Trojan Horse: Ofsted Reports Put Five Schools In Special Measures
9 June 2014, 16:38
Ofsted placed five Birmingham schools into special measures in the wake of the "Trojan Horse'' allegations, as it issued a damning verdict on the City Council too.
Inspections conducted following claims of a takeover plot by hardline Muslims found that a "culture of fear and intimidation'' has developed in some schools and, in several, governors exerted "inappropriate influence'' over how they are being run.
In an advice note to Education Secretary Michael Gove outlining the findings, Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw also warned that Birmingham City Council had failed to support a number of schools in the area in their efforts to protect pupils from the "risks of radicalisation and extremism''.
Some headteachers told inspectors that there had been an organised campaign to target certain schools in the city to change their "character and ethos'', Sir Michael said.
He concluded: "In several of the schools inspected, children are being badly prepared for life in modern Britain.''
Ofsted published the findings of its visits to 21 schools, all inspected after a letter - now widely believed to be a hoax - came to light, which referred to an alleged plot by hardline Muslims to seize control of a number of school governing boards in Birmingham.
The five placed in special measures as a result of the recent inspections are Golden Hillock School, Nansen Primary School, Park View Academy - all run by the Park View Educational Trust (PVET) - Oldknow Academy and Saltley School. A sixth - Alston Primary - was already in special measures.
The Trojan Horse letter, which was unsigned, undated and first sent to council officials and teaching unions late last year, has sparked several separate investigations, including inquiries by Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police, the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted.
In his note to Mr Gove, Sir Michael said that some headteachers revealed that they had been marginalised or forced out of their jobs.
Many school staff were frightened of expressing views that went against those that were promoted by their school's governors. In one case, a school leader was so worried about talking to inspectors that they had to arrange a meeting in a supermarket car park.
Sir Michael's note says: "Staff and some headteachers variously described feeling 'intimidated', 'undermined' or 'bullied' by governors, and sometimes by senior staff, into making changes they did not support.
"Others testified that they have been treated unfairly because of their gender or religious belief. For example, in one school, female members of staff complained to Her Majesty's Inspectors that they were intimidated by the way some male members of the school community spoke to them.''
Read Birmingham City Council's response to the Ofsted reports: