Darul Uloom Dewsbury to close down following damning Ofsted report

Markazi Masjid in Dewsbury where the Darul Uloom is located

One of the UK’s most famous Islamic seminaries – Darul Uloom Dewsbury – is to close down in December because of financial difficulties and following a damning Ofsted report.

Chair of Trustees Mohammad Bostan wrote to parents earlier this week informing them of the closure.

The Institute of Education (commonly known as Darul Uloom Dewsbury) is an independent boarding school for boys and young men which over the years has produced thousands of Islamic scholars.

Mohammad Bostan said: “As you are well aware, the Institute has been facing very challenging conditions for approximately two years. The demands of the new inspection framework and our own financial difficulties have impacted and continue to impact us significantly.”

Earlier this year education watchdog Ofsted reported that the school does not meet all of the independent school standards or all of the national minimum standards.

In particular Ofsted concluded that children and young people “continue to be at risk of harm.”

Inspectors had found that safeguarding continued to be ineffective and that leaders did not recognise when there is a serious safeguarding concern.

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“Leaders continue to fail to act with sufficient understanding of when there are serious safeguarding concerns. During this inspection, inspectors identified a significant safeguarding concern which had not been identified as such, or acted upon appropriately… leaders are not doing all they can to safeguard the welfare of pupils… Clearly, not all children feel able to talk to staff about their concerns.”

Ofsted added: “Leaders have not taken a strategic overview of safeguarding. For example, they have not looked at patterns and trends, and implemented any learning from such a review. Children and young people continue to be at risk of harm.

“Leaders and staff have failed to maintain vigilance of children. For example, they were not aware of a serious assault by pupils on another pupil. Leaders and staff have also shown a lack of professional curiosity in this matter.”

In his letter to parents Mohammad Bostan said: “We have invested a considerable amount of time, dua, effort and finance to ensure the Institute remains open; utilising expert educational consultants, seeking advice from current leaders of outstanding schools as well as ensuring all required staff training was given in our attempt to meet all the independent school and boarding standards. Therefore additionally, further expenses reaching tens of thousands of pounds were incurred to ensure the building is completely safe and meets all requirements.

Ofsted. Editorial credit: chrisdorney / Shutterstock.com

“After the latest Ofsted inspection, certain negative points came to light, out of which one was the lack of staff cooperation, being one of the factors for the inspection to fail once again. Therefore, in March 2022, the DfE gave a notice demanding the school and the madrasah to close. We appealed this decision, sparing no cost in taking every measure and working extensively to meet the national minimum standards for boarding schools.

“As the court case date came closer, the judge met with the two legal teams and the DfE’s legal team proposed to negotiate and agree to the four conditions to be met by the Institute:

  • Temporary restriction on taking under 18s
  • To restructure the organisation
  • Additional safeguarding training for all
  • Stop boarding for under 18s

“We accepted three of the conditions but requested the boarding to remain open for under 18, which was rejected. After consideration, it was evident we have less numbers for over 18 students.

“Bearing the above in mind, we had a meeting with our legal team and Shura members, where the following decision was made: rather than receiving a court order for closure, it would be better to completely close the Institute before restrictions are imposed.

“The Institute has been a great success and our alumni continue to have a major impact on Muslims in the UK and across the globe. The Ulamaa and Huffaz produced by the Institute have been recognise in their communities as acknowledgeable and pious with their quality of Qur’aan and qira’at singled out for praised.

“It is therefore with deep and heartfelt sorrow that we have to inform you that the Institute of Islamic Education will close on 12th December 2022. We did not want this to happen – a lot of time, effort and money was invested to prevent this – however despite our best attempts we have been unable to secure the future of the Institute and as a result we have had to take this extremely hard decision, one that we all, as trustees, have tried our best to avoid.

“We extend our sincerest apologies to parents and guardians and pray to the Almighty to help you in making alternative arrangements for your child’s education.”

UPDATE DEC 2: It has been announced that Darul Uloom Dewsbury will continue to operate classes online for under 18s and boarders over 18 will continue to be provided with lodging. The announcement came after news that the Islamic seminary would completely close down in December.


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