Trojan Horse row: Bradford teachers suspended for ‘ignoring instructions from governors’

The Independent is reporting that  teachers at a school in Bradford were suspended after a battle with governors who wanted to model the college on the academy at the centre of the “Trojan Horse” plot in Birmingham…

Jennifer McIntosh, principal at Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College, has faced attempts to oust her and her deputy amid fears that hardline Muslims were promoting an Islamic agenda at the secular school.

It is understood that there was a battle at the school between staff and governors over paying Tahir Alam, chair of governors at Park View Academy in Birmingham, to provide governance training at the Bradford college…

The schools’ inspectorate has turned its attention from Birmingham to Laisterdyke College and Carlton Bolling College in Bradford, both secular, mainly Muslim secondary schools. Independent Bradford councillor Faisal Khan was today accused by a council colleague of “wanting to turn Laisterdyke into Park View” and having led a “concerted effort” to drive Mrs McIntosh and her deputy head out.

Mr Khan has been filmed describing how he and fellow governors worked “for a number of years” to “change the head teacher” at Bradford schools.

Mrs McIntosh’s relationship with governors broke down this year and in April the entire governing body at the mainly Muslim secondary college, including Mr Khan and fellow Bradford councillor Ghazanfer Khaliq, was removed by the local authority with the approval of Education Secretary Michael Gove. The authority had concerns over the governors’ “actions and effectiveness” following a critical Ofsted inspection.

An anonymous source at Laisterdyke said: “Over recent months there have been ongoing battles between the governors and Jennifer McIntosh which I have witnessed first-hand. The tactics used at the school are reminiscent of those employed in Operation Trojan Horse, with governors constantly questioning decisions, school results and vociferous complaints from the community.”

Mr Khan said some members of staff at Laisterdyke were suspended during his time as a governor for “ignoring instructions from governors”. He said: “The senior leadership… were not cooperating with governors and sought to actively undermine the governing body…”

More at: Trojan Horse row: Teachers suspended for refusing to impose strict Islamic model

Any insights on how teachers’ unions have responded if and when allegations of this kind of behaviour have been raised with them? Have they challenged the behaviour of governing bodies and the pressure that has been brought on heads and staff in any of these situations and what has been the outcome? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

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Comments

  1. Janet2

    Comments in Ofsted reports show how quickly relationships between governors and senior leaders can break down.  

    A full Ofsted in September 2013 said “The governing body has worked hard with the college” but lacked skills to “hold leaders to account” when teaching was less than good.  Ofsted recommended an external review of governance.  A monitoring report in November noted no date had been set for the external review but said the  governing body “recognises the need to improve its effectiveness and have 
    already organised training…”

    But a second monitoring report in April found relationships between governors and leaders had broken down.  An external review had taken place and found governors were too involved in operational matters and were undermining senior leaders.

    This raises a fundamental question: who runs a school?  Is it senior leaders or is it the governing body?  I would say it’s the former with the support of the latter.  But Gove increasingly says governors must stop drinking sherry but “hold leaders to account” and ask rigorous questions.  This could lead some governing bodies to go beyond their remit and stray from being a critical friend to a critical bully.

  2. TW

    Janet2  But the difficulty is that governors are now blamed for everything and anything that is claimed to be wrong with a school.  So effectively they have no choice but to be more assertive and in reality are encouraged and expected to do so.

  3. GrahamBett

    SchoolsImprove Since current & last Govt encouraged Governor power (as opposed to vague accountability) this became inevitable. Sadly.

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