Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes

The BBC has a rather opaque story on the “Trojan Horse” thingummy.

Head teachers claim there was an organised campaign to impose a “narrow, faith-based ideology” at some schools in Birmingham, Ofsted has said.

The watchdog has placed five of the city’s schools in special measures after “deeply worrying” findings.

It inspected 21 schools after an anonymous letter alleging a Muslim takeover plot was circulated.

It’s too bad they don’t just require state schools to be secular.

Sir Michael said teachers at some of the schools inspected had reported being unfairly treated due to their faith and gender.

He said inspectors had “uncovered evidence of unfair and opaque recruitment practices, including examples of relatives being appointed to unadvertised senior posts”.

“Although exam results are often good, the curriculum has become too narrow, reflecting the personal views of a small number of governors, rather than the wider community in Birmingham and beyond,” he said.

Funny, isn’t it, an opaque story talking about unfair and opaque recruitment practices in carefully opaque language. It’s opacity all the way down, and not very conducive to understanding.

Ofsted’s key findings at five inadequate schools

  • Nansen Primary was criticised for the leadership of the school as well as pupils’ behaviour. Ofsted said: “The governing body has removed some subjects, such as music, from the timetable.” It added that the school “does not prepare pupils adequately for life in modern Britain”.
  • Inspectors recommended Oldknow Academy was put in special measures despite being rated outstanding in some categories. The report said a small group of governors was “making significant changes to the ethos and culture of the academy without full consultation”. “They are endeavouring to promote a particular and narrow faith-based ideology in what is a maintained and non-faith academy,” it said.
  • Saltley School, previously rated good, was criticised in every area, including governance, teaching standards, pupils’ achievement, safety and leadership. Inspectors also criticised financial management at the school and relationships between senior staff and governors.
  • Ofsted found Park View School did not do enough to alert students to the risks of extremism. It said speakers invited to the school were not vetted and pupils were not taught about the safe use of the internet. Pupils are not given adequate preparation for living in a multi-cultural society, it said.
  • At Golden Hillock, inspectors concluded leaders and governors were “not doing enough to mitigate against cultural isolation”. Ofsted concluded it “could leave students vulnerable to the risk of marginalisation from wider British society”.

Yet more opacity.

Bhupinder Kondal, principal of Oldknow Academy, said she was removed from her post in January against her will.

Anderson Park head Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson said “none of the contents of the Trojan Horse letter came as a shock”.

Another head teacher, speaking anonymously, told the BBC they had been “bullied” into employing a senior member of staff with no experience.

Arshad Malik, whose son, Imran, attends Park View School, said he believed people were “trying to use this school to push their own agendas”.

“‎Inspectors came with loaded questions…This issue is a political football,” he said.

Gaafar Tariq, a taxi driver and father-of-five, has two children who attend Nansen Primary School.

The 47-year-old said: “I don’t think there’s any concern about extremism in this area and these reports prove it. I don’t see any problem with this school.”

They said they said they said.



  1. unity says

    Yes, there’s plenty of opacity here.

    A report on one primary school noted an unverified allegation by an unnamed teacher that a Muslim teacher had used the words “white prostitute” during a school assembly with no context given for this alleged remark, just that the person making the allegation thought this was inappropriate.

    This was leaked to a newspaper ahead of the publication of the report and inevitably became a headline claim that the school was teaching children that white women are prostitutes.

    What the media didn’t bother with was any kind of basic background research. The school in question is about 500 yards from a local park and main road where there have been longstanding issued with street prostitution and kerb-crawling, which could very well go some way to explaining the “white prostitute” comment, if only the agency that produced had bothered the clarify the context.

    What actually appears to have happened is some of these schools, which are community schools and not designated faith schools, were removed from local authority control at which point their conservative Muslim governors – the schools are in areas with a large Muslim population – took it upon themselves to turn their schools into faith schools by default.

    There’s no evidence of an actual plot or any direct Islamist influence/involvement, just a bunch of religious conservatives handed control of a few schools using their position on the governing bodies to push the schools in a conservative, religious, direction.

  2. Shatterface says

    This was leaked to a newspaper ahead of the publication of the report and inevitably became a headline claim that the school was teaching children that white women are prostitutes

    Somehow I doubt you’d be making such a generous interpretation if a teacher in a mainly white school referred to ‘black prostitutes’ – whether or not the local prostitutes were black.

  3. opposablethumbs says

    It’s too bad they don’t just require state schools to be secular.

    They should all be non-denominational, ffs. It is hypocritical to make these criticisms – even if they may be justified – while complacently allowing catholic, jewish, c o’ e, Vardy-creationist and all the other faith schools to go utterly unquestioned.

  4. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    One problem is the switch in Ofsted’s attitudes. A couple of years ago some of these schools were described as “outstanding”; now they say the schools need to be taken out of the control of the people who ran them. if they were so wrong then, why should we believe them now?

  5. johnthedrunkard says

    Were the schools under their current regimes back when Ofsted gave them positive ratings? And, of course, more time in place would mean more time to subvert the integrity of the schools and warp them into the desired form.

    I haven’t checked the full-text of the BBC, but I hope its noticed that NO reference to ‘Islam’ or ‘Muslims’ made it into the extracts Ophelia has included.

    I guess the BBC is ready to work in Spain.

  6. miraxpath says

    The issue with the inconsistency of the Ofsted reports is that the inspections were outsourced to companies which then employed islamist chumps like Ibrahim Hewitt and Tahir Aslam (no real educational qualifications apart from strutting around as MCB honchos) to be ofsted inspectors. There was probably some backscratching going on. Concerns raised by staff as far back as 2008 were ignored by both the local council and the DfE. This is real mess and Ofsted has decided to start an investigation as to why the earlier whistle blowers were ignored and has decided to stop outsourcing inspections.

    The Guardian’s coverage of this has been terrible and it seems that it is ok to betray every liberal principle in support of conservative theocrats , as long as they are “áuthentic” muslims.

    Unity is so wrong about the Telegraph’s coverage of this issue. The Telegraph has a wealth of details that a lot of Guardian types are in complete denial about and don’t engage with. The BHA has also been on the ball since a number of whistle blowers approached it with complaints.

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