OFSTED's findings called for a "robust response", the Prime
Minister said. The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove,
said that, from the opening of the new school year in September,
there would be a new, explicit requirement for all schools to
promote British values.
"We want to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation
on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of
democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect
and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs," he
It is understood that talks with OFSTED have already begun on
how to measure fulfilment of this expectation, which is a step
change from the current requirement that free schools and academies
should respect British values.
Also on the horizon are mandatory training for governors,
welcomed by the National Governors' Association; and the
introduction of no-notice OFSTED inspections, a move likely to be
resisted by schools.
In Birmingham, however, there is deep concern among community
workers, church, and other faith leaders that the "Trojan horse"
affair has distressed members of the large Muslim community, who
feel that their faith has been demonised, and could undermine
hard-won community cohesion.
The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, who is a
member of the council's group of city leaders reviewing the
allegations, said that the time for reflection would be in July,
when the group reported its findings. "For now," Bishop Urquhart
said, "it is vital that we promote the common good of all our
children, so that learning, faith, and full civic engagement
combine to prepare all people for their participation in a
This week, Liam Byrne, the MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill, asked
Bishop Urquhart to lead an interfaith task-force to support the
city's Muslim community. Ministers had treated Muslims as extreme
for seeking education in line with their religion, he said.
Call for abolition of faith schools. As the Association
of Christian Teachers warned this week of a backlash from "those
who want to remove faith and religion from schools", the British
Humanist Association (BHA) called for the abolition of faith
But a comment from the Church of England described the request
as "a shaky attempt to build one of the BHA's long-held aims into
the news agenda".
The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, said in
an interview that religious education was becoming increasingly
important in educating young people about faiths other than their
own, and creating informed and tolerant attitudes.
A similar plea for RE was made on Wednesday by the former Labour
Home Secretary Charles Clarke, during an interview on Radio 4's
Today programme. Mr Clarke, now Professor of Politics at
the University of East Anglia, was asked, as a former Home
Secretary, to respond to OFSTED's "Trojan horse" findings.
Part of his prescription was good religious education, for its
contribution to interfaith understanding.
THE C of E's head of school policy, the Revd Nigel Genders, is
to succeed the Revd Jan Ainsworth as its Chief Education Officer.
Mrs Ainsworth retires this summer.
Mr Genders was diocesan education officer for Canterbury before
moving to Church House in 2012.
Mr Genders said that an immediate priority was ensuring that the
Church of England played a significant part in the provision of the
estimated 130,000 new school places in England urgently needed
because of the rise in the birth rate.
Any new church schools would be open to all, with no places
reserved for children from Anglican families, he said.