Residents hear Stoke-on-Trent Muslim School plans at meeting

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Stoke-on-Trent residents packed a public meeting to probe community leaders about plans for a state-funded Muslim school.

Members of the public, who attended at the Queensberry Centre in Normacot, largely agreed with the proposals although concerns were raised over curriculum and staffing structure.

Addressing a 60-plus audience, the bid team reaffirmed their convictions regarding the type of education and the need to keep the school in the Longton community.

Richard Mercer, a retired headteacher and supporter of the bid, said: “We’re aiming for it to be an outstanding school, where everyone will want to send their children. It is for everybody and it is a good school.

“Plans put forward in Braintree, took the school away from the community, this is why the bid was put forward.”

Click below to see Jack Sexty’s video from the meeting:

The panel stressed education will adhere to the national curriculum with Islamic Studies as an extra optional subject.

They say classes will be single sex, which has received support on an educational level.

Chairman of the bid Asif Mehmood said the school will have an “Islam ethos, but the school must be inclusive”.

He said it will have a free school status, and admissions and education policy will have to adhere to official policy.

School uniforms will be applied but head scarfs will not be compulsory.

Mr Mehmood added that as the community is largely Asian, there will probably be a Muslim majority of school children, but those with another faith or non-faith at all can attend.

The necessity of the school was to keep it within the local community, according to the panel.

Lioqat Ali, a local resident, said: “This school is long overdue, it is something that will benefit the community as a whole and we will see children from all backgrounds come together.”

If Government approves the plans, the academy-status school will open its doors in September 2014.

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