Trojan Horse schools: 'British values' must be promoted in the classroom, says Michael Gove

Ofsted finds 'culture of fear and intimidation'

Education Editor

Schools will be told they must promote “British values” in the classroom in the wake of the Birmingham “Trojan Horse” investigation into allegations of a takeover of the city’s schools by hard-line Islamists.

Education Secretary Michael Gove made the pledge after chief schools inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw warned the activities of some hard-line Muslim governors had led to a culture of fear and intimidation being rife in some of the schools inspected as a result of the investigation,

The head of education standards watchdog Ofsted said its inquiries had produced evidence that there was “an organised campaign to target certain schools in Birmingham in order to alter their character and ethos”.

Yesterday, as a result of Sir Michael’s findings, Education Secretary Michael Gove announced a series of measures to combat the growing “Islamification” of some of the schools concerned- including requiring schools to encourage the promotion of “fundamental British values” in the classroom.

The move immediately sparked controversy with Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt arguing: “Amongst the greatest of British values is an education system which welcomes and integrates migrant communities, builds successful citizens in a multi-cultural society, secures safety and high standards for all and you are failing do so.”

In a statement put out on Monday night, the Department for Education said:  “We want to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”

At present, there was only a requirement on independent schools such as academies and free schools that they should ensure pupils “respect” British values.

Discussions have already started with Ofsted to ensure they consider how effectively schools are introducing the concept in all future inspections - and agreement will be reached on how inspectors can assess how well they are performing this functions.  The new regulations will come into force in September.

Attempts to define British values have proved difficult in the past with then Prime Minister Gordon Brown having to drop an idea to have a national day set aside to celebrate Britishness.

On Monday Ofsted published the reports of schools inspected as a result of the “Trojan Horse” allegations. Five were declared inadequate, 11 told they need to improve and four  given a clean of health.  One had already been declared inadequate before the inspections started.

The five declared inadequate - four of which are academies - are Park View, Golden Hillock and Nansen primary, all run by the Park View Educational Trust, Oldknow - also a primary academy - and Saltley, a local authority comprehensive.  A sixth, Alston primary, had already been declared inadequate before the Trojan Horse inquiry.

The inspections were ordered by Mr Gove after the infamous “Trojan Horse” letter became public. It indicated there was a plot by hard-line Islamists to take over the running of Birmingham schools.  Although widely regarded as a fake, it is now believed to have been written by someone who wanted to draw attention to the problem.

The schools judged inadequate rejected Ofsted’s findings with the Park View Educational Trust, responsible for three of them, indicating it would take legal action to declare the reports null and void.

Dave Hughes, vice-chairman of the Trust, said: “Our schools do not tolerate or promote extremism of any kind.

“We believe the decision to place our schools in special measures was the result of undue political influence - to allow the Secretary of State to interfere in their running.”

Mark Rogers, Birmingham City Council’s chief executive, said Ofsted had uncovered “poor governance - I have yet to hear anyone suggest that anyone has broken the law.”

Mr Gove, however, told the four academies involved he is minded to terminate their agreements - in effect sacking the trusts who run them and imposing his own new sponsors on the schools. They have until July 4 to put their houses in order. Alternative sponsors are understood to be waiting in the wings, though, if he does

In the case of the  local authority school, the governors will be sacked and an interim board sent in to run the school. The school already declared inadequate will be turned into an academy.

Mr Gove told MPs that in one school terms such as “white prostitute” - unsuitable for primary pupils to hear - were used in an assembly run exclusively by Muslim staff.

In another, the school invited an outside speaker Sheikh Shady al-Suleiman despite the fact he had been reported to say: “Give victory to the Muslims in Afghanistan .. give victory to all the Mujahideen all over the world.  Oh Allah, prepare us for the jihad.”

The Ofsted report on one of the schools, Saltley, also revealed how governors had hired private investigators to go through senior staff members’ emails.

Mr Gove announced he was setting up an inquiry - to be conducted by the DfE’s Permanent Secretary - to look at how his department had handled the affair in the wake of claims it had been told of the problem four years ago..

He also announced teachers who invited extremist speakers into a school would be barred from the profession for life - and said new tough regulations allowing governors to be banned for life if they promoted extremism would also be introduced. The prospect of no notice inspections was also held out.

In his report, Sir Michael said: “Some headteachers, including those with a proud record of raising standards, said they have been marginalised or forced out of their jobs.

“As a result some schools previously judged to be good or outstanding have experienced high levels of staff turbulence, low staff morale and a rapid decline in their overall effectiveness.”

He added: “In several schools there has been a breakdown in trust between governors and staff, including senior staff.  Many staff and some headteachers told Her Majesty’s Inspectors that they were frightened of expressing views contrary to those promoted by governors.

“In one school, a school leader was so anxious about the consequences of speaking to Her Majesty’s Inspectors that a meeting had to be arranged in a supermarket car park.”

Sir Michael added that the curriculum in some of the schools was “too narrow” and that boys and girls were not treated equally.

“For example, in one school, some members of staff actively discourage girls from speaking to boys and from taking part in extra-curricular activities and visits,” he said.  “In another, music has been removed from the curriculum against the wishes of pupils.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “The reports reveal weaknesses in oversight, governance and support.

“Let us be clear these findings are serious if isolated.  The majority of schools inspected have been cleared of any serious failings.  Nonetheless, unacceptable practice has been reported.

“Given that autonomy has actually been encouraged and vigilance relaxed, in all but the most serious cases schools should first be offered the chance to put their own house in order.”

What the report found

Nansen primary school

Pupils have limited knowledge of any religion other than Islam, according to the report.

It says, too, that the governing body and senior leaders at the school do not adopt effective strategies to develop pupil awareness of the risks of extremism and that “governance, safety, pupils’ cultural development, equal opportunities and the teaching of religious education are all inadequate”.

It says the academy has been hampered by being led by two acting principals since it was established.

The school said it was taking steps to improve music education - and that the children who had complained were getting extra maths and English lessons to prepare for national curriculum tests,

Saltley School and Specialist Science College

Many of the school’s governors refuse to accept that the school is in a state of crisis, says the report.

“The governing body interferes with the day-to-day running of the school and undermines the work of senior leaders,” it says.

It is particularly critical of what it calls the unwise spending of the school budget; paying private investigators to investigate the emails of senior staff and paying for meals in restaurants.

It adds: “The chair and vice-chair of the governing body are unaware that staff are divided, that morale is low and that an increasing number of staff have decided to leave."

The school is ranked inadequate for all four categories inspected: teaching quality, pupil performance, behaviour and leadership.

Oldknow Primary Academy

A small group of governors is making significant changes to the ethos and culture of the academy without full consultation, says the report.

“They are endeavouring to promote a particular and narrow faith-based ideology in what is a maintained and non-faith academy,” it adds. “Many members of staff are afraid to speak out against the changes taking place in the academy.”

An urgent check on the suitability of governors to continue in their positions is recommended.

Meanwhile, the curriculum is said to be inadequate because it does not promote tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions.

A special Christmas assembly was cancelled and governors arranged a subsidised trip to Saudi Arabia just for Muslim pupils and staff. A madrasa - paid for from its own budget - is being established in the school.

It was rated inadequate for behaviour and governance, but still outstanding for pupil achievement and teaching quality.    

Park View School Academy of Mathematics and Science

The report dismisses efforts to raise students’ awareness of extremism as “inadequate”, adding that external speakers had not been vetted properly.

“Students are not taught citizenship well enough or prepared properly for life in a multi-cultural and diverse society,” it adds.

Significant numbers of staff, it says, said they had no confidence in either senior leaders or governors.

Boys and girls, it added, were taught separately in religious education and personal development lessons. “In a mixed-sex school, this is a missed opportunity for girls and boys to share opinions and discuss together some important matters that are part of their daily lives,” it adds. However, the school was rated “good” for pupil achievement and the quality of teaching.

Golden Hillock school

Inspectors concluded that “too little is done to keep students safe from the risks associated with extremist views”.

They also said that there was a “perceived unfairness and lack of transparency” over appointments to the school and female members of staff had said they felt intimidated about raising issues with the senior management.

School leaders and governors are “not doing enough to mitigate against cultural isolation”.

The governing body is described as weak and meets infrequently. The school, one of three run by the Park View Educational Trust to be declared inadequate, is challenging the report’s findings.

Getting tough: Gove's plan

* Four academies face the termination of their operating agreements.

* All schools required to encourage British values.

* Teachers who bring in extremist speakers are to be banned from the profession.

* Inquiry into Department for Education following claims that ministers were alerted four years ago.

* All schools could face unannounced inspections.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
scienceBumping fists rather than shaking hands could reduce the spread of infectious diseases, it is claimed
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth Games
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + ents
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Chemistry Teacher

£90 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Outstanding Teaching Assistants needed f...

Primary Teacher EYFS, KS1 and KS2

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are urgentl...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried