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Council hires extra staff to probe ‘Islamisation by stealth’ claims at Birmingham schools

Council hires extra staff to probe ‘Islamisation by stealth’ claims at Birmingham schools

🕔01.Apr 2014

City council officials have been inundated with letters from Birmingham head teachers and governors concerned that their schools are at risk of being taken over by Muslim extremists.

Reaction to Operation Trojan Horse, an alleged stealth plot by hard-line Islamists to infiltrate secondary and primary schools, has been so overwhelming that the council is to recruit extra staff to investigate the claims being made.

Council leader Sir Albert Bore is understood to be in close contact with Education Secretary Michael Gove, who has asked to be kept informed about the investigation.

Sir Albert, council chief executive Mark Rogers and the Strategic Director of People, Peter Hay, have written to every head teacher in Birmingham promising to root out extremism in schools and appealing for anyone with further information to come forward.

It’s believed that as many as 12 schools are under investigation by Ofsted. It is claimed that non-Muslim staff are being put under pressure to leave through a dirty tricks campaign, and are replaced by extremists.

One of the schools named in a leaked document setting out the Trojan Horse plot, Park View Academy in Alum Rock, has been the subject of two Ofsted inspections this month.

Birmingham Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood, who is a Muslim, has called for a thorough investigation after claiming that some pupils were being “indoctrinated” at inner city schools.

Mr Mahmood told the Birmingham Mail he believed schools had been infiltrated by Salafis, militant Muslims who were trying to “import their views into classrooms and the day to day running of the school”.

The letter to head teachers from council leaders makes it clear that the allegations are being taken seriously and urges anyone with further information to come forward.

It states: “Over recent weeks, as a result of these matters, we have had a significant number of teachers, governors and parents write to us with past and present concerns about governance and leadership in schools and we are taking all of these very seriously.

“We will shortly announce details of some additional staffing to review all this material. Any further information will, of course, be welcome and considered in this process.

The letter sets out six aims of the council:

• We all want and expect exemplary standards of school governance and leadership for all schools within the city, whether maintained or not.

• The council does not tolerate bullying and intimidation and will vigorously enforce the polices it has to this effect.

• The council is wedded to equality of opportunity and fairness for all as part of its duties to employees, but also to ensure a fair Birmingham.

• We will review all matters of concern, and where people seek to whistle blow we will uphold the procedure.

• We will take very seriously all allegations or attempts to deny our children their right to the broad and balanced education they deserve and will oppose discrimination in all its forms.

• We will continuously assess our intelligence and use it to develop a dynamic action plan. We will use all the powers that we have, including our role in school improvement, and work with all our partners to ensure and, where necessary, rebuild the confidence of parents, children, staff and governors in the running of our schools.

The letter concludes: “The lack of a council comment on the defamatory matters contained in the Trojan Horse letters should not be misinterpreted as a disregard for these issues. We cannot and will not comment on such matters and our commitment to fairness to all schools and staff would be undermined by any engagement on or off the record with speculation.”

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