Introduction and Context
The very principle on which a School is founded was that it would be a school that would uphold strong traditional (orthodox) Sunni Islamic values and that these Islamic values would be at the heart of all decisions made about and for The School.
Academica Mentoring (AM) writes policies based on a guideline to ensure that these Islamic values permeate through the very fabric of The School. The AM policy serves as a reference point, for the Whole School Community)(WSC), so that, what we mean by Islamic Ethos is clear to everyone.
This document should only be revised by the Trustees, any individual members (including the Headteacher(s) or collective group (including the governing body of the school) should not have jurisdiction over this policy document and hence do not have the powers to change the contents of this document – this jurisdiction only lies with the Trustees. AM have access to orthodox Islamic scholars when drawing up an Islamic ethos policy and will consult many scholars when making any amendments.
This policy has been divided into sections which describe what should be expected by The School to ensure that Islamic Ethos is upheld from the Management, Staff (teaching and non-teaching), pupils and visitors.
The application of this policy is paramount to upholding and maintaining the ethos at The School. Since the ethos of the school is the backbone of its foundation anyone who breaks any clauses within the policy may be deemed as unsuitable for The School.
Pupils who do not observe these regulations will be categorised as misbehaving and hence will be subject to sanctions as per The School’s behaviour policy.
AM advises that the Trustees appoint Spiritual Leader(s) for the primary and secondary schools (it may be the same person who is responsible for both Schools) whose role will be to ensure that this Policy is being adhered to, by all in the School. The Spiritual Leader(s) will report directly to the Principal / Headteacher or in his/her absence to the Trustees. The Spiritual Leader(s) will also act as a point of initial contact for assisting teaching and non-teaching staff in such related matters.
The Spiritual Leader(s) has a very pivotal role to play in the school in up-keeping the Islamic ethos of the School. The activities of the WSC contribute to the ethos of the school. Hence the Spiritual Leader’s jurisdiction will fall across all of these, with respect to the upkeep of the Ethos of the school. E.g. The Spiritual Leader should ensure that the following takes place as described in this document (this is not a complete list, it is just provided here as an example).
- Assemblies with Islamic references
- All pupils observe the School Uniform
- The Islamic curriculum is being followed
- The Citizenship curriculum includes Islamic references
- Correct nasheeds are being used and that all audio and video content do not fall foul of Islamic regulations
- Activities are taking place to ensure that the ideal characteristics that the School wishes to instil in the pupils
- Staff at the school are adhering to dress code
The Spiritual Leader(s) will be responsible for the Islamic Studies curriculum and any changes to this must be approved by the Spiritual Leader(s).
Teaching staff should refer to the Spiritual Leader(s) for guidance on teaching material/topics and whether they conform to Islamic ethos of the school. Certain subjects like SRE will be taught under strict Islamic guidance. The Spiritual Leader should be consulted whenever a teacher has a doubt. Over a period of time, the Spiritual Leader(s) will validate all textbooks and reading books that are being used in the school. The Spiritual Leaders will also provide pastoral support for staff and pupils when required.
Ideally, the Spiritual Leader(s) will also have a teaching role in The School and hence will have a first-hand view of practices and general Islamic behaviour in the classrooms.
May Allaah Ta’aala (Most High) guide us all to His recognition and worship as is His due. May He (Most High) also enables us to fulfil our responsibilities and duties as teachers and educationalists in preparing the Muslim Ummah (Community) to prosper and succeed in both worlds. Aameen. Developing the Islamic personality is a lofty goal that our Messenger (saw) came with, as can be deduced from his(saw) statements:
“I have only been sent for the purpose of perfecting the good manners.” Al-Muwatta
“There is nothing which is heavier upon the Balance than good character.” Abu Dawud (41:4781).
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Created in collaboration with our Ofsted expert.
From September 2019, all schools will be required to teach RSE to pupils from the age of four onwards, although primary-aged children will be taught relationships education only. Schools will need to have a clear RSE curriculum in place, which is planned and outlined according to government criteria.
Ofsted is now looking at the design of the whole curriculum, particularly focussing on RSE and ensuring this provides pupils with support as they move onto the next part of their education.
This guidance document outlines how Ofsted looks at RSE, including how schools’ RSE provision is inspected, what Ofsted considers good RSE to look like, and how the introduction of statutory RSE will likely affect the inspection process.
How does Ofsted inspect RSE?
The Ofsted inspection framework requires that PSHE/RSE lessons are subject to the same expectations as other subjects in relation to the achievement of pupils and the quality of teaching.
RSE within the PSHE programme will make a significant contribution to Ofsted judgements of the school’s provision under the ‘Behaviour’ (particularly with regards to issues around prejudice-based bullying) and ‘Leadership and management’ areas – personal development is also reported on within the wider category of ‘Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development’.
Schools must take into account that, to offer a broad curriculum, they must prepare pupils for their next stages of life.
What does good practice RSE look like?
Ofsted would consider a school to be following good practice in relation to RSE if their provision:
- Is appropriate to the age and capability of their pupils, and allows pupils to have an excellent understanding of relationships and sexual development.
- Covers sexual consent and human rights with regards to physical harm and sexual exploitation.
- Enables pupils to understand how to keep themselves and others healthy and safe.
- Makes pupils understand the impact of bullying on others and actively challenges all forms of bullying including homophobic and transphobic language.
- Teaches pupils from a young age to consider that families exist beyond the conventional images of two-parent families, such as single-parent families.
- Is reinforced to allow younger pupils to discuss RSE through text in literacy or cross-curricular topics.
- Covers pupils’ body changes and the different feelings they might experience as their bodies change.
Ofsted does not have a preferred method for teaching RSE; however, they do consider the context of the curriculum and, in particular, how it supports the most vulnerable pupils.
Ofsted’s approach after September 2019
Ofsted is currently looking at its framework and at how the changes to the RSE curriculum might influence inspections. The inspection process will change to reflect any statutory obligations.
A huge directional change from Ofsted is to look at how schools design the curriculum to meet the needs of their community. Schools must look carefully at the needs of their pupils and ensure that these are met – RSE may, for some school communities, need a thorough and well-implemented curriculum to support the most vulnerable pupils (hub4leaders.co.uk).