Head teacher faces prison for running illegal Islamic school in UK

Classes continued at Ambassadors High School in south London despite court ruling

The head teacher of an illegal Islamic school in London has been warned she faces prison after she continued teaching despite being ordered not to.

Nadia Ali and her father Arshad Ali were convicted of running an unregistered independent school in September 2019.

But only a month later Ms Ali told the BBC she wanted to continue running the school and apply for registration. Inspectors found classes were taught between September 2019 and March 2020.

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court, deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram told her she could be jailed. “In defiance of your previous conviction you gave an interview in which you said you intended to carry on," he said.

“I find that very serious, and contemptuous. I have already indicated what I’m thinking on sentencing you.”

Ms Ali had argued that Ambassadors High School in Streatham, which had around 45 pupils, could not be classed as full-time because it offered only 18 hours of education a week.

“I’ve been teaching for 15 years and I’ve seen how children need a different approach and that's what we’re trying to do at Ambassadors,” she told the BBC in 2019.

“This is why I believe in what we’re trying to do because we’ve seen a lot of results within our children. They’re happy learners.”

When carrying out a preregistration inspection in February 2019, Ofsted “identified serious safeguarding issues”.

“The school’s leaders had not carried out even the most basic suitability checks on teachers working at the school,” Ofsted said in September 2019.

“Inspectors also found that the head teacher had no plan or strategy to promote fundamental British values, or encourage respect for other people.”

Updated: August 25th 2021, 11:17 AM