15 schools are now being investigated in a probe into the takeover of British schools by Muslim extremists. The schools being focused on are all in Birmingham, a city with areas that are majority Muslim. The ‘trojan horse’ letter that sparked the scandal off was regarding Alum Rock’s Park View School. Alum Rock is an area well known for Muslim extremists and was home to a number of terrorists jailed last year during the trials of two separate Muslim terror cells.
Probe into allegations of Muslim extremists forcing out headteachers and governors is widened to 15 schools
- Plot against Birmingham schools uncovered in document last month
- Muslim extremists allegedly plotted to overthrow moderate school leaders
- Nicknamed Operation Trojan Horse, document told how to force staff out
- Ofsted inspectors sent to one school, but probe expanded to include 15
- Birmingham city council and the police are also investigating
An investigation into Muslim extremists forcing moderate headteachers and governors to quit their jobs has been widened to include 15 schools.
Ofsted inspectors have been sent into the schools, all of which are in Birmingham, to carry out snap inspections.
Hardline Muslims have been forcing out uncooperative school leaders so they can promote their radical agendas to students, and last month a document outlining their methods was handed to a Sunday newspaper.
Ofsted inspectors were sent into Park View school last month after documents identified it as being targeted by extremists, but now 15 more schools are being probed
Codenamed Operation Trojan Horse, the document advises spreading false allegations and packing governing bodies with supporters.
It says hardline Muslim parents should be told that the school is teaching their children about sex and homosexuality in order turn them against the leadership team, and then to use these parents to turn others to their cause.
The Department for Education, lead by Michael Gove, announced the inspections after a document apparently outlining 12 schools extremists planned to target was uncovered
The Department for Education said it was vital the investigations were ‘carried out impartially’ and said it would not comment further.
A parallel investigation is also being carried out by Birmingham City Council, and one academy school has had its finances reviewed by the Education Funding Agency.
The council has blocked any new school governors being recruited while they carry out an inquiry, calling the system ‘unfit for purpose’.
The allegations in the Trojan Horse letter focus on the Park View Educational Trust, which runs three schools in the city – all of which have been subjected to Ofsted inspections in recent weeks.
Anonymous whistle-blowers, including former teachers, have also come forward since the Trojan Horse letter emerged, making accusations about the segregation of boys and girls in classes and assemblies, a ban on sex education, and bullying of non-Muslim staff.
One former staff member at Park View Academy in Alum Rock alleged a colleague had in an assembly praised the firebrand al Qaida-linked Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki – he was killed by a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
Other teachers tell of demands for strict dress codes, including long sleeves and wearing of the hijab for women teachers and girl pupils.
They also say there were calls that Christmas celebrations, Easter eggs and any reference to Christianity in morning assemblies should be banned.
At one Midlands’ primary school — and, reportedly, many others — the boys’ lavatories have been turned into washrooms so they can clean their faces, hands and bodies before Islamic prayers during the school day.
However, the school trustees have firmly denied all the claims, branding the allegations ‘a witch-hunt’.
The school’s governors have also pointed to the turnaround in pupils’ GCSE results in recent years, with three quarters of students completing their studies having gained at least five grade A* to C qualifications, including maths and English in 2013.
Lindsey Clark, the headteacher of Park View school, said she was not aware of any plot but welcomed the investigation and said she would act against anyone plotting against the school
Separately, West Midlands Police said at the beginning of March – after scrutinising the Trojan Horse letter – it was reopening a fraud inquiry into allegations first made by staff members at another school in the city in January 2013, but ruled out any wider anti-extremist or counter-terror investigation into the claims made in the document.
All of the city’s MPs recently wrote a letter to Mr Gove calling for a full inquiry into the issues in order to settle the matter and help restore confidence in the schools identified in the alleged plot.
A DfE spokesperson said: ‘The allegations made in relation to some schools in Birmingham are very serious and we are investigating all evidence put to us in conjunction with Ofsted, Birmingham City Council and the police.’