A private Islamic girls’ school – housed in the former Burnley College – is to remain open despite being listed for sale.
The Mohiuddin International Girls College, which opened four years ago, has struggled to attract the numbers of student boarders expected to fill the historic Grade II listed building in Ormerod Road.
But, despite being placed for sale for £2.5m. new Principal Miss Shenaz Saddique told the Express the college intends to remain open for the new school term starting in September.
She said a new management and marketing team had been put in place, and the college wanted to become a more central part of the Burnley community.
She said: “Although the building is listed for sale, at the moment that would be a very last option for us.
“We have maintained a steady stream of young scholars, but our numbers have not grown as we first anticipated.
“The former Burnley College building is very big and it could be we have to let out parts of it. January will be a key month for us.
“There has been a management restructure this summer and we have created a new marketing board to attract more students.
“We have around 100 young women on roll at the moment who have come from around the UK, Europe and countries as far away as Canada, Kenya, Pakistan and India. They all love living and learning in Burnley so it would be a great shame if we had to close.
“They are all settled here and have commented on how friendly the town is and how beautiful the surrounding countryside is.”
Miss Saddique said the college, run by the charitable Mohiuddin Trust, based in Birmingham, would relocate its boarders to a school in the Midlands should it fail to attract more students.
The Trust was set up by Pakistan-based scholar Sheikh Peer Alla Udin Siddique to create more educational opportunities for young women.
The college caters for girls aged 16-plus who undertake a four-year programme of study which prepares them as “Islamic scholars”.
They take the Alima programme, an Islamic teaching programme for young women, alongside GCSEs and A-Levels.
Miss Saddique added: “Despite what some people think, education for women is very important in Islam.
“Spritual and moral standards come from the mother in the home. We would like to see more local girls come to the college but we understand money is an issue. We want to introduce more sponsorships and we are actively looking for donors.
“This summer we have just had our first graduation and many of the girls will be returning next term to help as mentors and begin further teacher training.”