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Islamic private schools in UK: What is "Islamic" and why does it matter

This research has an exploratory purpose to problematise, unpack and analyse the religious nature of Islamic private schools in the United Kingdom to find out 'What makes a school Islamic'? and 'Why does it matter?'.

The project aims to study the case of private Islamic schools in the United Kingdom from three interrelated perspectives: 

Curriculum and pedagogy

  • Analyse the effectiveness, justification and impact of the religious curriculum.
  • To evaluate the fundamental objective of a religious pedagogy in Islamic schools which is based on an ‘Islamocentric approach’.
  • Analyse the effectiveness, justification and impact of the religious curriculum.
  • An in-depth analysis of a ‘religious’ pedagogy enacted with reference to curriculum, hidden curriculum, teachers teaching methodologies and the ways in which ‘religious’ materials are interpreted.
  • To analyse the effect of such pedagogical materials and activities in shaping or nurturing a distinctive ‘religious’ identity among the Muslim pupils.

Intentions/values and attitudes

  • Parents: To identify the intentional reasonings, choices and desired values of Muslim parents in terms of their preference for an Islamic private school.
  • Stakeholders: to investigate the intentions, attitudes and justifications of stakeholders who are responsible for the formulation of such a curriculum.
  • To unpack the ways in which such stakeholders evaluate and measure the success of ‘religious’ schooling.
  • To observe, what sacrifices such stakeholders would make and at what cost. For example, to see if moral satisfaction of parents fulfills at a cost of their children’s lower academic attainment, or if such schools act as ‘safe environment’ at a cost of un-natural sexual segregation at single-sex schools.

Outcomes and effects

  • To seek if a ‘religious’ curriculum of an Islamic private school is compatible or detrimental with a liberal democracy.
  • To analyse and measure the compatibility of a distinctive ‘Islamic’ pedagogy with mainstream mechanism for measuring academic success e.g. in UK public examinations.

The potential outcome of this study would not only fill the gap within the contemporary limited literature on Islamic schooling, but it also crystallises the dynamics of Islamic faith schools, which can help parents, stakeholders, educators and policymakers to better understand the pedagogical, environmental and intentionality of such schools. The ultimate goal of this research is to contribute towards better educational provisions for Muslim pupils in the United Kingdom.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Mr Sulaiman Haqpana

Related Research Group(s)

diversity (1)

Interculturality for Diversity and Global Learning - Challenging conventional attitudes and practices and promoting respectful and effective intercultural communication, cross-cultural intelligence, diversity and inclusion, within a world that is increasingly interconnected digitally.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 16/01/2024