July 22, 2014

A leaked report into the so-called “Trojan Horse” plot has found evidence there was an agenda to introduce “an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos” into some Birmingham schools. The report, revealed in The Guardian, was ordered by the government after claims some Muslim groups were trying to take control in some schools. The Department for Education (DfE) has said it will not comment on the leaks.

We must acknowledge today that Ian Kershaw’s report shows we have serious governance issues in a small number of schools in east Birmingham because of serious malpractice by members of governing bodies. This has been compounded by the inability of head teachers and other governors to counter this behaviour and by the failure of the city council to intervene to instil proper governance.

The government’s report was compiled by retired senior police officer Peter Clarke, the former head of the Met Police’s counter-terrorism unit. It is due to be published next week. It says he found evidence of “sustained and co-ordinated agenda to impose upon children in a number of Birmingham schools the segregationist attitudes and practices of a hard-line and politicised strain of Sunni Islam”. He also found evidence of a “co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos into some schools in the city”.

A spokesman for the DfE said: “The allegations made in relation to some schools in Birmingham are very serious and we are investigating all evidence put to us in conjunction with Ofsted and Birmingham City Council.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said his union was disturbed by the Clarke review findings but not surprised.

On Tuesday, the board of trustees resigned at Park View Education Trust, which has been at the centre of claims, stating they had been the victims of a “co-ordinated and vicious” attack. The trust has been the focus of allegations made in the anonymous Trojan Horse letter alleging the existence of a clique of hard-line Muslims attempting to seize control of Birmingham schools. The origin of the letter and the intentions behind it has never been determined.

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