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Department for Education continues to use ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal

Department for Education continues to use ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal

Categories: Latest News

Thursday October 05 2017

The Birmingham Mail reports that The Department for Education will be reforming the disciplinary procedures to deal with any repeat of the ‘Trojan Horse’ attempts to infiltrate schools.

Justine Greening, the Education Secretary, has spoken to the Birmingham Mail at the Conservative Party conference saying “Trojan Horse was a shocking wake up call for all of us” and that “as a result of that we have a stronger focus on helping children understand their British values.” Ms Greening spoke at the annual Conservative Party conference in Manchester, stating that schools will now receive help when recruiting teachers. Dame Louise Casey, government adviser, warned earlier this year that there are similar incidents happening elsewhere around the country.

However, the Trojan Horse scandal began from a fake document being sent to Birmingham City Council, which caused a case to be opened.

During November 2013, Birmingham City Council received a photocopy of a document, which evidenced that Muslims were conspiring to take over local schools and run them according to Islamic principles. This was a supposed strategy known as ‘Operation Trojan Horse’. By early 2014, this document was leaked to the media, which went on to further allege that a number of schools in the area had been imposing Islamic teachings and extremism.

With The Sunday Times being the first to publish the story with the headline “Islamist plot to take over schools”, a number of other newspapers began to follow. “Revealed: Islamist plot dubbed ‘Trojan Horse’ to replace teachers in Birmingham schools with radicals”, wrote The Daily Mail.

The Trojan Horse scandal then caused Ofsted to investigate 21 schools in Birmingham, despite some of those schools previously being rated as outstanding. Five out of all the schools investigated were later identified as being “inadequate”.

Parliamentary Select Committee  report found “no evidence of extremism or radicalisation” and “no evidence of a sustained plot”. But still the Conservatives are continuing to use it to implement special measures in schools, such as ensuring that British values are being taught, and as a way to introduce new statutory rules through the Prevent strategy.

The case came to an end – after putting the future careers of many teachers at risk – only in May this year. The former acting head of Oldknow was the only person who faced any disciplinary charges out of the 100 who were investigated.

Coincidentally, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary during 2014, had a chapter in his 2006 book, Celsius 7/7, entitled “The Trojan Horse”. In this chapter, Gove highlighted the threat of Islamism to Britain, stating that he wrote the book due to the “failure to scrutinise, monitor or check the actions, funding and operation of those committed to spreading the Islamist word in Britain”.

To this the day, the sender of this document has still remained anonymous.

On November 3, MEND will be hosting a free event entitled “Trojan Horse: the facts!”, during which academics, teachers and journalists will discuss how a hoax letter, a media scrum, a forceful education secretary and political motivations in education regulation, lead to the stigmatisation of a community, discrimination against outstanding teachers/school leaders and exam failure for a generation of children.

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