Past Events

The City Circle is an open circle for open minds

Are Muslim students underachievers?

School children 

Date: Friday 9 December 2016

Time: 18:45-20:30

Venue: Abrar House, 45 Crawford Place, Marylebone, London W1H 4LP

Speakers: Rukhsana Yaqoob, President of Muslim Teachers' Association; Sahar Zahid, Teacher and School Governor, Zeshan Ghory, The City Circle Saturday Schools

Research suggests that British Muslim pupils underperform in schools compared to their peers. The proportion of British Muslims with no qualifications fell significantly from 39% in 2001 to 26% in 2011. Whilst the number of British Muslims with degrees rose somewhat between 2001 and 2011, this was still lower than the overall proportion of British adults with degrees, which rose at a much higher rate in the same period. Muslims, who were once more likely than the rest of the population to have degrees, are now less likely. Other religious minorities also outperform British Muslims: in 2011 30% of Sikhs and 45% of Hindus had degrees.

So what are the reasons for this underachievement? Research suggests that overcrowded housing, the relative absence of parental English language skills in some Muslim communities, and low teacher expectations are key factors. Muslim underperformance in higher education is also partly down to gender with fewer Muslim women than men going to university. And when Muslims do go on to university, studies suggest they are less likely to attend the best colleges. All of this reduces employment opportunities and quality of life.

In this event we will discuss the steps being taken by national government as well as locally in state and supplementary schools to combat this underperformance. We will also discuss the steps that can be taken by Muslim parents and the wider community.

Additional details

Free entrance. All welcome. Prayer space available. Street parking free from 18:30. Doors open at 18:45 and the talk begins at 19:00. If you have any questions, please contact the event organiser on sameera@thecitycircle.com.

Speakers

Rukhsana Yaqoob has been a secondary school teacher for many years and has taught in four East London schools. She worked for the National Strategies and as a Narrowing the Gap Regional Adviser. She worked on the Minority Ethnic Achievement Programme (MEAP), which aimed to raise the attainment of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Turkish and Somali pupils. Rukhsana was a tutor on the Investing in Diversity programme at the Institute of Education and has been a school governor for many years. She is currently:

  • The President of the Muslim Teachers’ Association
  • An Independent Educational Consultant
  • A Science Consultant in Enfield 
  • A Non-Executive director Of Doncaster Children’s Services Trust (DCST)
  • A board member of European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion (EMISCO)
  • A board member of Curriculum Enrichment 4 The Future (CE4TF)

 

Sahar Zahid is a teacher, Curriculum leader and Pedagogy leader in a West London state school. She is also actively involved in the Nida Trust, which seeks to work with the local Muslim community to educate young people through empowering students, teachers and parents. Sahar is also a presenter on the Islam Channel.

Zeshan Ghory has been involved with the City Circle Saturday Schools since 2006, initially as a volunteer teacher, then as headmaster of the West London school from 2013-15. He is currently a Trustee of the City Circle and oversees the charity’s two supplementary schools. He is a passionate believer in life-long education being a powerful force for change, particularly in raising aspirations and improving social mobility.

Professionally, Zeshan works in the technology sector and is part of the management team of a healthcare technology venture based in London and New York. He holds a degree in mathematics from Imperial College and an MBA from INSEAD.