There is “clear evidence” of an Islamist takeover plot at Birmingham schools, a Government-led inquiry has found.
School groups and governors were involved in “co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained action” to instil an “intolerant” Islamistethos within the city schools, a report by the former head of the Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism Unit Peter Clarke has concluded.
Commenting on his findings, Mr Clarke voiced concerns the infiltration of the city schools byhardline Islamistgroups could lead to the radicalisation of students in the future.
He said Birmingham City Council had failed to do anything about widespread concerns over the takeover and that senior officers were aware of the problems as early as 2012 but did not act.
Concerns over so-called “Trojan Horse” practices were set out in a letter written in November 2013 and handed to Birmingham City Council. It was passed to the Home Office in January and then the Department for Education.
The letter was leaked to the media at the beginning of the year, sparking public concern, but the report found the council knew about the problem “long before the letter surfaced”.
It set out how Islamists were identifying schools for takeover, targeting sympathetic parents and then installing their own governors, head teachers and staff, ousting incumbents with PR campaigns.
While the council dismissed the letter as a hoax, Mr Clarke said that the Trojan Horse practices it detailed were accurate.
And he cited an email exchange by senior council officers showing the council knew of the concerns.
It said: “Growing concerns amongst head teachers that some governing bodies of schools with large numbers of pupils from an Islamic background, or at least groups of influential governors within governing bodies, were putting unreasonable pressure on head teachers to raise standards and/or address other issues of concern.
“There was, and is, a view that some head teachers had been hounded out and this was as a result of organised community action focussed on a group of Muslim governors”.
At Park View Academy, one of the schools at the centre of the plot, the report found teachers had been referred to as the “Park View Brotherhood”.