BATLEY: Europe’s oldest girls Muslim high school saved from closure
Following an uproar by parents when it was announced that the Zakaria Muslim Girls’ High School (ZMGHS) in Batley, West Yorkshire was facing closure, three community heroes have stepped in and saved the day.
Zakaria, an independent school for Muslim girls aged 11 to 18, was originally founded by Dr Ebrahim Dadibhai 36-years-ago, and the school became Europe's first high school for Muslim girls.
Dr Dadibhai, a much-respected figurehead of the community set-up and overviewed the running of the school up until four years ago when it was handed over to a new set of Trustees.
The previous school administrators had told shocked parents earlier in April that due to the school’s “financial difficulties” they must find new schools for their children from the end of the current term.
There was a furious response from both parents and people who had loaned the former Zakaria governors almost a million pounds to purchase and develop the former Batley Hospital buildings off Carlinghow Hill as a new future site for the school.
Questions were raised after it was learned the former headteacher Yusuf Jasat and two associates, Saeed and Shabir Patel, have privately bought the land around the school in Warwick Road and applied to build 17 houses on the site. Questions were raised over the appropriation of funds.
The Kirklees Council planning website shows that a plan for ten semi-detached houses on the Warwick Road site of the Zakaria school was submitted by headteacher Mr Jasat and the Patels, on the same day last year that a company called Warwick Road Development (2017) Ltd – of which Saeed Patel and his wife Aisha are directors – applied to build seven townhouses at the same location.
Following a tirade of issues with the establishment, a very concerned Dr Dadibhai says he couldn’t sit back and watch the horrors unfold. Along with the help of his trusted long-time friends, he decided they would do all that they could to save the school from closure.
Now the terrific trio of Dr Dadibhai, much-respected and renowned international poet Ahmed Lunat OBE and Iqbal Dhoriwala of IQ Events have set a new plan of action for the school, which will see it reopen for the new academic year in September 2018.
The stalwarts have also began a legal process of buying back the former sites from the previous trustees. “A lot of people loaned huge sums of money to help fund the school. We are making it a priority to return around £600,000 back to the parents and other members of the public who loaned money to the school,” says Dr Dadibhai.
“We have bought back the Taylor Street campus and have been working with consultants to reorganise the entire structure of the school. We are ready to present the new Zakaria School in September this year and are confident with our plans.”
People are invited to an Open Community Invitation at Common 'y' all charity's organised outdoor function at Saville Road Sports Field, Saturday 21st July 2018 from 11.00 am - 4.00 pm. You can meet our new dedicated Trustees, Staff, Consultants, Governors, Students and former Pupils.
Former student of Zakaria says: “I can say that school-life was one of the most memorable times in my life. It was a second home where I learnt about life, ambition, mission, friendship; I have learnt how to be the best from the gifted teachers who motivated us to work hard and gave us the highest standard of education. Academically, I’ve achieved great results. I am grateful to have been part of this great school and thank it for the success it has given me.”
View from a new governor: “We have been making dua and working hard to ensure that Zakaria stays open. It has been a pleasure to meet the staff and students of ZMGHS - they are the backbone of the school and we are here to help and support them to make it a thriving school once again. We have been looking at the infrastructure of the existing school and have found many ways of improving the teaching and learning at the school and are currently reorganising the leadership structure.
View from a parent: One of my daughters is currently in Year 8 and I’m delighted that my other daughter will also be joining the school in Year 7 this September. My daughter does not want to leave the school and I am happy to keep her here where she feels safe and enjoys her lessons. The school achieves good results and it has a strong Islamic ethos. This is what I want for my daughters.”