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School governor denies ‘Trojan horse’ plot

16 May 2014

PA

"Outlandish accusations": Park View Academy 

"Outlandish accusations": Park View Academy 

TAHIR ALAM, who chairs the governors of Park View Academy, Birmingham, at the centre of the so-called Trojan Horse plot to Islamicise schools with large majorities of Muslim pupils, this week strongly denied the allegations.

He told the Church Times on Wednesday that it was barely credible that an anonymous document could have sparked three official investigations covering 21 schools.

He described as "outlandish" accusations that Christians had been described as "kaffirs" at school assemblies, or that there had been expressions of support for terrorists.

None of the religious practices at Park View, where 99 per cent of pupils are Muslim, were compulsory, and all were within legal parameters, he said. Girls were not required to wear headscarves or to sit at the back of the class.

"At Park View we are absolutely open and transparent. Most of our pupils are from poor backgrounds. All we want to do is to give them hope," he said.

During his 17-year tenure of the chair of governors, GCSE results had risen from four per cent to 75 per cent of pupils gaining five or more good passes.

Mr Alam also robustly denied allegations of extremism in an earlier interview with the BBC Today programme. Asked in the interview about extracts from his 2007 paper Meeting the Needs of Muslim Children in State Schools, Mr Alam said that they had been taken out of context. He agreed, however, that it had raised concerns about pupils' swimming during Ramadan, as swallowing water might involve breaking the fast.The paper was not prescriptive, he said.

Many of the 21 schools investigated by OFSTED in connection with the allegations received drafts of the inspectors' reports this week, it is understood.

Asked by whether Park View's governors might be removed as a result of the recent inspection, Mr Alam said that the report was confidential and he was unable to comment.

Supporters of Park View this week raised doubts about the fairness of official investigations that had, they said, been compromised by the high media profile and the reporting of constant leaks and accusations.

Birmingham City Council's own investigation into the allegations found no evidence of extremism, but had uncovered several matters of concern over school governance, according to leaked reports.

Question of the week: Is there a genuine Islamist threat in schools?

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