UK & World News

  • 9 June 2014, 14:02

'Trojan Horse' Schools In Special Measures

The education trust at the centre of the alleged "Trojan Horse" plot has hit back saying its schools "do not promote extremism" after they were placed in special measures.

David Hughes, vice-chairman of the Park View Educational Trust, said there would be a legal challenge to the move after three of its Birmingham schools were judge inadequate by Ofsted.

Park View Academy, its sister academy Golden Hillock and Nansen Primary School were three of five schools across the city placed in special measures by the Ofsted.

The inspectorate releasedreports on 21 schools across the city inspected after allegations of a Islamic fundamentalist takeover attempt.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday morning ahead of the official release of details Mr Hughes said he "wholeheartedly rejects" the findings.

He said the speed at which the schools had been condemned was "truly shocking" and added the trust would be looking to mount a legal challenge to the findings and insisted the inspections were carried out in a "climate of suspicion".

He said his schools "do not tolerate or promote extremism" and the inspection results and inquiry into Islamist extremism in Birmingham put Muslim children at "substantial risk of not being accepted".

Mr Hughes added: "Ofsted inspectors came to our schools looking for extremism, looking for segregation, looking for proof that our children have religion forced upon them as part of an Islamic plot."

Oldknow School, a primary school, and Saltley, a secondary school, which are overseen by Birmingham City Council have also been found to be in need of special measures.

Staff at Oldknow told inspectors they had been ordered to put on an Easter assembly and Christian activities when they discovered they were to be inspected.

Downing Street released findings of the key Ofsted reports on Sunday and announced David Cameron had ordered Michael Gove to start "dawn raid" inspections after schools were found to be covering up evidence of Islamist influence.

Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw has been tasked with looking into carrying out no notice "lightning checks" on any school and will also lay out new rules to guard against extremist takeovers, including tighter checks on school governors.

The developments come after a damaging spat between the Education Secretary and the Home Secretary over how the Government should deal with Islamic extremism.

In comments leaked to The Times newspaper last week, Michael Gove accused the Home Office of failing to properly tackle extremism - leaving it until it turned into terrorism.

Theresa May's camp responded by leaking a letter she had written to Michael Gove asking why his department had failed to act in 2010 when the allegations of Islamist infiltration in Birmingham schools had first been raised.

The row threatened to overshadow the Queen's Speech and angered Mr Cameron, who tasked Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood with investigating "who had said what to whom".

On Saturday, Mr Gove was told to apologise and Mrs May's aide, Fiona Cunningham, who was responsible for the publication of Mrs May's letter, was forced to resign.

Mr Goveis to make a statement on the events to the House of Commons on Monday afternoon.

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