PM threatens snap Ofsted inspections over ‘Trojan Horse’ affair

 

State school teachers face the prospect of Ofsted coming in without warning to inspect their schools, in the wake of the so-called “Trojan Horse” affair.

With Ofsted’s report into alleged infiltration of Birmingham schools by hardline Muslims due to be published today, David Cameron has summoned an emergency meeting of the Extremism Taskforce and an impromptu ministerial meeting to discuss the affair.

He has also told the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, to consult the chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, on the implications of subjecting schools to sudden, unscheduled Ofsted inspections.

Mr Cameron said: “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.”

When Ofsted previously proposed no-notice inspections, in 2013, the idea was met with hostility from head teachers, who argued that it could make it impossible for them to ensure they were present on the day of an inspection.

The report will also reveal that some schools being investigated by officials attempted to cover up their activities, putting on “hastily arranged shows of cultural inclusivity”, including in one case a religious education lesson on Christianity.

The “Trojan Horse” allegations were behind the damaging public row between Mr Gove and his Cabinet rival Theresa May, which has cost the Home Secretary a much trusted aide while the Education Secretary has had to write letters of apology.

Mrs May will also have to defend herself before the Commons Home Affairs committee, whose chairman, Keith Vaz, has written to her demanding a full explanation. Mr Vaz has also said there is a “strong case” for demanding an appearance before the committee by Mrs May’s former spin doctor, Fiona Cunningham, who resigned over the weekend after a letter was leaked last week appearing to blame Mr Gove for the failure to act on claims that Muslim hardliners were trying to take control of Birmingham schools.

Yesterday Labour accused the Home Secretary of breaking the ministerial code “by writing and then authorising the publication” of the letter.

Ofsted’s report covers 21 Birmingham schools, three of which are understood to have been given a clean bill of health, while others are expected to lose their previous “excellent” ratings.

According to yesterday’s Sunday Times, a separate investigation by the Education Funding Agency has found that a maths teacher at one school segregated the pupils in his classroom, with girls sitting at the back with their heads covered. It was alleged that the same school, Oldknow Academy primary school, had organised three trips to Saudi Arabia exclusively for Muslim pupils, in what was described as “an extravagant use of public funds”.

Talking to The Times early in the week, Mr Gove accused Mrs May and the head of the Home Office’s counter-terrorism division, Charles Farr, of being reluctant to confront the issue.

In retaliation, Ms Cunningham – who is in a relationship with Mr Farr – took the extraordinary step of publishing the letter.

Mr Cameron then asked the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, to investigate. His findings have not been made public, but Downing Street insists that the “right action” has been taken in response.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Senior Research Fellow in Gender, Food and Resilient Communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...

Senior Research Fellow in Water and Resilient communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: Our team of leading academic...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Special Needs Teaching Assistants...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker