OFFICIALS from two of the town’s mosques have lodged complaints with Bolton Council about the admission procedures of Bolton Muslim Girls School.
Senior figures at the Masjid E Ghosia Mosque, in Caroline Street, and the Noorul Islam Mosque, in Prospect Street, say priority is given to girls from the Deobandi movement, despite the wider Muslim community helping to fund the school’s establishment in 1987.
But the school claims its admission policy was put together in consultation with a variety of “stakeholders” and that it is fair. In a letter to town hall chiefs on behalf of both mosques, Bashir Shama, secretary of the Masjid E Ghosia Mosque, said: “Having provided that support, the girls from our congregations are now being refused entry because the school’s management have chosen to provide priority to the Deobandi community.
“The wider Muslim community therefore feels that the actions of the school’s trustees has been dishonourable and they are seen as having used the wider Muslim community to establish the school and then discarded us once they had no further use for us.”
There are many different branches of Islam, but the three most common are Sunni, Shi’ite and Sufi. The Deobandi movement is one of the lesser known but is growing in popularity.
Mr Shama said problems started when the school, established by the Bolton Muslim Welfare Trust in 1987, entered the public sector in 2007 and put together an admission policy that included giving extra points to girls from the Deobandi movement.
Margaret Asquith, director of children’s services at Bolton Council, said the admission policy, which is under the jurisdiction of the school, was legal.
On Monday, members of Bolton Council’s Executive agreed to expand the school from 450 pupils to 600 pupils, with a Year Seven increase of 30 pupils per year from 2012. The school is also to move to a new building as part of the £80 million Building Schools for the Future programme.
Head teacher Mubaaruck Ibrahim said: “Prior to the school becoming a local authority voluntary-aided school, we were supported by a small section of the community in Bolton as well as Bury, Rochdale, Oldham and Manchester who demonstrated that support by sending their daughters to an Independent fee- paying school.
“Since joining the local authority family of schools the school has formulated its admissions policy in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders.
“It is no different to any other Faith School Admission Policy which relies on faith as an oversubscription criteria.
“It is understandable that those parents who fail to get their daughters into the school are naturally disappointed, particularly in light of the high levels of attainment and achievement at the school.”