The Sunday Times is reporting that as many as a dozen schools in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets face investigation after claims they have fallen under the influence of Islamic fundamentalists…
According to government sources, officials at the Department for Education (DfE) are concerned that the situation may be worse than that uncovered in the “Trojan Horse” scandal earlier this year, in which Islamic fundamentalists attempted to infiltrate secular schools in Birmingham. Emergency inspections of 21 schools in the city by the schools regulator Ofsted resulted in five schools being placed in special measures.
“Tower Hamlets is expected to be the next Birmingham, but even worse, because the problems surrounding Muslim fundamentalists imposing their views on education seem to be more embedded,” said a senior Whitehall source.
Both secular state schools and private Islamic schools are under suspicion, and there are concerns that non-Muslim teachers are staying silent for fear of losing their jobs.
“The DfE will rely on whistleblowers to come forward about non-Muslim teachers being sidelined by Muslim fundamentalists in the borough,” the source said. “But potential whistleblowers fear they may be bullied, further sidelined or fired if they raise concerns.”
Allegations about the imposition of extreme views in Tower Hamlets classrooms come as Ofsted prepares to publish the findings of emergency inspections of 40 schools in England in the past fortnight.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools, warned: “The problems in Birmingham are far from resolved.”
Ofsted has recently been into several schools in the city that were not subject to inspections during the Trojan Horse affair. Inspectors found that some schools placed in special measures have yet to overcome their problems.
Snap inspections have taken place in towns and cities across the country, including Bradford, Luton, London and Manchester. These involved faith schools with a Jewish, Christian or Islamic ethos, as well as secular schools with a high number of Muslim pupils.
Many visits were prompted by concerns that the schools were not offering a broad and balanced curriculum, including religious tolerance.
Marner Primary School in Tower Hamlets was one of those inspected after concerns were raised by the Home Office. Tower Hamlets council said it expected the school to be given a clean bill of health by Ofsted within days.
Next month Wilshaw will send the 40 reports, with a briefing note about the action required, to Nicky Morgan, the education secretary…
Wilshaw is also in talks with the government about how to monitor madrasahs, private Islamic schools. These schools are unregulated and it is understood there is disagreement between the coalition partners on how to tackle the issue…
More at: ‘Trojan Horse 2’ in London (subscription may be required)
Your thoughts on the prospects of a new ‘Trojan horse’ situation playing out now in East London? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…
Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link!