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OFSTED 'shoddy', says Park View governor

20 June 2014

Richard houghton

Inspected: pupils at Park View Academy, in Birmingham

Inspected: pupils at Park View Academy, in Birmingham

A SENIOR Christian official at one of the Birmingham school trusts involved in the "Trojan horse" affair (News, 13 June) has called the OFSTED investigations of the schools "woefully shoddy and unprofessional", and "fatally flawed".

The vice-chairman of the Park View Educational Trust, David Hughes, who describes himself as "a white, practising Anglican", has written a strongly worded letter of protest to the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, and the head of OFSTED, Sir Michael Wilshaw.

He writes: "There is no plot to 'Islamise' Park View, or to promote the violation of anyone's human rights, or to promote extremism, by governors or school leadership - nor did the OFSTED inspection or EFA [Education Funding Agency] review find any evidence of such.

"The only area in which we have been extreme is in our absolute insistence upon breaking the link between demographics, deprivation, and under-achievement.

"Furthermore, to say that we do not offer a broad or balanced curriculum, and for inspectors to intimate that abominable practices like female genital mutilation, and the treatment of women and girls as second-class citizens, are not robustly countered at Park View or our sister schools, shocks and saddens us. It is simply not true."

Mr Hughes is a former head of School and Governor Support Services for Birmingham City Council, and has served as a governor at several schools over 20 years.

In his letter, he asks how Park View, when it was once rated as "Outstanding", can now be told that it has deteriorated at an alarming rate. "We are largely the same people, doing what we did previously," he said. "I find it astounding that you are now so vehement in condemning us as negligent and derelict in our duties at best, and dangerous at worst.

"I have to say, Mr Gove and Mr Wilshaw, I, too, feel exploited, intimidated, bullied, and not valued.. . . You have some very angry communities now who feel frightened, betrayed, and let down by the way you have exploited the Trojan-horse hoax and demonised them."

He concludes: "You have my best wishes in dealing with what has been unleashed."


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