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Teachers facing ‘death threats’ in Trojan Horse it’s OK to be gay row

Teachers facing ‘death threats’ in Trojan Horse it’s OK to be gay row

🕔04.May 2015

Trojan Horse, the highly toxic issue Birmingham city council hoped had gone away, is back with a bang following claims that teachers who tell children it is alright to be gay have suffered death threats from Muslim radicals.

Allegations of grisly intimidation with dismembered dogs and cats being tied to railings and thrown into the playgrounds of inner city schools were made at the National Association of Head Teachers conference on Sunday.

One head at a Birmingham school said teachers were warned on Facebook they would be shot if they taught children that being gay was normal and petitions were circulating protesting at staff teaching about homophobia and tolerance of homosexuality.

Speakers at the conference accused Birmingham city council of failing to implement recommendations from the Clarke report into Trojan Horse for tighter governance of schools, which were all accepted by the Government.

Despite assurances given at the time, governors at the Trojan Horse schools who attempted to impose an ultra-conservative Islamic ethos on pupils have not been banned from being governors and there is no central database to prevent them taking up a similar role at other schools, it was claimed at the conference.

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, head of Anderton Park primary school in Birmingham, told the conference: “Trojan Horse has not gone away. Those of us who were involved, we knew it was the tip of the iceberg.

“We still have dead animals hung on the gates of schools, dismembered cats in playgrounds. We have petitions outside schools, objecting to teachers teaching against homophobia.”

Birmingham city council chief executive Mark Rogers sounded a cautionary note.

He told Chamberlain Files he did not believe Ms Hewitt-Clarkson had raised claims of death threats and allegations about dead animals with the local authority, but promised to investigate the claims as soon as possible.

Criticising the council directly, Ms Hewitt-Clarkson said: “All the behaviours and things we saw before are still there. So to have promises that have been broken, not followed through, are absolutely unhelpful, unsupportive and have left open gaps for certain individuals to start up again.”

Speaking after the debate Ms Hewitt-Clarkson told the Guardian newspaper she was “not necessarily” talking about incidents at her school, but was making a general comment in her capacity as an NAHT representative.

She said a death threat had been made against her on Facebook saying: “Any headteacher who teaches my children it’s all right to be gay will be at the end of my shotgun.”

Alison Marshall, who seconded a motion calling for a database of banned governors, said: “Our members are yet again giving evidence of appalling acts of radicalisation. Some of these members are truly broken, and emotionally it’s been very painful. And yet despite all the evidence we have we are faced with a situation where not one single governor implicated in the Trojan Horse scandal has been investigated or even banned”.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan told The Times that her department was working with Birmingham city council to tackle Trojan Horse issues and support head teachers.

She said: This is a reminder that this is not going to be solved overnight.”

She described those behind the latest attacks as “determined people who may launch a sustained campaign”.

In his investigation into Trojan Horse, former Metropolitan Police counter-terror commander Peter Clarke found children in Birmingham to have been the victims of “coordinated, deliberate and sustained action” to introduce an “intolerant and aggressive” Islamist ethos into their schools.

It was possible Muslim children subjected to extreme social conservatism could be radicalised in the future, he added.

The report uncovered incidents of headteachers being “subjected to harassment and bullying, which has included governors leading protests at the school gate or social media campaigns”.

Clarke continued: “Eventually, the headteacher is so worn down and distressed that he or she feels the only way to restore their mental and physical health is to resign.”

His report commented on Anderton Park School: “The governing body decided that ‘girls be taught about girls’ issues and boys taught about boys’ issues’ in SRE. The children were not taught anything about sexual intercourse. Some of this pressure came from a few individuals who claimed to be speaking on behalf of the community, yet of the 180 children taught SRE last summer, only two were withdrawn.”

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