Banned: Headteacher who let London Bridge attacker teach children unsupervised

A headteacher who allowed one of the London Bridge attackers to teach primary school children unattended has been banned from being involved in running schools.

Sophie Rahman, the former headteacher of Eton Community School in Ilford, can no longer hold a management position in a private school or be a state school governor.

A Teaching Regulation Agency professional misconduct hearing banned Rahman from teaching for life in June after she allowed London Bridge attacker Khurum Butt to teach after school classes.

The panel found that Rahman knew or should have known that Butt was connected to members and former members of extremist jihadist organisation Al-Muhajiroun during his four months at the school, and that he had appeared on the Channel 4 documentary ‘The Jihadist Next Door’.

Butt did not have suitable qualifications or experience, did not supply references from previous employers and had a caution for violence, but was allowed to teach Qur’an at the Muslim school, formerly known as Ad-Deen Primary School, despite not speaking Arabic.

The proprietor of the school, known only as ‘Individual S’, was a former member of Al-Muhajiroun and the father of Rahman’s children and believed to have been known to Butt.

Rahman is the fourth person ever to be banned from being a school governor, following the banning of Isis supporter Mizanur Rahman last month. The Department for Education said the two are not connected.

A spokesperson for the DfE said: “Teachers, leaders and governors have a responsibility to keep children safe and Sophie Rahman failed to do that.

“That’s why, as part of our duty to prevent such individuals from working in our schools, we have issued this order today.”

The misconduct panel also found Rahman misled or attempted to mislead the police and local authority about the number of children who attended Butt’s classes.

Butt was one of three men who launched a terrorist attack in London Bridge on June 3, 2017, killing eight people and injuring 48. All three attackers were shot dead by police officers.

Eton Community School, an independent Muslim primary school, was closed in August 2017.

The DfE issued the first ever ban in 2015 to Tahir Alam, the former chair of governors at Park View Educational Trust in Birmingham, which was at the heart of the Trojan Horse scandal – a supposed Islamist plot to take over schools.

The letter to Alam, which he passed on to the The Guardian, said he had engaged in conduct “aimed at undermining the fundamental British values”.

The second ban was issued in 2017 to Waseem Yaqub, the former chair of governors at Birmingham’s Al-Hijrah School, who was sacked in 2014 after Ofsted blasted the governance at the school and placed it in special measures. He was subsequently banned from the school site.

However Yaqub was not banned from being a governor until three years later, prompting him to call the decision a “witch hunt” against him.

Rahman can appeal the decision within three months of being informed of her ban.

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