Trojan Horse leaked report found 'aggressive Islamist ethos in some Birmingham schools'
The report is due to be published today
Heather Saul is a digital reporter for The Independent, currently working on the People desk. She has written news and features across a number of topics, paying particular attention to the activities of Isis and events in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Friday 18 July 2014
An inquiry into claims that hardline Muslim groups were attempting to take control of a number of schools caught up in the Trojan Horse scandal in Birmingham is to be published later today.
A leaked draft of a Government-ordered report by Peter Clarke, the former head of the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism unit, allegedly found evidence of "co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos into some schools in the city", The Guardian has reported.
Birmingham City Council is releasing its own report later today.
The probe was commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) to investigate over 20 city schools and has been looking at the background behind the key allegation that a clique of governors was attempting to seize control of schools, and force out unco-operative headteachers.
According to the newspaper, the document shows a "sustained and co-ordinated agenda to impose upon children in a number of Birmingham schools the segregationist attitudes and practices of a hardline and politicised strain of Sunni Islam".
Mr Clarke recommends a tightening of the rules around academies' governance monitoring, the setting up of academies, and the establishment of academy chains, according to reports.
The report, commissioned by former Education Secretary Michael Gove, also apparently recommends greater powers for the Secretary of State to be able to block specific individuals from managing schools.
Earlier this year, Ofsted investigated 21 schools over the allegations, placing five into special measures, and leading Chief Inspector of Schools Sir Michael Wilshaw to conclude "a culture of fear and intimidation has developed in some of the schools", while safeguarding pupils against the risk of extremism was found to be lax in many classrooms.
Video: Wilshaw - 'a culture of fear and intimidation'
The Education Funding Agency has also investigated, while both the council's and the formal publication of Mr Clarke's report are now imminent.
On Tuesday, Mr Tahir Alam resigned along with the entire trust board at Park View Educational Trust, but said he was "proud" of the trust's achievements raising education standards and claimed Park View had been victim of "a vicious and co-ordinated offensive against the trust and its schools".
The trust's schools - Park View Academy, Nansen Primary and Golden Hillock - were three of five city schools placed in special measures.
A DfE spokesman said it did not comment on leaks but added: "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.
"In June, Ofsted identified concerns at a number of schools and action has been taken.
"Schools that are proven to have failed and without the ability to improve will be taken over and put under new leadership, and any school could now be subject to rigorous on-the-spot investigations with no advance warning.
The spokesman said the Clarke report would be published "shortly", adding: "It is absolutely vital this investigation is carried out impartially, without pre-judgment."
"It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."
Additional reporting by Press Association
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