|The National Association of Head Teachers is among professional bodies to have welcomed the MCB initiative
in publishing 'Towards Greater Understanding - meeting the needs of Muslim pupils in state schools, Information & Guidance for Schools'. This was launched by the MCB on 21st February at the Islamic Cultural Centre, London.
The 72-page guidance document draws on best practice, already implemented widely in many LEAs and schools, and covers the most commonly raised issues by parents and schools including sections on dress code, halal meals, provision for prayer along with issues relating to Ramadan, Physical Education, collective worship and SRE (sex and relationship education). The guidance document is aimed at improving educational achievement of Muslim pupils many of whom are sadly currently under-performing.
Professor Tim Brighouse, Chief Adviser for London Schools launched the MCB's publication and noted in his speech that `I wish I had this book 15 years ago!' Further, Tahir Alam, Chair of the Education Committee noted: "many of our schools have a cherished tradition of fostering an inclusive ethos which values and addresses the differences and needs of the communities they serve. We are convinced that with a reasonable degree of mutual understanding and goodwill, even more progress can be made in responding positively to the educational aspirations and concerns of Muslim pupils and their parents. The current climate, in which there is much negative portrayal of Islam and Muslims, requires that this be given greater priority and impetus to ensure that Muslim pupils are appropriately accommodated for and become an integral part of mainstream school life and thereby society as a whole".
The NAHT statement notes the document "rightly acknowledges the considerable work done together by schools and communities over many years and identifies established good practice. It also developmentally points to further help and support that could be given to Muslim pupils. NAHT welcomes the document in encouraging and facilitating that debate".
The Guidelines have been prepared by the MCB's Education Committee and the launch is one of a series of events marking the tenth year of the MCB (inaugurated in October 1997 at Brent Town Hall).
Click here for document (pdf, Adobe v7)
Tahir Alam writes in 'Comment is Free' (The Guardian), 'An agenda for integration'
Statement from the National Association of Head Teachers