INVESTIGATIONS into allegations of interference by Muslim
hardliners in some Birmingham schools (News,
25 April) were backed last weekend by the National Association
of Head Teachers (NAHT), which is holding its annual conference in
the city. The statement followed a pre-conference meeting on the
allegations, attended by 100 heads and school leaders.
Although the NAHT regarded the "Trojan horse" letters as fakes,
its officials had investigated concerns raised by heads in about 12
schools, the statement said. In six of these, they had found
evidence of "concerted efforts" to alter the character of the
school in line with the Islamic faith, the statement said. The
actions involved might have broken the principles of good
governance and good employment practices, and put at risk
children's entitlement to a rounded education.
There was a case to answer, and investigations by the Department
for Education, OFSTED, and Birmingham City Council were justified,
the NAHT statement concluded.
A spokeswoman said that the organisation had found evidence of
governors' "pushing the boundaries" on appointments in a few
schools, but did not believe that the problem was widespread.
Later, the NAHT general secretary, Russell Hobby, called for "a
greater sense of perspective" in discussing and reporting the
issues. In his keynote speech to the conference, Mr Hobby said that
schools were not the place for political or religious
In a BBC interview on Monday, the Archbishop of Canterbury said
he believed that there was little danger of Church of England
schools' being targeted by hardliners. Many C of E schools served
communities in the poorest parts of the country, where they
attracted large numbers of pupils. None of the 26 C of E schools in
inner-city Birmingham have been involved in the current
The findings of OFSTED inspections of up to 20 Birmingham
schools, which had been expected this month, will be published