Trojan Horse: Three Birmingham Schools Release Ofsted Reports

3 June 2014, 18:06

Three schools in Birmingham have decided to published their Ofsted reports over the Trojan Horse allegations early.

They published letters from Ofsted, which all found governance and leadership to be either good or outstanding - the highest rating available - and concluding children-safeguarding standards were being met.

Ninestiles School - an Academy, in Acocks Green, Small Heath School, and Washwood Heath Academy, are the first to publish the results of their inspections, after the Education Secretary Michael Gove sent Ofsted in over the Trojan Horse allegations.

In all, 21 schools have been inspected after the so-called letter - now widely believed to be a hoax - referred to an alleged plot by hard-line Muslims to seize control of governing boards in the city, dubbed Operation Trojan Horse.

Meanwhile today, Park View Educational Trust (PVET) which has been the focus of the most damning allegations, issued a statement criticising "leaks'' of other unpublished Ofsteds being reported in the media, stating it was causing "unwarranted and unnecessary concern'' for children and parents.

For its part, Park View, which runs three other city schools, has denied any wrong-doing, with trust chairman Tahir Alam calling the allegations "a witch-hunt''.

Whatever the truth of the original letter, alleging the existence of a five-point plan to seize control of school governing boards by seeding them with hard-line Muslim governors, the fall-out caused Mr Gove in April to appoint as education commissioner Peter Clarke, the former head of the Met's counter-terror unit.

A separate over-arching report by the head of Ofsted and chief inspector of schools Sir Michael Wilshaw is now expected to be published next week, along with any remaining Ofsted reports for the individual schools concerned.

The Labour MP for Hodge Hill Liam Byrne, where many of the schools being probed are located, said the volume of leaks from those reports meant the entire investigation risked a descent into "complete shambles'', calling on the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted to publish their findings immediately.

Inspectors wrote to the three schools which today published their results on May 12.

At Ninestiles School in Acocks Green inspectors sent in by Mr Gove found children safeguarding requirements were being met, praising leadership and governance under executive principal Christine Quinn as "outstanding''.

Headteacher of Small Heath School, Peter Slough, was told there were "effective safeguarding procedures'' in his classrooms, while leadership and governance was also "outstanding''.

At Washwood Heath Academy, inspectors found governance and leadership to be "good'' adding students were "well informed'' both about other cultures and the risks of extremism and bullying, concluding pupils at the academy were well-rounded and believed it was "acceptable to be different''.

At Small Heath, inspectors praised the high level of tolerance, stating in their letter to the head: "A major strength of the school is that students value the differences between people of different beliefs, race and backgrounds.

``This has been achieved through a balanced curriculum for religious education and wide-ranging opportunities for personal development.''

Inspectors thought the school so good it went on to criticise local education authority Birmingham City Council because "it has not done enough to help the school share its good practice with other schools in the city''.

At nearby Washwood Heath, students were found to be tolerant and well-behaved while there was consistently ``strong leadership'' from headteacher Beverley Mabey.

Inspectors concluded: "They (students) know about risks related to religious extremism, sexual health, drug misuse, use of the internet and social media and different forms of bullying.

"Students are taught to respect the things that make people different such as sexual orientation, appearance, ability and race.

"Students say that it is acceptable to be different at the academy.''

Ofsted added the "executive headteacher, and key members of the board of governors, have provided a strong lead on issues of religious extremism''.

Numerous media reports, quoting anonymous sources, have claimed Ofsted is poised to place several Birmingham schools into special measures after inspections sparked by an unsigned letter purporting to contain details of the alleged takeover plot.

Claims have also emerged that concerns about the management of a school embroiled in the row were first raised with council officials as early as 2008.

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 by Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police.

Meanwhile, PVET which runs Park View Academy, Nansen Primary and Golden Hillock School, said it would not comment on speculative and "highly irresponsible'' reports in the media based on Ofsted reports which had not yet been published.

Highlighting the academic success of Park View's students, the trust said: "If the inspectors who carried out both inspections at Park View Academy have ignored these achievements then we have to conclude that they are working to a different set of criteria than is normally used for an Ofsted inspection.''

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