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Council abandons plan to publish Trojan Horse probe after lawyers intervene

Council abandons plan to publish Trojan Horse probe after lawyers intervene

🕔30.May 2014

An investigation into allegations that Birmingham schools are being taken over by hardline Muslim governors and teachers will not be published as planned next week after the city council was warned by lawyers to sit on the report.

The social cohesion and community safety and education and vulnerable children scrutiny committees were due to debate in public an interim report from Ian Kershaw, the independent Chief Advisor appointed by the council to investigate the Trojan Horse claims.

But the meeting has been cancelled following legal advice that publication and discussion of Mr Kershaw’s interim findings could be damaging to other investigations into Trojan Horse.

As well as Mr Kershaw’s deliberations, the allegations are also subject to a probe led by Education commissioner Peter Clarke, a former Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism commander.

Education watchdog Ofsted is also yet to publish its analysis of 21 Birmingham schools at the centre of the Trojan Horse claims.

Scrutiny committee chairmen Anita Ward and Waseem Zaffar issued the following statement: “Today, following very careful consideration of the stage that the investigation has reached and after being informed of legal advice given to the independent chief advisor, we have taken the decision to cancel this meeting.

“Whilst naturally disappointed that we will not be proceeding, we are nonetheless convinced that to ask for an interim report from Ian Kershaw from which we – or others – might seek to draw any conclusions, however qualified or provisional, would be both premature and potentially damaging to the completion of an independent investigation.

“We have no wish to do anything at this time that could prejudge – or, at the very least, be perceived to prejudge – the outcomes of Mr Kershaw’s work.

“We have decided, therefore, in the best interests of the children and young people of  the schools concerned, that we will not risk undermining the robust and arms-length process that has been put in place to reach an objective understanding of what has and hasn’t been occurring in some of our schools.

“With this in mind, we are content to stand down the Joint Scrutiny Board meeting at this stage and await further progress in the investigations by Ian Kershaw and the Secretary of State’s Education Commissioner, Peter Clarke.

“We remain absolutely committed to the role of scrutiny in considering this investigation and are sure you will understand that we want to do so on the basis of the best possible evidence.”

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