Sacked Teacher Turns on King Fahad Academy

Claims school follows 'racist and divisive' curriculum

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A former teacher at the King Fahad Academy School in Acton is claiming that the school could produce a 'dangerous harvest' due to their move towards a Saudi based curriculum. Colin Cook is quoted in a national newspaper as saying, "It is clearly racist and very divisive. I understand now why the pupils express anti-Western views at school. It is deeply immoral to put such ideas into the heads of young children."

He claims the school used textbooks from Saudi Arabia for children as young as five which described Jews as 'repugnant' and 'apes' and Christians as 'pigs'. He also claims he often heard children at the school express anti-western views and admiration for Osama Bin Laden.

Mr. Cook, a Muslim convert, taught at the school for 19 years and is seeking £100,000 in compensation from an industrial tribunal for unfair dismissal and race discrimination. He was sacked last December for misconduct relating to exam procedure but he says that he was fired because he 'blew the whistle' on cheating during English GCSE exams at the school. He says children were allowed to bring in heavily annotated text books into exams and he reported them for cheating to the exam board Edexcel.

He has claimed that the school's standards started to slip badly in 2005 when many of the British teachers employed at the school left and the school started to move to a 'pro-Saudi' agenda. The school had taken the decision in 1998 to bring the Academy into line with other Saudi International Schools. Children in the old English curriculum classes were allowed to complete their studies to university level but this is currently in the final stages of being phased out. In 2005 they decided to switch to the International Baccalaureate system. Mr. Cook's submission to the tribunal claims that most of the new teachers are Saudis who speak little or no English. Most classes in the school are taught in Arabic and one of the main aims of the school is to ensure that all pupils are bilingual in Arabic and English.

An OFSTED report of the school last year was broadly favourable and they stated that the quality of the the teaching was generally good and there was particular praise for science teaching and the nursery. The school was not registered as an Independent School by OFSTED but this was for mainly for administrative reasons.

February 5, 2007