FURNESS students and staff gained a greater understanding and a cultural awareness of the Muslim faith during workshops.

Dowdales School welcomed Imran Kotwal from Muslim Learner Services as part of the school's spiritual, moral, social and cultural and prevent programmes.

Mr Kotwal, a qualified teacher with a track record of being an outstanding classroom practitioner, delivered assemblies and held workshops with each year group and also led a staff training session at the Dalton school.

During the sessions, misconceptions about Islam and British Muslims were tackled, with the aim to give students an accurate understanding of Islam and distinguish fact from fiction. The assemblies focused on methods to try to prevent all forms of radicalisation and ways to tackle Islamophobia.

Vicky Bunter, academic team leader for religious studies and citizenship at Dowdales School, said: “Students were well prepared for the sessions, which was evident in the range and breadth of interesting and challenging questions that they asked. It was great to see and hear students chatting to Imran at break and lunchtime to ask him questions and thank him for coming into school.”

Mr Kotwal said: “I was very impressed with all of the students during my time at Dowdales. They demonstrated a high level of maturity and sensitivity when discussing the difficult topics of Islamophobia and radicalisation. The students were at all times highly respectful and their behaviour was exceptional.”

Since the visit, many staff have commented on how much they enjoyed the sessions and how they feel more knowledgeable and better equipped to challenge misconceptions about Islam.

Julie O’Connor, headteacher of Dowdales School, said: “The day was an extremely important part our SMSC and prevent programmes and has given students and staff a fantastic insight into the beliefs and values of the British Muslim community.”