About the Trust Frequently Asked Questions

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1 About the Trust Frequently Asked Questions

2 Welcome A very warm welcome from the Tauheedul Education Trust. We are an academy trust based in Blackburn, Lancashire. We run Muslim faith based and non-faith schools and academies. This short guide is aimed specifically at non- Muslim parents and carers who want to know more about our faith based schools and what they have to offer to non-muslim children and families.

3 1. What does your organisation stand for? We are a not-for-profit Muslim faith-based organisation. We believe that education transforms lives and we work to support school improvement and educational excellence nationally and internationally. We run a network of Muslim faith-based schools and are an approved sponsor of non-denominational academies. We have a lot of experience of working with non-denominational schools to help them improve their performance. We re committed to delivering outstanding education and selfless service to the community. We work particularly in areas of deprivation to inspire young people (Muslim and non-muslim) to raise their aspirations and achieve their potential. We want all our students Muslims, those of other faiths and those of no faith to live their lives according to the values of self-discipline, compassion, mutual respect for all people regardless of difference and respect for the earth itself. These fundamental values underpin the Muslim faith and our British society. We want to present a progressive, outwardly focused view of Muslim faith and culture, to improve shared understanding between different faiths and to prepare our students for their adult lives in multi-cultural 21st century Britain. 2. How qualified are you to run schools? We have many years experience of running high achieving schools and of helping other schools that are in difficulty to turn their performance around. We have a diverse, skilled and experienced Board, both Muslims and non-muslims, drawn from different professions and backgrounds education, business, finance, law and marketing. Each of our schools has an excellent team of school leaders and teachers. They also have a Local Governing Body made up of committed individuals with experience relevant to running successful schools. We encourage diversity on our Local Governing Bodies and each one has both male and female and Muslim and non-muslim governors. We also have a staff team of experienced senior professionals in our Central Office who support our Board and our individual schools. 3. What do you do in the wider community? We place a lot of emphasis on service to the community. We believe that by encouraging young people to give something back, they develop into more confident, rounded adults with a strong sense of self-belief, including a belief that they can make a difference. All our students get involved with local and national charities - awareness raising, volunteering and fund raising. We also believe that our schools have a key part to play in promoting better understanding and cohesion within their local communities. We work hard to engage with the local communities around our schools, including working closely with community groups of all faiths and none to share learning and experience of different cultures and religions. 4. Are students of different faiths welcome to study at your schools? Absolutely. Our Muslim faith-based schools welcome students from all faiths and none. This is clear in each school s admissions policy. We want people from all communities to benefit from the excellent teaching and curriculum we have on offer. We want our schools to promote inclusion and shared understanding. We re very sensitive to the needs of non-muslim pupils in our faith-based schools. We assess all our policies and procedures to make sure young people of all faiths and none are properly catered for. English is the language of all our schools and we don t have an Islamic curriculum. We make

4 every effort to cater for the worship and prayer needs of pupils from other faiths and no pupil is forced to take part in worship or prayers. Our school meals offer a nutritionally balanced choice of menu which takes into account pupils different dietary and cultural needs. 5. How do your schools promote gender equality? We believe strongly that there should be the same opportunities for excellence for all our students, parents and staff regardless of their gender. We have Muslim and non-muslim women working at all levels, including the most senior, in our schools and our central office to provide aspirational role models for our female pupils. We set personalised, challenging and aspirational targets for every pupil, regardless of gender. Our first school, the Tauheedul Islam Girls High School in Blackburn, is one of the highest achieving schools in the country. It consistently comes top of the secondary school league tables a clear demonstration of our absolute commitment to enabling young women to achieve their potential. 6. How do your schools tackle other forms of discrimination? We are against all forms of discrimination, whether that be on grounds of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, disability or age. We employ a diverse staff group. We oppose all forms of intolerance towards any group, however manifested including Islamophobia, anti-semitism, homophobia and racism. We have zero tolerance towards any form of discrimination or prejudice at our schools. Everything we do is designed to instil values of compassion and mutual respect for all people, regardless of difference. Our curriculum and students everyday learning experiences are designed to tackle discrimination. We use our community engagement and enrichment activities to support practical action that helps our students develop tolerance and understanding. 7. Are you aligned with any political party or political movement? No. We are not aligned with any political party or movement (in the UK or abroad) and we do not promote any political views in our schools. Where a political issue is discussed, in Citizenship or Politics lessons for example, we ensure that it is presented in a balanced way with all points of views being considered. 8. Do your schools host religious speakers? We believe it is very important for students in all our schools to hear about and understand different world faiths. We employ staff from all faiths and none. We regularly invite in speakers from different faiths who we hope can inspire and touch the lives of our young people. Our schools have recently hosted speakers from Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Christian and Islamic faiths. We take great care not to invite controversial speakers to address students. We do not allow any controversial groups or individuals onto our school premises. We vet all external speakers. 9. What are your uniforms like? All our schools have a uniform that pupils, regardless of faith, can relate to and wear with confidence. We believe uniforms to be an important part of instilling a sense of belonging and pride and presenting a good image of the school to the local community. Our uniforms reflect the attitude we are trying to instil in our learners. They are smart, fit for purpose and flexible. Secondary school uniforms in particular are designed to portray a business like image. We respect the right of people from different world faiths to choose whether or not they wear religious wear associated with their faith eg hijab, turban, skull cap or crucifix. The Hijab is part of the uniform for those Muslim girls who choose to

5 wear it and tights are part of the primary uniform for those girls who choose to wear them. Parents are able to discuss their requirements for other religious wear as part of induction. The final decision will rest with the headteacher as to the appropriateness of particular items of religious wear in the school context. No student is forced to wear religious clothing. 10. Do you have a dress code for your staff? No. Staff are free to dress as they wish, although we do expect them to maintain a professional, business-like image. 11. What kinds of charities do you support with your charitable funds? We have a strong commitment as a Trust to charitable giving. Our main focus is on UK poverty, particularly homelessness and food poverty. We also support global education. We work in partnership with well-established charities such as Crisis, FareShare and Save the Children. All charities that our schools donate to are mainstream organisations which are registered with the Charity Commission. The majority of the funds that we have donated have gone to local and national causes selected by our students. Our students also get involved in practical projects that support their chosen charities such as setting up foodbanks and taking part in sleep outs. 12. What do you teach about fundamental British values? Students at all our schools learn to respect fundamental British values such as democracy, the rule of law, mutual respect, tolerance and freedom of speech. These are universal human values that can be found in many faiths and cultures. They go hand in hand with the Islamic faith. All our schools have the Big Society and Citizenship as a specialism. This is reflected in students active engagement in volunteering, community service and charitable giving. It is very important to us that all our students leave our schools as model active citizens of their local area and of Britain as a whole. With this in mind, we have created our own award. the Tauheedul Baccalaureate. All our students pursue this and it rewards fundamentally important values such as respect, selflessness, caring, giving and persistence. 13. What do you teach pupils about living in modern day Britain? We teach all our pupils to be proud and committed British citizens. We teach them about British institutions (such as the functions of Parliament). We believe that the educational and pastoral experience our pupils receive will help them develop into self-assured, respectful, confident, happy and positive individuals. Our pupils are growing up in a Britain that is increasingly multi-cultural. We work hard to promote shared understanding of and respect for all cultures and faiths to focus on the things that unite us rather than the things that divide us. We want to prepare all our students to become high achieving, fully engaged citizens in multicultural 21st century Britain. For our Muslim students, we want to help them explore how they can apply their Muslim beliefs and values in their everyday lives as committed members of British society. We want them to become model British citizens, inspired by their faith to uphold fundamental British values, reject extremism in any form and to prosper as part of British society. We want them to make a genuine and determined contribution and, by their actions, to demonstrate the best of what the Muslim faith can contribute to British life and culture.

6 14. Are all your teachers qualified to teach? All of our teachers have qualified teacher status, or are working towards it. We understand the importance of high quality training to outstanding teaching and student outcomes and place a premium on professional development. All our teachers have weekly professional development sessions and their own personalised coaching plans to support them in delivering teaching excellence. 15. What subjects do you teach? Primary At primary level, we use the Core Knowledge Sequence (CKS) UK as the springboard for primary learning in English, Mathematics, Science, History and Geography. It is based on teaching a body of specific, lasting knowledge to allow children, regardless of background or starting point, to build steadily on what they already know. We have incorporated play, active learning and extended classroom activities into the CKS to ensure that pupils can use and apply their developing knowledge. Secondary Academic subjects leading to the English Baccalaureate are at the core of the secondary curriculum. 70% of curriculum time dedicated to the Baccalaureate subjects: English Language (and Literature) Mathematics Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) History Geography French, Arabic, Spanish and other Modern Foreign Languages Computer Science The remaining 30% of the curriculum is different in each school, and includes subjects such as: Sports Religious Studies Creative and Performing Arts Design and Technology Citizenship Personal, Social and Health Education There is also a vocational curriculum for those pupils for whom GCSEs are not appropriate, but all pupils are expected to undertake a curriculum with a strong academic core. 16. What do you do to support less able pupils? Outstanding educational opportunities for all are at the heart of our mission. Every young person has the right to achieve their full personal potential. We recognise that individual pupils or groups of pupils might have particular learning needs that need to be supported if they are to achieve their potential. Our educational provision is highly personalised. Every student has a learning plan and a set of personal attainment targets. Their progress is regularly monitored by staff. We pay particular attention to students who are at risk of underachievement for any reason. Where pupils struggle or are falling behind, they receive additional support and learning opportunities.

7 Tauheedul Education Trust Shadsworth Road, Blackburn, Lancashire BB12HT Tel:

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