The proprietor of a private Muslim school warned repeatedly about its operations by Ofsted is now under investigation by the Charity Commission.
The watchdog will probe governance, management and administration at the Albayan Education Foundation, an educational and humanitarian charity which runs the independent Birmingham Muslim School.
It is claimed the organisation, which has received several criticial Ofsted reports and warnings from the Department for Education, has failed to report these to the regulator.
Although the Charity Commission said it had “previously engaged” with the Albayan Education Foundation to improve governance, trustees failed to fully implement an action plan, leaving the regulator with “serious concerns about the ongoing viability of the charity”.
The Commission will look into whether trustees complied with the requirements of other regulators, in particular the DfE. The probe will also examine the management of funds and accounting procedures.
The Birmingham Muslim School is a mixed Islamic day school for children aged between four and 11, and costs £1,980 a year.
After an emergency inspection in January 2017, a damning Ofsted report warned that staff “lack vigilance in being alert to the risks of pupils being radicalised.
“Consequently, there is the potential for pupils to be exposed to extremist views through contact with older pupils or adults out of school, such as when on school trips,” the report said.
Inspectors said it was “inconceivable” that no concerns about welfare or safeguarding had “ever been logged” in the school’s 16-year history, especially as the safeguarding lead “has knowledge of a specific risk to a number of pupils in the school”.
Although The Albayan Educational Foundation was listed as the school’s proprietor, it had not officially registered as such, and the report warned that the relationship between the charity and the schools “is very opaque”.
A full inspection in October 2017 rated the school as ‘inadequate’ and heavily criticised leadership and management at the school. However, it found no evidence to renew previous concerns about extremism, and said school leaders had worked with the local ‘Prevent’ team to improve safeguarding.
An additional inspection in September last year also did not raise any concerns about radicalisation, but still found shortcomings in teaching and leadership at the school.
The Charity Commission will publish a report once its inquiry is complete.
The Albayan Educational Foundation was contacted for comment.