Saudi government withdrawing funding for school on Bromyard Avenue
The King Fahad Academy in Acton. Picture: Google Streetview
May 18, 2023
There has been shock among parents and staff at the King Fahad Academy after a letter was sent advising them of the likely closure of the school on Bromyard Avenue.
On 5 May notification was given to parents of the withdrawal of financial support by the Saudi Arabian government which had funded the school since its opening 38 years ago to provide education for the children of diplomatic staff and other expatriates.
The letter says that the Kingdom is ‘reorganising and restructuring’ its education system and continues, ‘In the event that alternative funding to support the operating costs of the Academy is not forthcoming, we regret to inform you that it is likely that the Academy will have to stop providing education services from the end of the current academic year.”
Parents are advised to seek alternative provision for their children.
Following the announcement, Tahani Aljafari, the Director General of the school, reportedly tendered her resignation.
The Acton-based school currently has around 470 students on its roll from pre-school up to the age of 18 and is an acknowledged leader for the teaching of Arabic and Islamic studies in London. The school was rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ at the time of its last Ofsted inspection.
It provides free education for Saudi students with non-Saudi pupils playing fees in the range of £3,000 a year.
Teachers at the school say there has been a lack of clarity with regard to any possible redundancies which has resulted in them becoming more active within their unions and a ballot on strike action is planned.
One member of staff said, " Unfortunately the school does not recognise unions but we feel cornered. "
A petition has been started by parents to keep the school open and parents and staff have taken to social media to request Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reverse the decision.
The petition states, “King Fahed Academy is more than just a school to us. It is a place where our children have made lifelong friendships, where they have learned the importance of academic excellence, Islamic values, multiculturalism, responsibility, leadership, creativity, innovation, respect, and tolerance. These are the values that we hold dear, and they are the values that King Fahed Academy embodies.
“Closing King Fahed Academy would be a devastating blow to our community. It would mean losing a vital educational and cultural institution that has helped shape the lives of many young people in our community. We cannot let this happen.”
The site of the school was formerly occupied by Faraday High School which closed in 1984.
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