Faith Schools: What are they all about?

January 22, 2009

An Introduction to schools in Preston

Preston has a variety of schools, which includes faith schools. Follow this link to view a Google map showing all the schools in Preston, Lancashire. The two Muslim church schools are identified by blue markings.

A potted history of faith schools

Opposition to church schools has always existed since the Government created many throughout Britain in the late 1990s. The main argument from people against these types of schools is that they don’t help social cohesion and increase religious intolerance. Faith schools came under fire in 2001 when students and staff who did not follow the religion of a particular school were discriminated against. A White Paper was even drawn up in September 2001 entitled “Schools: Achieving Success” which discussed the expansion of church schools. Click here to view a timeline which has links to news articles about faith schools.


Attitudes towards sex education

There are two faith schools in Preston and both have opposing views about sex education and the role it should have. The Imam Muhammad Zakariya school is the only church primary school in the city for Muslims, The Preston Muslim Girls High School teaches 11 to 16 year olds.

At The Imam Muhammad Zakariya school students do not get taught any sex education. Atiya Patel, one of the teachers, believes providing sex education to the pupils, “opens their eyes to corruption.”

She said: “Muslims are taught not to have illicit relationships before marriage and it is only then that we break our virginity, but for children to be taught about sex at such a young age only breaks the barrier of modesty.”

Principal of The Preston Muslim Girls High School, Mufti Javid, thinks it is important that the students at the school get taught sex education. He said: “All the books that have been written on these topics have very explicitly given explanation, guidelines, on these matters. So it is part of Islamic education, not only the national curriculum.

“The delivery is crucial and the key thing is that it is delivered with modesty.”

Mufti Javid

Mufti Javid

Girls at the school between 11 and 14 are taught by female teachers and a school nurse as part of the citizenship program. Issues to do with sex are discussed which include sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, contraception, and emotions. Relationships are discussed in terms of potential marriage partners.

But the teaching of modesty that is so important in Islamic culture remains important within these classes.


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