Bradford Council’s diversity and cohesion service is to be recognised nationally for its work in promoting safeguarding and community cohesion within the district’s supplementary schools.
The prestigious national quality mark will be awarded at a ceremony in the House of Commons on Wednesday, 7 February.
The event will be hosted by the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Schools and Bradford West MP, Naz Shah. It will be attended by local and national supplementary schools as well as educationalists, politicians and dignitaries.
Supplementary schools are community based initiatives that provide additional educational support for children outside mainstream schooling. They are often geared to provide specific language, cultural and religious teaching for children from ethnic minorities.
There are around 130 supplementary schools in the Bradford District which have diverse religious and cultural backgrounds including Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Christians as well as Polish, Ukrainian, Sudanese, Arabic and Chinese.
The diversity and cohesion service supports supplementary schools by helping them create safer learning environments, by recruiting staff safely and through building relationships with other schools.
The service works with planning and building control to make sure that supplementary school premises are safe. Supplementary schools that operate in residential properties and teach more than five children at a time need to comply with planning and building control regulations to ensure the safety of children in their premises.
The service also works to encourage schools to register with the Council or the Department for Education if they are operate for more than eighteen hours a week.
Once a school has registered the service helps the school with advice on criminal checks for staff and volunteers. They also offer staff training in child protection, first aid, fire prevention, health and safety, and lesson planning.
The service launched the Quality Framework for Supplementary Schools with the support of the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education.
More than thirty five supplementary schools in Bradford have registered to take part in the programme. The framework offers supplementary schools a better understanding of legal requirements and good practice.
In November 2017, three schools achieved the National Quality Award and one achieved the Bronze award.
During the last academic year, the service ran BTEC Level 3 in Education and Training with Bradford College. Eighteen teachers from supplementary schools completed the programme and have received a formal qualification as a result.
The service also works to help vulnerable children and young people who are at risk of radicalisation.
The service helped to set up the nationally recognised Islam and Citizenship Education (ICE) project where local mosques work with mainstream schools to teach citizenship values from an Islamic perspective.
Javed Bashir, from the diversity and cohesion service, said: “It’s great news for everyone who works in the service that we have been recognised in this way. Supplementary schools can be a great way of supporting young people’s education, and we’re proud of the work we do in making sure they can do this in a safe way.”
Cllr Imran Khan, portfolio holder for education, employment and skills, said: “It’s really good news that the service has received this national prestigious award. It is recognition of the good work the service does to support supplementary schools and promote community cohesion.”