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A Trojan Horse update

Sir Michael Wilshaw’s advice note (to download, search for link to “advice note” via this link), summarizing key concerns arising from the Ofsted inspections carried out in Birmingham, paints a worrying picture of a climate of intimidation in some schools, failures with regard to safety and equality, a constricted curriculum, questionable recruitment practices and misuse of school funds.  Five schools have been judged to be inadequate.

Whereas three schools receive dismal scores across the board, Park View is deemed good in terms of teaching and achievement, and Oldknow Academy outstanding.  However their very poor record on safety and governance dragged both schools down from an overall 1 to 4.  This mixed profile (clearly both schools have elements of excellence) perhaps helps answer the suspicions both of those who thought the earlier report was much too generous and those who mistrust the latest findings.   There’s a whole catalogue of startling incidents and practices at Oldknow documented here, for example the reference to ‘white prostitutes’ in an assembly, but also evidence of effective teaching, and a cheerful classroom atmosphere in the shorter Ofsted report.

I agree with Sunny Hundal’s evaluation of the overall situation.

putting previous record aside, Gilligan makes specific claims, backed up by evidence & sources listed on the blog .. I haven’t seen anyone refute those specific allegations, which are repeated by several sources.

As well as with Maajid Nawaz’s observation that:

denialism is as bad as alarmism: both feed extremisms

There are legitimate points to be made about some of the rhetoric used during this inquiry, and about the impact of extensive leaks on the way the story has unfolded. But denialism is a hostage to fortune, and exasperates others into a more suspicious, hostile stance – which in turn leads to more defensiveness and more denialism.

Some are clearly concerned that these disturbing findings will inhibit Muslims from taking public roles, but Muslims in public life – Khalid Mahmood, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Maajid Nawaz for example – have been amongst the most forthright in urging that the problems in Birmingham schools be tackled.  And the Muslim girls interviewed here for Sky News – who describe how Park View clamped down on interactions with boys – also welcomed the enquiry.