Need to tackle Islamic extremist influence in UK schools: Watchdog

London, PTI | Updated : 18 November 2014, 06:39 PM

Britain’s schools watchdog today called for greater urgency in tackling suspected Islamic extremist influence in some of the UK schools in Birmingham where their curriculum were found to be controlled by radicals.

Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw warned that the so-called “Trojan Horse” problem of extremist groups trying to take over the governing of the country’s schools may not be over.

The scandal originated in Birmingham earlier this year and led to investigations across the UK.

Ofsted is set to conduct further inspections of schools and academies in January 2015.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the end of the Trojan Horse issues,” Sir Michael told the House of Commons public accounts committee.

“That’s why I’ve been clear that Birmingham’s got to step up to the plate and monitor what’s happening in their schools much more effectively. There needs to be a greater sense of urgency. It is astonishing the local authority has not produced an action plan after 13 or 14 drafts. These are very, very serious issues,” he added.

A letter sent to Birmingham Council had referred to an alleged Trojan Horse plot by hardline Muslims to seize control of a number of school governing boards in the city.

It sparked four separate investigations which resulted in at least five schools in the city being categorised as failing and placed into special measures.

In an update published in October, Ofsted said those schools had not improved, with Sir Michael warning of slow progress in appointing new governors and senior leaders.

Speaking to MPs, he said the department for education (DfE) had to make sure new leaders at the affected schools were doing a “good job”.

The DfE said Ofsted was right to call for urgency, but added that there were a number of things that needed to be done that “unfortunately do take quite a bit of time, particularly around a variety of staffing changes”.

First Published: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 06:36 PM
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