Inspector made ‘mistake’ of not speaking to pupils in emergency inspection of Batley Muslim girls school

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Ofsted has admitted one of its inspectors made a “mistake” in not speaking to pupils during an emergency inspection because they were celebrating the festival of Eid.

The schools watchdog said it had taken “appropriate action” against the inspector following the unannounced review at the Zakaria Muslim Girls’ High School in Batley.

The report last October found that the school was meeting Government requirements for safeguarding students on issues such as radicalisation and female genital mutilation.

But it also said: “It was not possible to talk to students during this visit as they and the staff were celebrating the festival of Eid.”

The inspector said he could speak only to senior managers ,including the head teacher ,at the independent school.

The Warwick Road school is run by members of the Deobandi sect, which teaches an orthodox view of Islam.

According to Sky News, the school is one of three facing further action following an investigation it has carried out into the Deobandi sect.

An Ofsted spokeswoman said not speaking to students was a mistake, and that as a result the school, which costs up to £1,300 a year for day pupils, had to be re-inspected.

She said: “We can confirm that an inspector failed to speak with students during an inspection of Zakaria Muslim Girls High School in October 2015. This was a mistake and we have taken appropriate action regarding the inspector.

“We carried out another inspection of the school in December 2015 and we are in discussion with the Department for Education about further monitoring of this school.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “As soon as concerns were raised we launched urgent investigations and while these are ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further.

“Extremism has no place in our society and it is vital all schools are providing a high quality, broad and balanced curriculum,” added the spokesman.

The school was contacted for a comment but did not respond by the time the paper went to press.