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Christian school faces axe after claims of hitting children

DENIAL: Reverend Joseph and Rally Ibieke

A CHRISTIAN school, which teaches children who have fallen out of the traditional education system is fighting to stay open after the Department of Education (DoE) issued notification to withdraw its licence to teach.

Chysolyte Independent Christian School (CICS), based in Southwark, south London, has appealed against the ruling and will continue to hold classes until the issue goes before a tribunal next month.

The ruling was made after the DoE received complaints from three parents stating teachers, including the co-founder Rally Ikiebe, unlawfully hit their children whilst at the school.

The allegations led to Ikiebe being arrested at the school in August and taken to the police station, even though she has not been charged with any offence.

Rally Ikiebe, and her husband and co-founder Reverend Joseph Ikiebe have refuted the allegations. They insist they are a law abiding school, and that the complaints only started after they took steps to ensure parents paid school fees that were owing. Previously, they had allowed pupils to remain at the school, whether their parents paid the fees or not.

The Ikiebes said that they are passionate about helping children who the education system has given up on, to achieve. Mrs. Ikiebe explained: “From the beginning the objective has been to elevate the standard of African-Caribbean children because they were always depicted as no good, failures and no-hopers.”

METHODS

CICS started as a Saturday school in 1988. Parents loved Rev Joseph and Rally’s teaching methods so much they encouraged them to open a school. They did so in 1995 with just seven pupils. Now 16 years later, they occupy a building they moved to in 2001 and currently educate 38 pupils aged between 2 and 11 years of age.

Over the years CICS has seen 600 pupils pass through their classes and has witnessed numerous success stories. Mrs Ikiebe revealed that when the school started in 1995, one of the pupils had been on the verge of being excluded from a previous school. Noting that the child was very gifted, Mrs Ikiebe worked with him, and as a result he was able to get an assisted place into St Dunstan’s College, one of south London’s leading schools.
CICS has enjoyed several successes helping pupils get places at leading independent and grammar schools, including Dulwich College and Emmanuelle College.

Other former CICS pupils have gone on to universities and are pursuing careers in professions such as accountancy, law, politics, medicine and pastoral ministry.

Mrs Ikiebe explained: “The academic expectation at CICS is very high, and we find that our children respond to that. We promote self-discipline. We tell the children nobody believes in you anyway, so in addition to your academic excellence show that you are capable of some discipline because these are the things that will take you places.”

PRAISES

Despite the allegations levelled at the school, there are numerous parents, both past and present, willing to heap praises on the school’s educational standards. Donu Lawal, a businessman sent his children, now aged 21 and 16 to the school. His son is set to graduate in Pharmacy in 2013. He said: “I see Rev Joseph and Rally as people who love children and have a love for education. Their teaching methods are different from mainstream schools, and they do challenge children educationally.”

Other parents and pupils have praised at the schools teaching methods and the passion teachers have to ensure that their pupils learn.

Whilst awaiting the result of the appeal, Rev Joseph and Rally are holding onto their faith, and praying that they will win, so that they can continue helping black children to excel in education.

Visit www.chrysolyte.co.uk for more information about the school

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