AS SCHOOLS reopened this week after the Easter holidays, the
Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, took personal
charge of continuing investigations into the "Trojan horse"
allegations of infiltration of a number of schools in Birmingham by
Islamic extremists (News, 11
A team of OFSTED inspectors has focused its inquiries on 15
schools in Birmingham at the request of the Department for
Education (DfE). OFSTED expects to publish the inspectors' reports
early next month, a spokesman said. Press reports say that at least
six schools face the imposition of special measures.
Separate investigations are being carried out by Birmingham City
Council, West Midlands Police, and the DfE. The DfE's appointment
of the former anti-terrorism chief Peter Clarke to lead its inquiry
was widely criticised in the city. The Vicar of All Saints', Small
Heath, the Revd Oliver Coss, described it as a blow against
community cohesion, it is understood.
David Hughes, the Anglican vice-chairman of governors at Park
View Academy, which is at the centre of the allegations, also
criticised the response to the allegations in an open letter sent
to the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, before
Although the original allegations suggested links between
activists in Birmingham and Bradford, OFSTED confirmed that it had
not been asked to investigate schools in other parts of the country
with significant numbers of Muslim-majority schools.
In scores of Church of England schools in areas with large
Asian-heritage populations, Muslim pupils are in the majority, but
none of those in Birmingham is affected by the current
investigations. In Blackburn diocese, which has 200 C of E schools,
pupils are predominantly Muslim in at least 15, the deputy director
of education, Fred Kershaw, said. There had been no evidence of
attempts to exert un-due influence. "At some schools, the diocese
has appointed Muslims as foundation governors who undertake to
support the Christian character of the school."
Richard Noakes, the director of education for the new diocese of
West Yorkshire & the Dales, which includes Bradford, said that
there had been no evidence of activism affecting church
London diocese educates atotal of 54,000 children in more than
150 schools. In areas such as Tower Hamlets, Muslims are in the
majority at most schools.
The director of schools support, Liz Wolverson, said: "We make
the Christian nature of the school very clear to parents when they
apply. A few don't continue with their application, but most are
happy that faith is taken seriously."