Inter-faith activity and community work at the ISC's only Muslim school
Visiting the ISC’s only Muslim school, Lord Lexden, President of the Independent Schools Association, was delighted to address students on the workings of democracy…
On April 23 I paid an enjoyable and memorable visit to Al-Furqan Community College in Birmingham at the invitation of its Principal, Mr Amjad Ahmed.
Originally established on a very small scale in 1989, the College now provides an excellent education for some 140 children from the age of 11 upwards in the heart of Birmingham. Boys and girls are taught separately in adjacent buildings. Great emphasis is placed on helping disadvantaged families.
The College’s success is reflected in its examination results: at GCSE it ranks fifth among West Midlands schools. Last year the school joined the Independent Schools Association, of which I am President.
The school is deeply engaged in inter-faith activity and community work. Recently, at the initiative of the girls, £6,000 was raised in three weeks, to be divided equally between two leading charities.
A well-organised programme enabled me to see teaching in progress — an English class, for example, was studying the First World War poets — and meet the small, dedicated staff.
The great interest in public and political affairs which is being instilled in the students was evident at the speeches which I delivered on British democracy (with particular reference to the House of Lords) and the election campaign.
The charming senior pupils who introduced me emphasised the school’s commitment to the kind of ethical values which are essential for the progress of social cohesion and democracy, and the questions which followed the speeches showed a good understanding of the issues.
This is just the kind of school our country needs in the 21st century. It was great to find Arabic and English being taught side by side, both to a high standard.
Having learnt the importance of playing a full part in their local communities, the students will go on contributing to society as a whole throughout their adult lives. I hope that some would consider standing for Parliament in the years to come (not necessarily for the Tories!). They would strengthen it.