The chairman and entire board of trustees at one of the Birmingham schools at the centre of allegations of a Muslim takeover plot have resigned.
Park View Educational Trust’s three schools – Park View, Nansen and Golden Hillock – were placed in special measures by education watchdog in Ofstedin June after several inquiries into the claims.
Chairman Tahir Alam made the announcement on Tuesday, near the entrance to Park View Academy in Alum Rock.
Park View had been the focus of claims made in an anonymous letter about the so-called Trojan Horse plot.
The letter – that is now widely viewed as being a hoax – alleged that there was a clique of hardline Muslims struggling to take control of a number of schools in the Birmingham area.
Mr Alam has always rejected the claims and described the investigations as “a witch hunt”.
“We believe strongly that we have justice on our side, and we know we have the support of many from within and outside Birmingham, including our students, parents and members of staff,” he said as he announced his resignation.
“However, we are not prepared to subject our school communities to the further period of intense and bitter pressure that our continuing as members of Park View Educational Trust will see them face.”
Mr Alam said the trust had endured “a vicious and co-ordinated offensive” by Ofsted, the Education Funding Agency and the Department for Education, carrying out eight inspections in four months.
He claimed Mr Gove – who lost his job as Education Secretary in today’s Cabinet reshuffle – had been “the driving force” behind unfair scrutiny of his school.
Mr Alam said that “deep mistrust at the heart of Government” also gave credence to the views of disgruntled ex-staff.
However, Mr Alam also agreed that there had been “genuine concerns” raised by current staff.
Referring to today’s Cabinet reshuffle, Mr Alam said: “Mr Gove’s demotion today provides us with some reassurance that the Prime Minister has finally acknowledged the profound damage that has been caused by his divisive approach.”
Mr Alam also urged new Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to “urgently consider” removing the head of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw from his position for what he called his “role in this fiasco”.
He said the trust would continue with three new trustees to be appointed.
Sir Michael Wilshaw told MPs on the education select committee in early June that there was no evidence of actual extremism at the schools.
However his inspectors had found schools implicated in the alleged plot used deliberate intimidation against those who did not conform to their ideology, leaving pupils at risk.
In mid-June, an assistant principal at Park View claimed “plain old Islamophobia” was behind the claims.
Lee Donaghy told a panel of MPs that people were failing to differentiate between “Muslims”, “terrorists” and “extremists” and twisting events at his school.