Jesus dolls removed, raffles banned and non-Muslim pupils blocked from school trips to Saudi Arabia: the damning Ofsted findings into five 'Trojan Horse' schools

  • Birmingham schools failing to protect children from extremism, Ofsted finds
  • Inspectors reveal teachers faced 'culture of fear and intimidation' in the city
  • Hardline governors wielding 'inappropriate influence' over five schools
  • 'Raffles and tombolas' were deemed 'un-Islamic' at Oldknow academy
  • Baby Jesus doll removed from nativity play at Nansen Primary School
  • Schools will now be made to 'actively promote British values'
  • Comes after Cameron demands 'dawn raid' inspections on schools
  • Chief Inspector of Schools Sir Michael Wilshaw asked to investigate plan
  • 21 Birmingham schools have allegedly been infiltrated by Islamic extremists
  • But schools heads this morning attacked the findings as politically motivated


PUBLISHED: 12:05 EST, 9 June 2014 | UPDATED: 18:03 EST, 9 June 2014

Five Muslim-dominated Birmingham schools were placed in special measures today to 'protect children from extremism' following a bombshell report into a Trojan Horse plot to radicalise pupils.

Hardline Muslim governors led an 'organised campaign' to change the character of ordinary state schools, the Education Secretary Michael Gove told MPs in a fiery Commons statement this afternoon.

He revealed how one school had played the Muslim call to prayer over loudspeakers in the playground while another had invited a hate preacher to speak even though he had previously called for 'victory to the Muslims in Afghanistan'.

Mr Gove announced that schools will be made to 'actively promote British values', as he pledged to take 'decisive action" over Ofsted's findings. All schools could also be subjected to unannounced 'dawn raid' inspections with those that fail taken over and put under new leadership.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said schools would be forced to 'actively promote British values' in the wake of the Trojan Horse allegations
Mr Gove also attacked a school for banning non-Muslim pupils from subsidised school trips to Saudi Arabia.
He said: 'We already require independent schools, academies and free schools to respect British values. Now we will consult on strengthening this standard further, so that all schools actively promote British values.'
The Education Secretary's statement came after school inspectors Ofsted found a 'culture of fear and intimidation' had developed in some schools in the city.
Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw also warned that Birmingham City Council had failed to support a number of schools in their efforts to protect pupils from the 'risks of radicalisation and extremism'.

Some headteachers told inspectors that there had been an organised campaign to target certain schools in the city to change their 'character and ethos', Sir Michael said.

He concluded: 'In several of the schools inspected, children are being badly prepared for life in modern Britain.'

Warring ministers Theresa May (left) and Michael Gove (right) appeared in the Commons together today, separated by the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles

The Golden Hillock School and Nansen Primary School were both branded 'inadequate' in the new inspections

Governors at Satley School were accused of 'refusing to accept that the school is in a state of crisis' while governors at Oldknow Academy used the school's budget to subsidise a trip to Saudi Arabia for only Muslim staff and pupils.


Park View Educational Trust
Previous inspection: 'Outstanding'
This inspection: 'Inadequate'
The report found the academy's work to raise students' awareness of extremism was inadequate.
'Students are not taught citizenship well enough or prepared properly for life in a diverse and multi-cultural society,' the report said.

Golden Hillock School
Not previously inspected
This inspection: 'Inadequate'
Students were vulnerable to being marginalised from British society, Ofsted said.
Inspectors said their understanding of other religions was 'scant' as the curriculum focused primarily on the study of Islam.

Nansen Primary School
Not previously inspected
This inspection: 'Inadequate'
The school did not sufficiently develop pupils' understanding of the different customs, traditions or religions that exist in Britain, Ofsted said.
'This does not prepare pupils adequately for life in modern Britain,' the report noted.
Ofsted also said the school's governors were 'overly controlling'. 'For example, when the teachers in the Early Years foundation stage wanted pupils to take part in a nativity play, governors insisted on vetting a copy of the script for its suitability and told staff they must not use a doll as the baby Jesus.'

Oldknow Academy
Previous inspection: 'Outstanding'
This inspection: 'Inadequate'
Ofsted said children were at risk of 'radicalisation and extremism'.
It added: 'During recent academy fête, raffles and tombolas were banned because they are considered un-Islamic
Governors have also used the academy's budget to subsidise a trip to Saudi Arabia for only Muslim staff and pupils.
Senior leaders told Ofsted that a madrassa had been established.

Saltley School
Previous inspection: 'Good'
This inspection: 'Inadequate'
Governors 'refuse to accept that the school is in a state of crisis' and inteferes with how the school is run, inspectors found.
They also said governors had spent the school's budget 'unwisely', paying private investigators to examine the emails of senior school staff, shelling out £55,0000 for a private solicitor and paying for meals in restaurants.

Ofsted today published the findings of its visits to 21 schools, all inspected after a letter - now widely believed to be a hoax - came to light, which referred to an alleged plot by hardline Muslims to seize control of a number of school governing boards in Birmingham.

The five placed in special measures as a result of the recent inspections are Golden Hillock School, Nansen Primary School, Park View Academy - all run by the Park View Educational Trust - Oldknow Academy and Saltley School. A sixth - Alston Primary - was already in special measures.

The three schools run by the Park View Educational Trust were attacked by inspectors for restricting its curriculum to a 'conservative Islamic perspective'.

The Trust's governors even insisted on vetting a nativity play at Nansen Primary School - then banned the use of a doll as baby Jesus, according to inspectors.

The report found pupils risked 'cultural isolation' and had a 'limited knowledge of religious beliefs other than Islam'. Inspectors said music and art had been cut from the timetable 'at the insistence of the governing body'.

Ofsted also found pupils' understanding of UK traditions, culture and beliefs were not being properly developed and children were not being adequately prepared for life in modern Britain.

Inspectors were also critical of the 'over-controlling' governors interfering in the daily running of the school.

'For example, when teachers wanted pupils to take part in a nativity play, governors insisted on vetting a copy of the script for its suitability and told staff they must not use a doll as the Baby Jesus,'

It also noted external speakers were not properly vetted, including those who 'speak to students as part of a programme of Islamic-themed assemblies'.

A separate report following the inspection of Oldknow Academy in Small Heath found it was 'taking on the practices of an Islamic faith school' and had excluded non-Muslim staff and pupils from an annual trip to Saudi Arabia for three years running.
The original Trojan Horse letter, which was unsigned, undated and first sent to council officials and teaching unions late last year, has sparked several separate investigations, including inquiries by Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police, the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted.

The scandal sparked a furious Cabinet row between Home Secretary Theresa May and the Education Secretary Mr Gove over how to tackle Islamic extremism in schools.

Mr Gove today set out tough new powers that could also see teachers and governors who undermine ‘fundamental British values’ barred from every school in the country.

Five of the schools slammed by inspectors - including Oldknow Academy and Park View School - were previously judged as good or outstanding by Ofsted, but have now been rated inadequate following an investigation sparked by the so-called Trojan Horse allegations.

Ministers say this is precisely why advance notice inspections must be stopped.

Following days of damaging rows at the heart of government, the Prime Minister today met senior ministers, including Mr Gove and Home Secretary Theresa May, to ensure progress is being made on tackling extremism in schools.

He has also instructed Mr Gove to ask Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, to report back on the practicalities of allowing any school to be inspected at no notice.

Findings from the Education Funding Agency suggest that notice periods were used in schools in Birmingham to put on hastily arranged shows of cultural inclusion.

The Prime Minister said: ‘Protecting our children is one of the first duties of Government and that is why the issue of alleged Islamist extremism in Birmingham schools demands a robust response.

‘The Education Secretary will now ask Sir Michael Wilshaw to look into allowing any school to be inspected at no notice, stopping schools having the opportunity to cover up activities which have no place in our society.’

Mr Gove said: ‘Evidence uncovered in Birmingham clearly indicates that schools have used the notice they have been given of inspections to evade proper scrutiny.

'Our children need to be kept safe from the dangers of extremism and guaranteed a broad and balanced curriculum.’


Ofsted downgraded its assessment of Park View from 'outstanding' to 'inadequate'

Children at Park View School Birmingham were told ‘women could not refuse sex to their husbands’, a former staff member tells 5 News

In an anonymous interview, a former member of staff at Park View School says teachers were shocked by the lessons.
Speaking anonymously, the ex-employee told 5 News that pupils at the school were taught 'the woman must obey her husband' – teachers were said to be 'shocked' and found the lessons 'horrific'.

Park View, a non-religious state school, is at the centre of a row over radicalisation and is being placed in special measures alongside two other institutions.

The former member of staff told 5 News: 'Some of the girls in the school were complaining that some of the boys had been saying that girls could not refuse sex to their husbands once married.

'This shocked some of the teachers in the school, as you might imagine.'

The children were told this in a sex education class as part of science lesson, the former staff member added.
'One of the boys actually gave a worksheet to one of the teachers ... [which] includes quotes from some hadiths, which are Islamic teachings, and one of those is that a woman must obey her husband, unless he asks her to perform unlawful acts.
'It doesn’t take much to read into this to see the message that is being given in this science class, in this sex education class, is that the woman must obey her husband, the woman must sleep with her husband no matter what and that to me is just horrific and should not be in a science class.

'It should not be in any class in a school, especially in a secular state school.'

David Hughes, the vice chair of Park View Education Trust at the centre of the scandal, this morning furiously rejected Ofsted's findings and vowed to fight the decision to put his schools in special measures

'Our schools do not tolerate or promote extremism': Park View


An Islamic primary school was found with books promoting stoning, lashing and execution, the education watchdog has said.

Ofsted said Olive Tree Primary School in Luton - which is not involved in the Trojan Horse plot - had library books that 'promote fundamentalist views' which 'have no place in British society'.

The fee-paying school, which teaches boys and girls aged five to 11 years shares its premises with a mosque.
Books available to children included The Ideal Muslim by Dr Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi, which advocates parents hitting children if they do not pray by the age of 10, the report said.

Another, Commanders Of The Muslim Army by Mahmood Ahmad Ghadanfar, was said to praise individuals who 'loved death more than life in their pursuit of righteous and true religion'.

It said the books were available without providing explanation or context, with some failing to promote gender equality.
No one at the school was available for comment.

Mr Cameron also said he was calling a special meeting of the Government’s Extremism Taskforce to discuss the implications arising from the findings of the Ofsted review and the wider situation in Birmingham.

This morning the former Education Secretary David Blunkett, who also served as Home Secretary, called for a cross-party review into the scandal.

He said: 'We do need a cross-party and I would suggest that the two committees – the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Education Select Committee – should set up a join review because this is a far bigger than a political party or an ideology of a particular minister.

'This is about the nature of the future of our society and our society does need an open, liberal curriculum that embraces all faiths and no faiths, that teaches children to think for themselves, to examine the evidence, to be able to come to decisions rather than having any ideology, any politics, any faith pushed down their throat and that is the nature of the type of education we want.'

Mr Gove said the five schools to be placed in special measures by Ofsted could have their governors and leadership teams removed.

Powers granted in February will allow him to impose an indefinite ban on anyone whose conduct has undermined ‘fundamental British values’, including ‘individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance or those with different faiths and beliefs’.

The Trojan Horse allegations came to light earlier this year after a letter emerged claiming existence of a plan for hard-line Muslims to seize control of schools by installing friendly governors, then forcing out uncooperative headteachers.

The letter is now regarded as a hoax, but prompted investigations by Ofsted and the Department for Education, under orders from Michael Gove as well as West Midlands Police.

Park View, Nansen Primary and Golden Hillock Schools are all expected to be given inadequate ratings and placed in special measures, with their governing boards replaced.

They are run by the Park View Educational Trust, which rejected the findings, pointing out that Ofsted found ‘no suggestion’ of extremism or radicalisation within classrooms.


The letter at the heart of the Trojan Horse furore outlines a five-step 'under-the-radar' plan to rail-road schools into adopting strict Islamic principles.

Purportedly written as advice to fellow hardliners in West Yorkshire, the unsigned and undated document is widely regarded as an elaborate hoax and was described as being defamatory by the leader of Birmingham City Council.

A copy of the letter is known to have been passed anonymously to teaching unions in January this year, having previously been sent to local authority officials.

As well as explaining how governors should win the support of 'the most committed' Muslim parents, and then work to oust headteachers, the document claims the supposed "jihad" of Trojan Horse is necessary to prevent Muslim children sliding into disaffection and drug-taking.

Part of the typed rather than hand-written letter, which alleges a 'brother' is also keen to seize control of schools in the Manchester area, states: 'Operation "Trojan Horse" has been carefully thought through and is tried and tested within Birmingham.

'Implementing it in Bradford will not be difficult for you.

'The process behind Trojan Horse is simple. It is about people seeing our intentions as respectable and our being accepted by the key stakeholders.'

Furious schools vow to fight 'Trojan' claims

The schools singled out in today’s damning Ofsted report this morning attacked the findings – and vowed to fight against the decision to put them in special measures.

David Hughes, vice-chair of Park View Educational Trust - which runs three of the schools at the centre of the row - insisted his schools did not 'tolerate or promote extremism' and rejected Ofsted's findings.

He said the Trust would mount a legal challenge to the judgements. Mr Hughes said: 'We wholeheartedly dispute the validity of these gradings. Park View, Golden Hillock and Nansens are categorically not inadequate schools.

Park View school is at the centre of allegations that hardline Islamic teaching was being introduced. In a 2008 picture boys and girls are clearly segregated during an assembly. The school previously claimed any segregation was voluntary, but an Ofsted inspection said it was enforced by teachers

'Our Ofsted inspections were ordered in a climate of suspicion, created by the hoax Trojan letter and by the anonymous unproven allegations about our schools in the media.

'Ofsted inspectors came to our schools looking for extremism, looking for segregation, looking for proof that our children have religion forced upon them as part of an Islamic plot.'

Lee Donaghey, assistant principal at Park View School, added: 'It is simply not true that the school does not do enough to protect our pupils from the risks of extremism.

He said: 'It is also simply not true that pupils at this school are isolated from British society.'

The Rev Oliver Coss, a governor at Regent's Park primary school, one of the 21 inspected, told BBC Breakfast that allegations were made that were 'completely untrue' after the departure of its head and deputy head teacher last year.

'Our school was named in a document which has become known as the Trojan Horse document, as being one where the head teacher and the deputy head teacher had been removed by an insurgency. Those allegations we utterly rejected,' he said.
Labour meanwhile accused the Government of leaving the country’s schools in 'disarray'.

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt accused ministers of ignoring the issues in Birmingham for four years.

He told Mr Gove: "You say you have acted with speed on the issue - the truth is that ministers have been ignoring it for four years."

Mr Hunt added to Mr Gove: "You speak of requiring all schools to promote British values - all well and good.

"Amongst the greatest of British values is an education system which welcomes and integrates migrant communities, builds successful citizens in a multi-cultural society, secures safety and high standards for all, and you are failing to do so."

I did not leak letter attacking Michael Gove, says Theresa May (but Eric Pickles keeps warring ministers apart on the front bench)

Defiant Theresa May today denied leaking the explosive letter in which she accused Michael Gove of failing to tackle extremism in schools, as she went on the attack in the wake of the damaging row which led to the resignation of her closest aid.

The Home Secretary said she knew nothing about the letter being published online, but admitted that her special adviser Fiona Cunningham had to resign after briefing against Mr Gove to a newspaper.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles was drafted in to sit on the frontbench in the Commons between the two warring ministers after Mrs May was called to answer questions about the power struggle with the Department for Education.

Later, as Mr Gove took questions from the Despatch Box, he found himself sitting next to Mrs May

Mrs May told the Commons that an inquiry by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood had cleared her of releasing the letter, which dramatically escalated the bitter dispute between the two ministers on the eve of the Queen's Speech.

'As the Cabinet Secretary and Prime Minister concluded, I did not authorise the release of my letter to the Education Secretary,' she said.

'Following the Cabinet Secretary's review, the Education Secretary apologised to the Prime Minister and to Charles Farr, the (Home Office) director general for security and counter terrorism.

'In addition, in relation to further comments to The Times, my special adviser Fiona Cunningham resigned on Saturday.'

And she hit back at Labour criticism, offering to give her opponents a 'lesson' in tackling extremism and insisting 'it's a bit rich to get questions about special advisers from the party of Damien McBride' - Gordon Brown's spin doctor who quit after smearing Tory MPs.

Fiona Cunningham was forced to resign as Mrs May's special adviser after briefing against Mr Gove


After the Trojan Horse allegations came to light earlier this year the Education Secretary Michael Gover ordered a probe by the schools inspectors Ofsted.
But the controversy has left David Cameron's Government in crisis after Mr Gove was forced to make a grovelling apology to the Prime Minister for undermining Home Secretary Theresa May, whose spin doctor had to quit for attacking the Education Secretary.
The punishments were meted out after a furious Mr Cameron was compelled to intervene to stop a vicious power struggle between Home Secretary Mrs May and Education Secretary Mr Gove.
Mr Gove agreed to say sorry after private remarks he made criticising her and Home Office counter-terrorism boss Charles Farr over the Home Office’s handling of extremism in schools appeared in the media.
Mrs May’s spin doctor, Fiona Cunningham, was forced to quit for leaking a damaging private letter to Mr Gove written by Mrs May.
The Home Secretary insisted she did not know about the decision to publish the private letter to Mr Gove.
Mrs May is expected to appear before MPs in the Commons this afternoon to explain her part in the affair.
The two warring ministers came face-to-face at Number 10 today for a meeting of the Prime Minister's Extremism Task Force.

The row erupted last week after Mr Gove briefed The Times newspaper on his concerns about Mrs May and her senior counter-terrorism adviser Charles Farr, who is the architect of anti-extremism policy.

In response, Miss Cunningham - who is in a relationship with Mr Farr - launched a stinging attack on Mr Gove, telling the newspaper: ‘Lord knows what more they have overlooked on the subject of the protection of kids in state schools. It scares me.’

The Home Office then made public a letter from Mrs May to Mr Gove, concerning the ongoing investigation into whether Muslim hardliners had tried to seize control of 21 schools in Birmingham.

The letter called for tougher rules to tackle Islamic extremism in schools and asked why action was not taken sooner.
But today Mrs May insisted she did not leak the letter to damage Mr Gove: 'I did not authorise the letter going on to the website,' she told the Commons.

Mr Gove nodded vigorously as he listened to Mrs May's defence of her actions from the Government front bench, where Communities Secretary Eric Pickles sat between the pair.

Ms Cooper told the Commons that Mr Gove and Mrs May had indulged in a 'public blame game', which had distracted from the Government's work on tackling extremism.

The shadow home secretary said the issue required a 'thoughtful, sensitive approach', with ministers working together closely across Whitehall departments.

'Instead of showing leadership and working together, the Education Secretary and Home Secretary chose to let rip at each other in public, making it harder to get the joint sensible working that we need,' said Ms Cooper.

Events last week were 'shambolic for the Government, but much worse for everyone else' and must not be repeated, said the shadow home secretary.

She demanded assurances from Mrs May and Mr Gove that they 'will not put their personal reputations and ambitions ahead of making the right decisions for the country'.

Ms Cooper asked why Mrs May had allowed her letter to remain on the Home Office website for three and a half days before it was removed, and demanded to know: 'Did she write that letter in order for it to be leaked, and did she authorise its release to the media?'

She asked whether Mrs May stood by her claim in the letter that oversight arrangements for schools in Birmingham were not 'adequate'.

Mrs Cooper said that the Home Office's strategy on preventing extremism had been 'criticised from all sides, not just by the Education Secretary, for failing to engage with local communities and having become too narrow, leaving gaps.'
She added: 'She now needs to focus on getting those policies back on track, because it matters to communities across the country that there's a serious and sensible approach to these issues and joint working at the very top of the Government.'
To cheers from the Tory benches, Mrs May retorted: 'We have excluded more hate preachers than any Home Secretary before me. I have got rid of the likes of Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada.

'The Government does not give a public platform to groups that condone or fail to distance themselves from extremism and we are mapping out for the first time extremists and extremist groups in the United Kingdom. We make sure that the groups we work with and fund adhere to British values and where they do not we do not fund them and we do not work with them.
'None of these things was true when the party opposite was in power.'

Mrs May called on Ms Cooper to withdraw any allegation that she had breached the ministerial code, saying that the Prime Minister and Sir Jeremy had concluded that she did not.

'Yes, we need to get to the bottom of what has happened in the schools in Birmingham, but it is thanks to this Education Secretary that the Department for Education has for the first time a dedicated extremism unit

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