UK & World News
Labour: Govt 'Negligent' On School Extremism
Labour has accused the Government of "gross negligence" for failing to address the issue of extremism in schools.
Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt will make the claim ahead of the publication of an inquiry into claims that Islamist extremists tried a so-called "Trojan Horse" takeover of more than 20 schools in Birmingham.
And his comments were echoed by shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, who said the affair showed the Government did not have a proper strategy to deal with extremism.
Appearing alongside Michael Gove at an education debate hosted by the Policy Exchange think tank†in London on Saturday, Mr Hunt demanded the Education Secretary appear in the House of Commons on Monday to answer questions on why he apparently did not act on warnings over the schools.
"Michael Gove's gross negligence comes at the cost of our children's education," Mr Hunt said.
"For years he has been warned that the lack of local oversight in our school system will damage education standards.
"We are now seeing the results: schooling skewed to prevent a broad and balanced education; gender discrimination amongst staff; children exposed to extremist views.
"Michael Gove was warned of these problems in 2010."
Ms Cooper said official figures showed spending on the Prevent initiative - set up to counter radicalisation - had fallen from £17m in 2010 to £1.7m last year.
She added that funding for police work tied to initiative had also fallen from £24m to £18.7m over the same period.
She said: "There is a much more serious failure by the whole Government to work seriously on preventing extremism.
"The political blame game between ministers must not be a distraction from getting such serious policies that affect our national security back on track."
Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered an inquiry into an apparent rift between Mr Gove and Theresa May, which emerged this week after a letter from the Home Secretary was published in which she questioned the Education Secretary's handling of alleged extremism in Birmingham schools.
A Home Office spokesman said: "Extremism anywhere in society is a serious problem and we are working together across government to deal with it.
"There is no difference between the Education Secretary and the Home Secretary who are both working energetically together to tackle the challenge posed by any form of extremism."
Some 21 schools in Birmingham have been the subject of an Ofsted investigation after a letter referred to an alleged plot by hardline Muslims to seize control of governing boards in the city.
Ofsted will publish the findings of its investigation next week, but one of the schools is expected to be found as "inadequate", with its management strongly criticised by inspectors.