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Trojan Horse adviser interviews 45 witnesses as council ‘extremism’ probe nears conclusion

Trojan Horse adviser interviews 45 witnesses as council ‘extremism’ probe nears conclusion

🕔26.Jun 2014

A former head teacher appointed to investigate the alleged Trojan Horse plot by militant Muslims to infiltrate Birmingham schools will interview 45 witnesses this week, it has emerged.

After weeks spent sifting through potential evidence Ian Kershaw has begun to talk to governors, teachers and parents and is expected to publish his findings before the end of July.

Peter Hay, strategic director for People at the city council, told a scrutiny committee he would not “give a running commentary” on  Mr Kershaw’s progress or that of former Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism commissioner Peter Clarke, who is conducting a Trojan Horse inquiry on behalf of Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Mr Hay said Mr Kershaw and Mr Clarke were both on course to conclude their separate inquiries by July 25, when parliament breaks up for the summer.

Mr Hay said: “We need to put all this together and see what it adds up to.”

Birmingham City Council was due today to submit its formal response to Ofsted following the watchdog’s inspection of 21 schools said to be at the centre of the Trojan Horse allegations.

Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw published his findings on June 9. He said inspectors had uncovered “a culture of fear and intimidation” with governors imposing a narrow faith-based ideology at non-faith schools.

In several of the schools inspected children were being badly prepared for life in modern Britain and the city council had not dealt adequately with complaints from head teachers about the conduct of governors, Sir Michael concluded.

In his report, Sir Michael said: “It is my view that the active promotion of a narrow set of values and beliefs in some of the schools is making children vulnerable to segregation and emotional dislocation from wider society.”

Five Trojan Horse schools were placed under special measures by Ofsted. Four are academies, independent of the council, while one, Saltley School, is council-run.

Ian Kershaw was appointed as the council’s chief advisor on Trojan Horse in April.

In a press statement the council said Mr Kershaw has “experience of leading independent inquiries into the conduct and behaviour of individuals within schools”. His job is to analyse all Trojan Horse material to help the council “see the full picture”.

A further report is awaited from the Birmingham Young People’s Parliament which has been asked to answer two questions: what does a good, inclusive education in Birmingham look like, and what does a safe and resilient citizen of the future look like?

 

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