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School takes on Telegraph as ‘Trojan Horse’ teachers go back into classroom

School takes on Telegraph as ‘Trojan Horse’ teachers go back into classroom

🕔28.Jul 2015

Two senior teachers accused of being involved in the Trojan Horse plot to Islamise Birmingham schools have returned to the academy at the centre of the claims, reports Paul Dale.

Park View School assistant principal, Shakeel Akhtar, and Saqib Malik. director of student progress, are back in the classroom pending a professional standards hearing.

A claim that the two are in breach of a “banning order” was firmly rejected by Waheed Saleem, former chair of the Park View School governing body and currently chair of the CORE Educational Trust.

Mr Saleem said the two teachers were subject to interim prohibition orders (IPOs) but he insisted they had not been “banned” and their presence at the school was approved by the Department for Education.

They were waiting to attend a hearing at the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).

Mr Saleem described an article in the Sunday Telegraph claiming that the two teachers had been reinstated “despite being banned from the teaching profession” as “inaccurate”.

Mr Saleem said:

The staff members are subject to IPOs and are awaiting a NCTL hearing.

So they have never been banned.

They are in school and subject to supervision which was agreed by the DfE and NCTL.

Mr Saleem said the CORE Educational Trust had written to the Sunday Telegraph to complain about the article.

A spokesman for Park View School claimed the article contained “a significant number of inaccuracies”.

The spokesman added:

The teachers are not banned. They are subject to IPOs until their cases are heard and the evidence of allegations made against them is assessed by a panel.

Their cases are yet to be heard by the NCTL. The two staff members have been attending the academy in accordance with understanding and authorisation from the NCTL. The arrangements have been fully risk assessed in order to comply with strict criteria.

An advice note to schools published by the Department for Education states that a prohibition order means that the “person concerned is not allowed to undertake unsupervised teaching work in schools” and that such an order is “likely to be appropriate when the behaviour of the person concerned has been fundamentally incompatible with being a teacher”.

It’s believed more than a dozen teachers at Birmingham schools investigated during the Trojan Horse affair are subject to interim prohibition orders and are awaiting dates for NCTL hearings.

More than a year after publication of an official report into Trojan Horse by former police chief Peter Clarke, there have still been no NCTL hearings into the conduct of any of the teachers or governors allegedly involved in the plot.

Under Department for Education rules teachers on interim prohibition orders are allowed to work as long as they are supervised.

In his report, which was accepted by the DfE and Birmingham city council, Mr Clarke found clear evidence of:

…co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained action, carried out by a number of associated individuals, to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos into a few schools in Birmingham.

The report continued:

This has been achieved by gaining influence on the governing bodies, installing sympathetic headteachers or senior members of staff, appointing like-minded people to key positions, and seeking to remove headteachers they do not feel to be sufficiently compliant.

In his report Mr Clarke listed a series of allegations about events at Park View School, which is soon to be re-named Rockwood Academy. He also pointed out that the Trust as constituted at the time had disputed “most, if not all” of the following claims:

  • IT technicians recording what appeared to be Al Qaeda terrorist videos into a DVD format.
  • An established system of prefects, which some staff felt were trained almost as religious and moral police, reporting on pupils who offended against Islam.
  • A proposal for teaching about Saudi Arabia to be included in the citizenship curriculum (despite very few, if any, pupils having a Saudi Arabian background).
  • The only three staff allowed to deliver Sex and Relationships Education to boys refusing to discuss AIDS on the basis that a good Muslim only had sex with his wife and therefore did not need to know about safe sex.
  • Anti-American assemblies.
  • An assembly where pupils were told that if they did not pray they were worse than a kaffir (a derogatory term for non-Muslims), supported by a poster with the same message.
  • Anti-Christian and anti-Israeli indoctrination of children at assembly assemblies led by speakers known to extol extremist views.

A spokesman for Park View School said:

There is also no evidence of “thousands of extremist, bigoted and anti-Western messages” on the discussion group referred to in the [Sunday Telegraph] article.

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