We are developing resources that can be used in the classroom to help teachers better engage better with Muslim pupils and also to help breakdown the negative stereotypes of Islam that are presented in the media.
The Pupil Level Annual Schools’ Census 2003 showed that while the academic achievement of the British Muslim population is improving, there remains sustained underachievement especially when compared to the national average. Our discussions with teachers and other educators indicate that Muslim pupils better engage with the curriculum and ultimately perform better if they feel that they can identify with the subject matter and that it relates to their cultural heritage.
We have been working closely with a wide range of inspiring teachers, experts and teacher trainers to develop:
- A source of information on Islam and its practice for teachers and educators – our conversations with teachers, head teachers and education providers have illuminated some of the many challenges teachers face around understanding Islam and feeling empowered to tackle more difficult issues within a classroom environment
- Teaching materials and lessons plans which can help bring together a better understanding of Islam into the existing curriculum and engage with Muslim pupils – Our discussions with teachers and other educators continue to support the idea that Muslim pupils better engage with the curriculum and ultimately perform better if they feel that they can identify with the subject matter
We are working closely with teachers and subject specialists to develop a series of teaching resources which highlight the important contribution Islam and Muslim scholars have made to various disciplines (including mathematics, sciences, literature and art). These resources will have the added benefit of raising the self esteem of Muslim pupils.
This work not will not only help engage Muslim pupils but will also show Islam’s often overlooked contribution to modern society through innovation and scholarship, helping to challenge negative images of Islam and increasing non-Muslim students’ knowledge of Islam.
The resources will be developed and piloted in early 2013, and will be available for free download on this website in the summer term 2013.
Maslaha and Education
Inequalities still persist for young Muslims being educated in the UK today. In 2009, 38 per cent of Pakistani and Bangladeshi children attained a good level of development at the Foundation Stage Profile – 12 percentage points lower than the national average. At GCSE level, 43 per cent of Pakistani students achieved five or more GCSEs graded A*-C, compared with 51 per cent of White British students, and 72 per cent of Chinese students.
Evidence suggests that this disparity is liked specifically to religion, not just to ethnicity. Within ethnic groups, the attainment gap between Muslim and non-Muslim students persists. The National Equality Panel report, An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK, noted that Indian Hindu and Sikh girls achieved on average one more GCSE graded A*-C than Indian Muslim girls, and two more than Pakistani Muslim girls.
Of those who leave school at age 16, Bangladeshi and Pakistani young people are half as likely to participate in adult learning as their White counterparts (29 per cent and 34 per cent, compared to 63 per cent). Young Muslims are more likely to be not in employment, education or training (NEET) by age 19-21 than Christian young people (28 per cent, compared to an average of 23 per cent). By age 22-24, 42 per cent of all those who are NEET are Muslim.
This evidence strongly suggests that the British education systems could do much more to engage with Muslim pupils.