FAQs

The school occupies the Spital Masjid premises (164-170, Spital, Old Aberdeen) to conduct the classes. Classes run only during the weekends.

The school academic year is from August till June. It starts and ends around the same time of the local public school, and closes for summer holidays.

1.  Admission to school for a new session will open from November to December of the running session. e.g. for session 2018/19, admissions were open in November 2017 to December 2017.

2.  Offers made to new prospective students were between February and March of the running session.e.g. for session 2018/19 offers were made between February 2018 and March 2018.

3.  Registration of these new students were at the end of March/early April. E.g for session 2018/19 registration was completed at the end of March 2018/early April 2018.

4.  For admissions to classes other than to Grade 1, older students may be offered places only if there is /are spaces in their relevant classes(depending on age group). These students are also required to pass the iqra book standard relevant for their age group as a condition to be accepted into Al Noor School.

For e.g.: for the session 2018/19, Iqra assessment was done at the end of march 2018.

5.  For the accepted(new) students, their classes will start in the August of the new session(i.e.acceptance into any session, classes start August  together with all returning students).

A.  Email your queries regarding admission to [email protected] between November and December. The School management will then inform you on whether places are available for the upcoming  session and will let you know on how to apply.

It is important to note this enquiry does not entitle your child to be on the waiting list and it is also NOT an acceptance that your child is admitted as a student.

Why NO WAITING LIST? Previously School offered the option for any enquirer to be on the waiting list. Due to shortage number of staff and limited working time with very restricted facilities of this weekend school, its not viable nor practical to keep a long term track and follow up of the numerous number enquiries coming in.

It has been decided that the admission to School will be open every session on the basis of the number of places available. Further information on the application process will be made available only when the application form is emailed to the person who made the enquiry.

B.  If the admission is not successful for a particular session, you are requested to keep track of the updates regarding admission for the next academic year on the school website (http://www.alnoorschoolaberdeen.com). An update on admission for those parents who had applied will be made in February of every academic year in sha Allah.

The age group of the children attending the school is between 5 to 14 years old. A child of age 5 is thus considered to be eligible to start grade 1.

However, if the school has more applicants than places available, the criterion followed may depend on the backlog, age group, siblings already attending and thus decision made will be based on the overall benefit of the applicants as a whole.

For children above the age of five, the child will be required to sit for Entrance exam that consists of oral and written assessment. This is deemed necessary to assess and evaluate the child’s knowledge and understanding of Islam – in theory and in practice. This would help to determine whether your child can cope in any particular grade or private tutoring would be more beneficial.

Rules pertaining to Assessment Process Procedure:
Only applicants to grade 1 (age 5) will be admitted direct without prior Assessment /Entrance Exam.
For applicants above the age of five, Assessment will be conducted based on the places available at any age group.
Suitable candidate will be invited & parents will be informed with more information & relevant advice to help the candidate prepare for the entrance exam.
This is deemed necessary for the smooth functioning of the class.

Assessment Procedure:
1. To Quran Recitation Studies:
Based on a candidate’s age, which iqra book they are able to read. For instance: A 7 yr old is at least able to read Iqra book 1..Etc
2. To Islamic Studies
A candidate’s knowledge on theory and practical aspects of Islam. This will be based on Goodword books and thus help to synchronize with the syllabus

Usual working hours of the School is from 10.30am until 12.45pm , with a short break of fifteen minutes in between.

It runs during the weekend, in order not to clash with the other school working hours and to make it more manageable to the kids.

It will be too long for the kids considering these are additional to their Monday to Friday school. Further,it is very challenging to get long hour commitment from the staff to work during weekends. The 2.45 hours slot seemed most practical and the School has been running for both Saturday and Sunday for the past few decades.

The medium of teaching is English.

There are no Arabic classes at this School. Please refer to Aberdeen Mosque website – www.aberdeenmosque.org to get more information on Arabic classes.

In term of payment to the teachers – the teachers are only reimbursed £10 per day (NOT per hour) for basic travel expenses and they receive no payment at all if they were absent regardless of being unwell or with genuine reason. Therefore, it is necessary for parents to understand that the teachers were not compensated based on the hours spent nor even within the minimum wages category. It is deemed as voluntary contribution for the community as a whole and which we must be grateful and thankful for their commitment and dedication.

Yes, indeed they are volunteers sacrificing their weekends for the sake of continuing Islamic education to younger people for Aberdeen Muslim community. When a comparison is made with regard to the effort and the sacrifice of family commitments and the amount they are reimbursed, one would realize the commitment outweighs the pay.

Though the previous School Syllabus covered all the necessary aspects required for the basic Islamic Knowledge, there was ambiguity in the way it was implemented, distributed and approached.

There was no clear description on what depth it is to be covered for both Islamic Studies and Qur’an Recitation Studies. This made the task of the teachers difficult both in terms of focus and preparation. For example, without proper structure for coverage of each Grade, this had inadvertently led to instances where lower Grades had to learn more than the higher Grade students.

Goodword Textbooks provide a well-structured approach to the syllabus with systematic addition of new portions at each grade.This had also ease the planning for teaching for the teachers and parents too can easily track when and what topics are covered. In case of planned absence from school, a more prepared plan to provide the children on lessons they would be missing can be provided in advance.

IQRA method emphasised the teaching of reading Al Qur’an through the phonic method. It has proved to help the children to start read Al Qur’an within a short period of time in an effective manner. As per the School curriculum, the set of six booklets are distributed in what is termed as Pre- Qur’an Groups 1 to 4 (Group of children preparing to start reciting Qur’an). The estimated time period is between 3 ½ to 4years, since the school functions only during weekends and the progress highly depends on the regular practice at home.

For further references on the usage and success of IQRA method, please check these links:

1.  IQRA – Unlocking the Hidden Reading Potentials

Click here

2.  Book on IQRA

Click here

The School faced huge challenges whilst conducting Qur’an Recitation Studies and Islamic Studies on the same day with the pressure added on by the following mentioned components:

Reason 1: INCREASED NUMBER OF STUDENTS

Old system / approach:

Morning session, actual class usually started at 10.45 am to 12 noon (1 hour 15 min).

Total number of students: between 10 to 13 students.

Method of teaching Qur’an recitation: One-to-one session (individual attention) where a student read his or her lines (could be from the 13 Qur’an Booklet used before or from any part of the Surah the student was reading)

Average time per student: For the Qur’an class that only has 1 hour 15 min = 75 minutes for 12 students = 6.25 min per student

Difficulties faced from the practice of the Old system / approach:

  • Students or teachers late arrival had affected and shorten the class time
  • Very limited time available to check the student’s correct recitation
  • If there is any student who didn’t practice or do their homework, would further delay the teachers supervision and prolonged the one-to-one session with other the next students in line.
  • This made the task of the teachers difficult as the morning slot provided for the Qur’an Studies was meagre and insufficient; as individual attention is necessary for Qur’an recitation.
  • Teachers continuously struggling to find time and to decide which part on Tajweed rules to be discussed to the whole class when each student was reading at different level or different parts of the Qur’an
  • This resulted Tajweed Rules were taught and covered in such inconsistent process that varies depending on the teachers’ time management and causes further discrepancies from one class to another.

Reason 2: THE STUDENTS OF VARYING ABILITY IN A CLASS

This prevented the teachers from adopting a holistic approach while teaching. See Reason 1 above.

This problem further persisted because previously the school system of taking in new students did not offer the option to place or distinguish the child on the basis of Islamic Studies and Qur’an Recitation Studies since the 2-classes were conducted on the same day and in the same class. Any new admission was permitted to the class mainly on the basis of age.

As enumerated in Reason 1 above, for Qur’an Recitation Studies the criterion of ability and practise is more important than age.

Therefore, the new approach grouping the students with similar ability in Qur’an recitation is proven necessary in addition to individual attention for the easy management of the class.

Reason 3: DIFFICULTY TO FIND STAFF/COVER TEACHER

The struggle in this area is mainly caused by:

A.  Lack of time to commit for both Saturday and Sunday

As a class teacher, it is required to be present on both the days for the regularity and continuity of the class. And as a weekend school, the sacrifice required from the committed staff is immense; especially in terms of family needs and commitments.

B.  Lack of ability to cater to the need of both Qur’an and Islamic Studies (as both were conducted on the same day).

Not all staff members recruited was comfortable, qualified or trained to teach both Qur’an and Islamic Studies. This lead quite a few to back off though have the intention to help. There were also some teachers who were more confident to teach Islamic Studies only and some only for Qur’an Recitation Studies.

Assessments, observations and difficulty to draw results in the past 2 years aided in separating both the academics:

Observation:

1.  Qur’an Studies and Islamic Studies conducted on separate days:

In the previous two sessions(year 2011/12 & 2012/13), higher Grades had separate working days for both the curriculum. In other words, the students of Grade 9 and 10 previously had experienced the approach of having Islamic Studies lessons on Saturday and Qur’an recitation lessons on Sunday or vice versa depending on the teachers’ availability and preferred day. This is because committing both the days became difficult for few teachers. But this in turn proved to be more effective.

Some of the feedback from the teachers and students include:

  • More focus.
  • More topics could be covered.
  • More time for individual attention.
  • Easier to monitor the progress of the students.
  • Preparation required to teach a class was much easier for the teacher.

Difficulty to draw results:

There are students who do well in the Qur’an Studies but lack in the Islamic Studies and vice versa. So the teachers and management team is posed with the question on whether to move the student to the higher Grade or not as both aspects are equally important.

Assessments for Qur’an recitation ability:

The management team conducted various assessments to analyze the progress of the students. The results were devastating. There were students who are to graduate in few months time, but not reached that level of excellence yet! So the school could only issue Leaving Certificate to a wide a majority of the graduates.

Two attempts for assessment for Qur’an recitation ability were made last session to re- organize the students in to groups based on ability for more uniformity. But both the approach failed.

Third Attempt – Conducted at the beginning of 2013/14 Session:

A third attempt was made to assess the recitation skill of the students in the session 2013/14. Management had to wait for the school to re-open and with the grace of Allah, the third attempt was successful.

Please note that for Islamic Studies, the class remains the same- only the textbooks are been introduced to give more structure to approach the syllabus.

How was assessment for Qur’an recitation abilitycarried out?

Six teachers were assigned as assessors to work in pairs. They were guided with the agreed marking scheme focusing on:

  • Makhraj accuracy.
  • Knowledge on Tajweed Rules
  • Fluency in reciting the verses from the Qur’an.

The students from Grade 5 to Grade 10 and a few students from Grade 4 or 3, if they have started reading the Qur’an were called for the assessment.They were required to read any 4-lines from any Surah & their ability is assessed on the criterion stated above. It was conducted on 25/8/13 or 1/9/13. It was agreed to conduct the assessment only on 2 days to minimise the disruption to the running of the classessince the classes were affected when the assessment was conducted as assessors are also teachers, and their classes have to be covered by other teachers.

What’s the resultof the assessment for Qur’an recitation ability?
74 students were assessed. ONLY 3 were promoted to higher level, 23 were maintained in same level and 48 students were moved to lower level.

NEW APPROACH

The first step was to separate the Curriculum – Islamic Studies and Qur’an Recitation Studies on Saturday and Sunday respectively starting from the session 2013/14. In addition to the factors quoted in the challenges section other reasons include:

Separate working days is inevitable and the base of this new curriculum because of:

The recognition that Islamic Studies can be mastered on the basis of age but Qur’an recitation is something that requires continuous practice and ability rather than age. So separating the curriculum is important.

If not separated, then moving around in between the morning and afternoon session would result in waste of time.

Clear distinction between a student’s progress on Qur’an Recitation Studies and Islamic Studies. Qur’an is the guidance and the way it is to be implemented in one’s life, is imparted through Islamic Studies. In this approach, both the curriculum would attain its own importance

Overwhelming criticism of the students’ lack of knowledge in tajweed rules, inconsistency in the ability to get the correct Makhraj pronunciation& also fluency in recitation varied quite despairingly amongst students in the same class. Without any proper planning, strong justification nor monitoring mechanism, the above problems continued to persist in the school over so many years.

This step is also the reaction to the Teachers who were faced with students of different ability and with the size of the classes getting bigger and the time constraint, it became difficult to meet the demand of the students of different ability. This had been the main factor to synchronise the groupings of the students to be based on their ability.

Yes, parents are always AND strongly encouraged to help, as it is a community based School.The school needs help for traffic warden / “lollipop” men and general help during special events or projects from time to time.

At home?The school time is very limited therefore continuity from home is indeed very important to ensure the students understanding is complemented with actual practice at home.

Parents can fill in the Staff Application Form- which will be uploaded on the school website. The Management will then get back with the relevant task that can be undertaken.

Islamic Studies has one to ten Grades. While for Qur’anic Recitation Studies the number of groups is based on ability of the students. For more details check the academics section / tab on this website.

Other activities include, class projects, Eid party, school trip, Qur’an competition, Fundraising day.

You can contact the management at mobile number 07411490727 during the weekends (school time).If you call during weekdays, do leave your message on the voicemail and if you have pressing need, please email. And during the weekdays it is recommended to email at [email protected]

GCSE – a two year Islamic Course has been introduced, classes are conducted at 166 Spital every Thursday from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. The minimum age to enrol to this course is 14 years.

164-170 Spital, Aberdeen, AB24 3JD

Call us on +44(0)7411490727

Email us at [email protected]