'Gross negligence': Tristram Hunt challenges Gove's handling of Trojan Horse schools crisis


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The Independent Online

Labour will today charge Education Secretary Michael Gove with “gross negligence” over his handling of the Birmingham “Trojan Horse” investigation into an alleged hard-line Islamic takeover of schools.

Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt will demand in a speech this morning that Mr Gove gives an explanation to MPs on Monday as to why he failed to act on a warning over the situation four years ago.

Speaking to the Policy Exchange think tank, which will also be addressed by Mr Gove, he will say: “Michael Gove’s gross negligence comes at the cost of our children’s education.”

A Birmingham head teacher, Tim Boyes, revealed last week that he had warned the then-Schools Minister Lord Hill about hardline Islamists taking over city schools at a meeting in 2010. However, it was not until the “Trojan Horse” letter - widely thought to be a fake - earlier this year that the allegation was taken seriously.

“He [Mr Gove] chose not to act and is refusing to answer questions,” Mr Hunt will say. “He must come to the Commons on Monday and place on record why he refused to act on warnings.

“The horse has bolted. For too many children the damage to their education has already been done, but by refusing to act he is increasing exposure to risk.”

In his speech, Mr Hunt will also announce Labour plans to give the education standards watchdog a firm directive to ensure schools are delivering a broad and balanced education in the wake of claims that some of the schools concerned discriminated against girls.

The Department for Education has said that the meeting between Mr Boyes and Lord Hill was a wide-ranging discussion of several issues.

Meanwhile, Ofsted is expected to publish the results of inspections of 21 schools it visited following the allegations on Monday. Six are set to be declared failing, a further 12 given a written warning as to the competence of their governing bodies and three a clean bill of health.

Mr Gove is expected to make a statement following the publication of the reports.