Trojan Horse probe ‘farcical’: Head

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Published: Saturday 17th January 2015 by The News Editor

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A headteacher who warned the Government about potential extremism in schools before the Trojan Horse scandal has described the Department for Education’s (DfE) handling of the issue as “farcical”.

An internal review found no instances of the DfE ignoring “specific warnings” of extremism in schools but it “lacked inquisitiveness” on the issue in the past.

But Tim Boyes, head of Queensfield School, Birmingham, said he met a minister and officials twice in 2010 to discuss Muslim hardliners infiltrating schools, but no action was taken.

He told the BBC: “It’s farcical that central government can dodge responsibility when it wants to, that ministers feel that such stark warnings could be ignored and neither immediate action nor policy change needs to take place.

“Because I didn’t say, ‘You must intervene in this way’, they are letting themselves off the hook. As a headteacher without jurisdiction to make decisions about what to do next, I don’t know what more I can do than lay out a clearly evidenced picture.

“I went into a room (where) people acknowledged something needs to happen. The assumption it didn’t because I didn’t tell them what to do, is unreasonable.”

The review, led by DfE civil servant Chris Wormald, was prompted by a December 2013 letter – now widely believed to be a hoax – referring to an alleged Trojan Horse plot by hardline Muslims to seize control of a number of school governing boards in Birmingham.

It found there were six occasions between 1994 and the end of 2013 when concerns were raised with the department.

But Mr Wormald concluded: “Whilst I have not found instances of warnings having been ignored or of individuals having acted inappropriately, I have found that the Department has lacked inquisitiveness about this issue, and that procedures could have been tighter than they were.

“Issues on extremism in Birmingham schools that have been raised with the Department have in general been assumed to be the responsibility of other authorities, and when they have been brought to the Department’s attention have been dealt with as one-off pieces of transactional business.

“With hindsight, I believe the Department could have shown a greater level of inquisitiveness regarding these issues, and asked itself the question of whether the issues being brought to its attention were symptomatic of wider trends.”

Published: Saturday 17th January 2015 by The News Editor

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