A review of the Education Department’s handling of concerns about extremism in schools is “farcical”, a Birmingham headteacher has told the BBC…
The review said there were “no instances… where specific ‘warnings’ were ignored” or where officials or ministers acted “inappropriately”.
But Queensbridge School head Tim Boyes said the department “did absolutely nothing because it’s a thorny policy”.
Mr Boyes met a minister twice in 2010 to discuss his concerns…
The review, written by the DfE’s top civil servant, Chris Wormald, said the department was contacted six times about matters relating to potential extremist infiltration in Birmingham schools between 1994 and 2013.
It acknowledged the meetings between Lord Hill and Mr Boyes took place but denied any action was expected in response…
Mr Boyes said the suggestion that no action was expected to happen was “unreasonable”.
“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.”
Lord Hill left the second meeting before it ended. Mr Boyes said Elena Narozanski, a special adviser to Michael Gove at the time, then led the meeting.
“She was the person who at the end of the meeting, in a one-to-one with me, said ‘The Secretary of State would be personally particularly interested; would I please bring a group to talk to him?’
“Why not pay any reference to that in the report? She asked if I would come to a meeting, she presented to me that Michael Gove would like to hear what I’d told Lord Hill. She was asserting he would want to hear more about this, but I never heard anything…”
What do you think of these comments from Tim Boyes? Does it cause you to have doubts about this review and the way the DfE has handled the issue of extremism? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…
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