Al-Hijrah School

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Al-Hijrah School
Cherrywood Centre,
Burbidge Road

, ,
B9 4US

Coordinates52°28′51″N 1°51′13″W / 52.48089°N 1.85368°W / 52.48089; -1.85368Coordinates: 52°28′51″N 1°51′13″W / 52.48089°N 1.85368°W / 52.48089; -1.85368
TypeVoluntary aided school
MottoExcellence in Motion and Bringing out the best
Religious affiliation(s)Sunni Islam
FounderMohammad Abdul Karim Saqib
Local authorityBirmingham City Council
Department for Education URN133306 Tables
GenderMixed-sex (segregated)
Age4 to 16
Enrolment767 as of December 2015

Al-Hijrah School is a voluntary-aided Islamic all-through school based in the Bordesley Green area of Birmingham, England. It is a specialist Science College with 767 pupils aged 4–16.[1]


The school was established by the Al-Hijrah Trust, a charitable organisation that was formed in Birmingham by a group of Muslims led by Mohammad Abdul Karim Saqib on 17 July 1988. The school started in Birmingham Central Mosque, operating in three rented rooms. In 1990, the school moved to new premises at Midland House in Small Heath and, throughout the 1990s, the school continued to grow. In 1997, the Trust acquired the former Cherrywood Grammar School in Bordesley Green premises from the Birmingham Local Education Authority. The purpose-built school building was constructed in 1912 and housed the grammar school, which eventually became a comprehensive school until the buildings were closed in 1994.

The building remained empty until it was purchased and an extensive renovation programme funded by the Trust commenced. The new school buildings were opened to pupils on 1 September 1999.[2] In autumn 2001, the school ceased being a private school and received voluntary-aided school status.[3]

The school continued to grow and exceeding its sponsorship target of £30,000 in 2008 for small schools, receiving £58,000. Due to the success of the school, new premises were considered to allow the school to expand.[4]

In December 2013 Al-Hijrah School was rated "inadequate" and placed in special measures by Ofsted.[5][6] Amid what Ofsted called “too heavy involvement” by governors in the day-to-day running of the school, it had gone through three head teachers in the 18 months to March 2014.[6] Soon after this Birmingham City Council replaced the governors of the school with an interim executive board. The council has stated that the governing body had created a considerable budget deficit.[7] In December 2014 Birmingham City Council announced that it was investigating claims that state-funding for Al-Hijrah School was diverted to set up a school in Pakistan.[8]

In September 2016, the school was at the centre of a legal battle over alleged sex discrimination and sought to prevent publication of an Ofsted report that criticised the school for its policy of separating boys and girls at the school.[9] In July 2017, the High Court ruled that Ofsted could name the school, but that Ofsted had been "erroneous" to claim that such separation was illegal.[10] In July 2017, the Department of Education ordered the leadership of the school to be taken over by an independent trust after books were found in the library which said that a man can beat his wife and that a wife must submit to her husband even if she doesn't want to have sex.[11][12]

In 2019, Ofsted reported that gender segregation in the school was significant and ongoing, including requiring girls to wait to eat until "all the boys had finished."[13]


The 285 pupils are split into separate male and female classes. 75% of pupils are of the Pakistani ethnic minority group. The school receives over 1,000 applications for 60 places,[14] making it the most over-subscribed school in the United Kingdom.[4]


  1. ^ "Al-Hijrah School" Ofsted details for unique reference number 133306
  2. ^ "History of Al-Hijrah". Al-Hijrah. Archived from the original on October 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-20.
  3. ^ Ansari, Humayun (2004). The Infidel Within: Muslims in Britain Since 1800. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 337. ISBN 1-85065-685-1.
  4. ^ a b Collins, Tony (2008-07-01). "School Of The Week: Al-Hijrah School, Burbidge Road, Bordesley Green". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 2008-12-20.
  5. ^ Police 'could be sent' into failing Birmingham school, 26 May 2014
  6. ^ a b "Muslim extremists, and a worrying lesson for us all", 16 Mar 2014
  7. ^ "Al-Hijrah School: Council 'blew budget on mobile classrooms' claim", 5 Jun 2014
  8. ^ "Birmingham trust 'set up Pakistan school with public cash'", 1 Dec 2014
  9. ^ "School seeks to block critical Ofsted report". BBC News. 27 September 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Faith school in Ofsted 'sex discrimination' row can be named". BBC News. 11 July 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  11. ^ Editor, Sian Griffiths, Education. "Ministers order takeover of Muslim school after it is branded unsafe". Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  12. ^ Agerholm, Harriet (16 July 2017). "Muslim school where library books said husbands could beat wives to be taken over by Government". The Independent. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Sims, Mark (2006-06-07). "Al-Hijrah Secondary School Inspection Report" (pdf). Ofsted. Retrieved 2008-12-20.[permanent dead link]