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Forest Gate primary school removes homophobic and misogynistic books but problems remain, says Ofsted

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 December 2019

Zakariya Primary School in Forest Gate. Picture: Google.

Zakariya Primary School in Forest Gate. Picture: Google.

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A Forest Gate primary school slammed by Ofsted for having homophobic and misogynistic books in its library has fixed the biggest issues but problems still remain, according to a report by the watchdog.

After inspectors discovered the books in February, Zakariya Primary School barred children from the library. The building is also home to Forest Gate Mosque and staff now check all the material in the school rooms and make sure they are appropriate for pupils.

Lead inspector Gary Rawlings said in his report the school maintains a "firm line" with other people who use the building. He visited the independent school, in Romford Road, on November 12 for an unannounced inspection.

The previous inspection in February found the school's social media accounts had posts that conflicted with its requirement to promote respect for other people.

Since then, the school has started new, school-only social media accounts and updated its teaching about people with "protected characteristics" and other faiths, the report read.

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The Islamic school has capacity for 120 pupils. It costs £2,600 a year to send a child to Zakariya Primary, which opened in 2003. It upped the quality of its teaching along with fixing those problems, Mr Rawlings found.

Despite the improvements, the school has kept its Inadequate rating from Ofsted, which it's had since 2017. Problems remain with pupil wellbeing and how the school recruits staff.

Building materials were still being stored in the playground - a "risk to pupils' safety". That was the same situation found in February. The inspector noted leaders fixed this when it was pointed out.

When recruiting, leaders didn't always get contact details for a candidate's current or most recent employer or get references. And candidates didn't always fill out accurate enough job histories, with employment gaps going unaddressed.

The school's head teacher Faiza Yassin said it was taking Ofsted's suggestions on board.

"It is clear we have made significant changes since the previous visit, but we realise there is still a lot to do," he said, adding the school is working to improve school premises and its recruitment process.

The Department for Education said it takes "robust action" if schools don't meet standards and is "considering next steps" for Zakariya Primary.

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