Latest Public Sector News

09.06.14

Ofsted to publish reports on ‘Trojan Horse’ schools

Ofsted will publish reports later today triggered by an alleged operation by Muslim fundamentalists to “take over” state schools in Birmingham.

The government received the so-called ‘Trojan Horse’ letter in late 2013, which claimed to be a template illustrating how state schools could be taken over and pushed into adopting a more Islamic culture. Since then the Department of Education and Ofsted have taken action to investigate the allegations.

Ahead of the publication of the reports, which Ofsted has confirmed will occur at midday, the prime minister has instructed education secretary Michael Gove to ask chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw to report back on the ‘practicalities’ of allowing any school to be inspected at no notice.

This comes after findings from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) reports suggest that notice periods were used in schools in Birmingham to “put on hastily arranged shows of cultural inclusivity”.

In its report, the EFA found that previous inspections of five of the Trojan Horse schools (which found them good or outstanding) in 2012 and 2013 had been given one to two days’ notice. This time round, the schools were given 30 minutes or less notice via phone. They were found inadequate and may be placed in special measures.

A special meeting of the government’s Extremism Taskforce (ETF) has been called to discuss the implications arising from the findings of the Ofsted review and the wider situation in Birmingham.

David Cameron told the press: “Protecting our children is one of the first duties of government and that is why the issue of alleged Islamist extremism in Birmingham schools demands a robust response.

“The education secretary will now ask Sir Michael Wilshaw to look into allowing any school to be inspected at no notice, stopping schools having the opportunity to cover up activities which have no place in our society.”

Birmingham Perry Barr Labour MP Khalid Mahmood said it was vital that the inquiries dealt with. He added: “There is a significant grooming going on in these schools away from the ethos and the school of thought of the parents of these children.”

In the last week, the education secretary and the home secretary, Theresa May, have been involved in a dispute over the government's response to the Birmingham allegations, which has led to the resignation of May's special adviser and an apology from Gove. However, both ministers will be at today's special meeting, Downing Street has confirmed.

[UPDATE: Ofsted has published its 21 reports, and it has been confirmed that Park View Educational Trust's three schools Park View, Golden Hillock and Nansen have all been placed in special measures. 

But David Hughes, Park View Educational Trust's vice chairman, said the trust will be challenging the reports, claiming that Ofsted had come to its schools "looking for extremism". 

He said: “Ofsted inspectors came to our schools looking for extremism, looking for segregation, looking for proof that our children have religion forced upon them as part of an Islamic plot. The Ofsted reports find absolutely no evidence of this, because this is categorically not what is happening at our schools.  

“Our schools do not tolerate or promote extremism of any kind. We will now be challenging these reports through appropriate legal channels.”] 

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