Teaching unions have reacted with anger after staff at an Islamic free school were told they had to wear the hijab even if they were not Muslim. It was also claimed that teachers were dismayed that girls at the Al-Madinah School in Derby are required to sit at the back of the class raising fears over possible discrimination. Staff were reportedly spotted removing their headscarves as they left the premises at lunch time and claim they have been instructed not to wear jewellery or bring non-halal food with them to work.
The school, which is currently under investigation by the Department for Education over alleged financial irregularities, caters for 200 students aged between four and 16.
There are worries over practices concerning the discrimination between male and female pupils in the school, with the girls being told to sit at the back of the class regardless of whether they can see the board properly.
When it was founded last year it was claimed that half of students would be non-Muslim at the fully-subscribed school. Al-Madinah describes itself as having a “strong Muslim ethos” which it said would “give the school its uniqueness integrated with shorter holidays and longer school days to maximise opportunities for pupil achievement and success.”
No one at the school responded to requests to comment on the claims.