Council to investigate how names of primary school children as young as nine 'at risk of radicalisation' became public

Social cohesion programme conducted at the school was 'a disaster from start to finish'

Richard Garner
Education Editor
Monday 30 November 2015 18:33
Greenleaf Primary School in Waltham Forest, east London
Greenleaf Primary School in Waltham Forest, east London

A council is carrying out an investigation into how the names of seven primary school pupils thought to be in danger of radicalisation became public.

Greenleaf Primary School in Waltham Forest, east London, sent out details of correspondence between it and the council following a controversial social cohesion programme conducted at the school as a result of a Freedom of Information request from a parent.

It redacted the the full name of a child and first names of several others because it realised the information would be sensitive.

However, a “third party” then manipulated the file with the names on so that they became visible again, according to Waltham Forest Council.

“Someone has then used their own methods to obtain all of the children’s full names, rather than alert the school or the council that there was a problem with the information received.”

The council is now mounting a full investigation into what happened and says it is confident legal steps it has taken have now secured all the copies of the information.

The controversy arose because of questions given to nine to 11-year-olds as part of the Building Resilience through Integration and Trust - a government-backed scheme aimed at combating radicalisation and fostering community cohesion.

Questions asked of the pupils included: *is it better to be a dead hero than live impassively?,

*If a student was making fun of my race or religion I would try to make them stop even if it meant hurting them.

*God has a purpose for me.

Haras Ahmed, the parent who made the FOI request, told the BBC online news service that the whole programme had been a “disaster from start to finish”.

He said the names had been released in an “insensitive way”, adding: “Any parent at the school - whether they are of a Muslim faith or non-Muslim or no faith- would be appalled by their children’s data, such sensitive data, being released to a member of the public.”

A spokesman for the council said: “On behalf of the school, the council has taken legal steps to secure all copies of the information. The school has informed the families affected of the action that the council is taking on its behalf and that the council has launched a full investigation.”