A non-Muslim father has lashed out after his son’s college suspended lessons yesterday to allow pupils and staff to celebrate Eid ul Adha.
Students at Wheelers Lane Technology College in Kings Heath, Birmingham, were asked to complete five hours of work online at home as part of an “E-Learning Day.”
The school has admitted the reason for the shutdown is because of Eid, and said it would not be detrimental to the children’s education.
Michael Mills, 42, whose son Jack is in Year 10, has questioned the legality of the move and criticised the school for not honestly admitting its religious motive.
Mr Mills said: “I’m not anti-Eid, I’m all for schools observing religious holidays. However, I am of the firm belief this should be done via a proper recognised holiday on the school calendar, and not via an unofficial suspension of lessons for the day through back door methods.
“I believe it is the policy of the Birmingham Education department not to close schools or suspend lessons for this religious event, so does the school have the legal right. If it is necessary, it should be done in an open and transparent way and not via a disguised e-learning work from home day. I was not told about this until late last week.”
Mr Mills, a computer technician from Mosely, also argued that if e-lessons were deemed an effective substitute for actual classes, were there questions about “the future need for the school environment at all?”
A leading spokesman for the school said the decision by governors and staff “was not taken lightly” and had been authorised legally and in light of changes to the methods absences are recorded.
The spokesman added: “We’ve not been underhanded about it. While e-learning does not replicate the classroom environment, it offers a different learning opportunity.
“This is one day out of 40 weeks so I don’t think it’s detrimental (to a child’s education) looking at the wider picture.”