UK & World News
'Muslim School Plot': Governor Slams Ofsted
A governor of a Birmingham school under investigation over allegations of an Islamist takeover plot is questioning the fairness of recent Ofsted inspections.
Up to 18 schools are being looked at by the education watchdog amid allegations that hard-line Muslims are trying to seize control of schools in the city.
The man, who wants to remain anonymous, told Sky News he believed inspectors had come into the school with preconceptions about education there.
"The questioning was very inappropriate compared to a normal Ofsted. They asked us, on both occasions, 'If a child is gay, what would you do?' and questions like that were pushed to a long duration.
"One other question was about who leads the prayers. 'Why do you have prayers?' ... They were more focused on specific religious aspects within the school, not with the day-to-day running, safeguarding and the performance of the school."
Around 25 schools in Birmingham are also being investigated by the city council and the Department for Education.
Their inquiries come after an unsigned, undated letter was published claiming to outline "Operation Trojan Horse", a blueprint to help conservative Muslims take control of schools.
The allegations include gender segregation in schools, discrimination against non-Muslim staff and pupils, and the introduction of Islamic ideologies into the curriculum.
The governor, from an unnamed school, also said that if education in schools had been tweaked, it may have been because they had the freedom to do so when becoming academies.
He said: "The whole purpose of academies is to give more flexibility to schools, so if schools choose to, depending on their demographic, to be more Christian, Islam, Sikh, or have more Arabic classes ... the flexibility is there because of the model.
"You can't really condemn the schools for what they're allowed to do."
The head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, is expected to visit Birmingham to take personal charge and finalise reports of the inspections before their publication.
Chris Keates, from the teaching union the NASUWT, says there should not be three separate investigations and that bringing Sir Michael Wilshaw in was the wrong approach
She said: "What you actually need is not an approach that is starting from the point of view of trying to find fault with schools. Ofsted's reputation with schools is one of creating a climate of fear and it's a punitive reputation.
"People need to go in with an open mind ... We need a clear investigation that actually is going to get to the bottom of what are the facts of the situation. All we have had so far is a lot of speculation and now numerous investigations."
The Ofsted reports are due at the beginning of May while the outcome of the investigations being carried out by Birmingham City Council and the Department of Education are expected before the end of July.