Michael Gove calls for further schools investigations after Trojan Horse affair
Education secretary extends focus from allegations of Islamist plot involving state schools in Birmingham to other UK cities.
Michael Gove has ordered snap investigations into Muslim schools in several cities around England, widening the focus outside of the so-called Trojan Horse allegations of an Islamist plot involving state schools in Birmingham.
At least five independent Muslim schools in Leicester, Bradford and Luton are said to have been visited by Ofsted inspectors at the request of the Department for Education in recent weeks, raising concerns among Muslim educators that they are being targeted in the wake of the Trojan Horse affair.
The snap inspections of the schools – including the Olive Tree primary school in Luton, which saw a confrontation between Ofsted staff and parents unhappy at the questioning of their children regarding homosexuality – appeared to be triggered by media reports of comments by head teachers or governors at the schools.
An inspection of the Alaqsa primary school in Leicester followed recent media reports of a booklet written 20 years previously by the school’s founder and head teacher, Ibrahim Hewitt, that detailed the punishments under Islamic law for adultery and acts of homosexuality.
Hewitt said the inspectors arrived for a single day, and told the school that it didn’t teach enough Christianity or respect for other cultures.
“Commissioners was the word they used, sent by the DfE, without any explanation. We weren’t given any reason for them being there. They just turned up at the door, no notice at all. It was a very unpleasant experience,” Hewitt said.
“It was awful. It was very clear that no matter what we said or tried to do, we weren’t going to get through.”
“It’s an attack on a lot of very good work to get Muslims involved in education for their children, raising standards, over 20 or 30 years. They are just trying to discredit all of that. Other people are telling me the same thing,” Hewitt said.
- The Guardian,