Spending cuts have forced a £2m cut in funding for a scheme aimed at protecting pupils in Birmingham from being coerced into terrorism, MPs have heard.
Brigid Jones, the councillor in charge of children’s services at Birmingham City Council, said the PREVENT programme, which aims to protect young people from radicalisation, had suffered a £2m cut in the past two years.
Birmingham is at the centre of allegations claiming hard-line Islamists are plotting a takeover of some of its schools.
Councillor Jones, who was giving evidence to the Commons select committee on home affairs, said she had not been presented with any evidence of extremism in schools but added that the programme had suffered “very significant cuts in funding since 2012”.
She said the council did have its own programme aimed at combating both left- and right-wing extremism in schools, however.
She added that she personally would find it “absolutely abhorrent” if there was any segregation of boys and girls in schools with girls being made to sit at the back of the class, one of the claims made in reports by education standards watchdog Ofsted last week.
However, Lee Donaghy, assistant principal of Park View Academy, one of five schools declared “inadequate” by Ofsted as it investigated the allegations, said an Education Funding agency report had seen five classrooms where girls were made to sit behind the boys.
He said they had neglected to mention there were other classrooms where the boys sat behind the girls and that - in his class - they sat together at a table.