Today there are about 25,000 schools in England teaching around 8 million children, comprising mainly of government-maintained primary, maintained secondary, independent, special need and other schools. 500,000 of these children are Muslims, representing 27% of British Muslims. The majority of these schools have no religious character (called community schools), maintained schools and independent schools are faith based. In relation to maintained and independent faith schools, Muslim schools represent about 0.2% and 13% respectively. Although Muslim children can be found in every kind of British school, a vast majority attend community schools, followed by church schools and then Islamic schools, offering Islamic education.
An ideal Islamic school, by definition, would strive to satisfy the goals of education that Islam sets itself. The overall aim of Islamic education is aligned to the purpose of life itself: to develop individuals who voluntarily submit to God (Allah) according to Islam. This has been viewed as controversial in some cases. However recently, news broke out that Muslim schools top the National Progress Tables. The government published its new Progress 8 measure of attainment, for the first time. The national tables showed that two state Muslim faith schools topped national tables for the biggest improvement in their pupils’ performance in GCSE exams this year. Tauheedul Islam girls’ high school in Blackburn came top for all schools in England using the government’s new measure. This was followed in second place by Tauheedul Islam boys’ school, a free school established by the same Blackburn-based multi-academy trust. Also, in the top ten is Preston Muslim Girls High School.