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Former Ofsted Chief Inspector to oversee city’s Trojan Horse response

Former Ofsted Chief Inspector to oversee city’s Trojan Horse response

🕔25.Sep 2014

Former Ofsted chief Sir Mike Tomlinson has been appointed Birmingham Education Commissioner, reports Paul Dale.

He will have responsibility for making sure recommendations arising from investigations into the Trojan Horse affair are delivered by the city council.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said Sir Mike’s role will be to make sure criticisms contained in the Kershaw and Clarke reports into Trojan Horse are addressed, while building resilience in the system as a whole.

Both reports highlighted actions by a small number of ultra-conservative Muslim governors to ‘Islamise’ non-faith schools in Birmingham. The investigations highlighted the council’s failure to intervene when the extent of infiltration became known for fear of being labelled racist.

The Education Commissioner will attend the fortnightly meetings of the ‘quartet’ – consisting of the leader of the council Sir Albert Bore, chief executive Mark Rogers, cabinet member for children and family services Brigid Jones, and strategic director for people Peter Hay – the team charged with driving through the improvements to children’s services.

Sir Mike’s terms of reference are:

  • To ensure that Birmingham city council implements a detailed improvement programme, and that change is delivered at pace.
  • To oversee a single integrated improvement plan in Birmingham, which will focus on making immediate improvements in those schools highlighted in the recent reports, and any others which may be vulnerable as well as embedding improvements into the council’s structures and building a credible and effective role for the council in supporting the city’s schools.
  • To hold senior council officers to account on achieving the deliverables, milestones and targets in the plan, and ensure that it has a strong operational focus.
  • To ensure that Birmingham city council prioritises safeguarding and governance concerns in the plan, and that effective whistleblowing processes are put in place.
  • To act as an internal challenger within the council, and carry out deeper investigations into areas requiring further consideration.
  • To consider and advise the Secretary of State on whether any structural changes are needed within the council in the longer term.

Sir Mike has had a long career in a wide range of education roles, including holding the office of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools (Ofsted) and chairing the Hackney Education Trust.

He will work closely with Sir Bob Kerslake’s review of Birmingham governance and with Lord Warner’s role as Commissioner for children’s services.

Birmingham city council chief executive Mark Rogers said: “The Education Secretary’s appointment of Sir Mike Tomlinson is a good decision for Birmingham. His experience and reputation give us confidence that we will be constructively supported and challenged in our efforts to move forward at pace from the recent controversies.

“We have already had a positive experience of working with our Safeguarding Commissioner Lord Warner, and we look forward to an equally productive relationship with Sir Mike in his new role.”

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