School which has nine-hour days praised as 'outstanding'

Azhar Academy school building

Azhar Academy in Forest Gate has been praised by Ofsted - Credit: Google Maps

A girls’ school where lessons go from 7.30am to 4.30pm four days a week has been hailed as 'outstanding'.

Education watchdog Ofsted said Azhar Academy had a fantastic school culture that helped its students to achieve academic success. Inspectors gave the school the highest possible rating in all areas.

Azhar Academy is a Muslim school in Forest Gate for ages 3 to 16 which has nine-hour days Monday to Thursday, finishing at 12.15 on Fridays.

School staff said pupils also take part in clubs and extracurricular activities as well after the school day finishes.

The school’s leadership said pupils study the full national curriculum for 80 per cent of the time, but there is also a focus on faith-based studies 

The school said its values, both British and Muslim, have an emphasis on tolerance and an understanding of the importance of education were key to its successful school culture.

Many of the school’s students have won places at Universities including Oxford, Cambridge and King’s College London. The pupils are also active in the community, and have led campaigns on issues including domestic violence and supporting disability. 

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Rookshana Adam, executive head teacher at Azhar academy, said the school’s values were key to its success. She said:  “The teaching of British values is important to us. These values include democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect along with tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs. 

“As a school with a Muslim ethos, each of these values are not just ‘British’, but principles that Islam teaches. We ask our students to oppose all forms of discrimination and prejudice – not just because it’s the British thing to do, but because it’s the right thing to do.”

Azhar Academy is an independent school, with fees of £3,100 a year. The school’s director, Ismail Gangat, said the fees were value for money considering the quality of education and the time pupils spent in school. He added that the school’s belief in the importance of education was central to its ethos.

“The best gift we can give is education . The better we educate our children the better out country’s future. Hence everyone will benefit and that’s a win-win."