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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people Ex-wife of John Lennon has died at her home in Spain
Sport
Chelsea
football
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Imperial College London: Safety Training Administrator

£25,880 – £28,610 per annum: Imperial College London: Imperial College London ...

University College London: Client Platform Support Officer

£26,976 - £31,614 per annum: University College London: UCL Information Servic...

Guru Careers: Instructional Designer / e-Learning Designer

£30 - 32k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking an Instructional / e-Learning De...

Recruitment Genius: Schools Education & Careers Executive

£30500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Schools Education & Careers Executive ...

Day In a Page

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public