Hawzah News Agency (Cobridge, UK) - North Road Academy, in Cobridge, has doubled in size in the last three years and now caters for five to 16-year-olds. There is also a partner nursery based on the same site.
Ofsted inspectors say the school leaders have ‘a strong commitment, drive and determination to provide a high standard of education’.
And their report also commends the independent school’s efforts to instil British values alongside an Islamic ethos. It says pupils are ‘very well prepared for life in modern Britain’.
North Road – which was the first Muslim faith school to open in North Staffordshire – currently has 121 pupils, who come from across the city and beyond.
Headteacher Naeem Bashir said: “We are drawing people into the community. We’ve got families who work for the NHS and have moved here.
“We are very proud of what the school has achieved.”
North Road has been rated as ‘good’ overall in the latest report. It comes just weeks after the nursery, which has the same owner, was also awarded a good grade.
Pupils study the national curriculum and take GCSEs. But they also follow courses in Islamic studies, Qur’anic studies and Arabic. Ofsted found the teachers have a good subject knowledge, give youngsters ‘timely support’ and build a good rapport with the children.
Efforts to improve reading have been particularly effective. Every primary age pupil has daily guided reading sessions and many of the colourful classroom displays are inspired by books.
The report states children’s personal development is ‘outstanding’ and staff treat pupils' welfare as ‘paramount’.
Bismah Malik joined North Road after attending a state school and has noticed a big difference. The 15-year-old, from Burslem, said: “This school is more enjoyable. There are hardly any behaviour problems here and you get along with the teachers better.”
The school expanded its age range to include secondary education back in 2015.
Fifteen-year-old Haajarah Bashir, from Etruria, has been there since Year 5 and has seen it grow rapidly. She said: “It’s really improved.”
She is one of the pupils to benefit from the school’s ‘high-quality’ careers guidance programme, which includes work experience.
Although most students speak English as an additional language, the majority of them are working at the standards expected for their age.
Inspectors said the school offers good support to young people with special educational needs too. Some of them have ‘passports’, which set out their strengths and where they need extra help. It enables all staff to track their progress.
The clear behaviour rules have also contributed to the good standards. Pupils are ‘extremely polite and courteous’ and ‘take pride in their work’.
Eight-year-old Farzaam Siddiqui, from Tunstall, said: “We also have a star of the week.”
He counts science, computing and maths among his favourite subjects. “In maths, you get to do lots of fun things,” he added.