surpassed national GCSE grade averages in English and Maths, as well as ‘attainment 8’ scores.
The rankings arrive against the backdrop of increasing general scrutiny around faith schools in the U.K. and the extent to which they are an effective academic institution.
The Muslim Council of Britain have fought back on this skepticism, affirming that despite negative perceptions, many faith schools “are in fact high-achieving.”
The Secretary General of the MCB stated that the results of the students “shows that with hard-work and dedication children of all backgrounds and in any educational setting can achieve their utmost.”
The question of faith schools and their effectiveness has been going on for quite some time, and recently accelerated when the U.K. government in the late 1990’s decided to expand state funding of faith schools to not just Christian and Jewish schools.
Arguably, the objections to such institutions have contained elements of racism and Islamophobia. For example, a MORI poll conducted in 2001 revealed that only 27% of the public opposed the increase in Church schools, but when Muslim and Sikh schools were added to the question, this figure rose to 43%.
It is open to debate about whether religion should be allowed to influence the curriculum and whether faith schools should be reduced or banned completely in the U.K. But, as far as academic performance is concerned, they seem to be proving the skeptics wrong.