- ‘Trojan Horse’ a UK Muslim school witch-hunt? by Simon Hooper (11 June 2014)
“We have had a climate of demonising Muslims for some time now, but this has really escalated that by raising the idea of a potential threat existing among children,” Arzu Merali, the head of research at the Islamic Human Rights Commission, told Al Jazeera.
- Park View Trust slams Ofsted reports – read the statement from David Hughes, the vice chair of Park View, in response to the latest Ofsted reports (9 June 2014)
- Ofsted’s slur on the Muslim community of Park View School by Lee Donaghy, assistant principal of Park View School (9 June 2014)
Over the past three months the pupils and parents of Alum Rock, the tight-knit, overwhelmingly Muslim community we serve, have become unwitting players in a vast game of academies, anti-extremism policy, Whitehall leaks and faith schools. Not a thought for our year-11s sitting crucial exams, or their parents. But then, these people are Muslims, and Islamophobia the last acceptable prejudice.
- UK Education Secretary says all schools should promote ‘British values’ by Juliet Spare (9 June 2014)
21 primary, secondary, council run and academy schools in the West Midlands were inspected by the government’s official inspectorate body, Ofsted. Five have been placed in special measures. 12 have been handed notices of improvement and three have been cleared.
- Rights and wrongs of the Trojan horse schools affair in Birmingham – another letter to The Guardian signed by a group of leading educationalists and Muslim leaders; including IHRC’s Massoud Shadjareh and Arzu Merali in response to Peter Clarke’s report (28 July 2014)
THE LEAD UP TO THE OFSTED REPORTS:
- Ofsted credibility at stake over ‘Trojan Horse’ schools inquiry – a letter to The Guardian signed by a group of leading educationalists and Muslim leaders; including IHRC’s Massoud Shadjareh and Arzu Merali (3 June 2014)
Numerous sensationalised leaks have reinforced the perception of a pre-set agenda. It is beyond belief that schools which were judged less than a year ago to be “outstanding” are now widely reported as “inadequate”, despite having the same curriculum, the same students, the same leadership team and the same governing body.
- Education experts voice fury over Ofsted’s ‘Trojan Horse’ schools inquiry by Richard Adams – The Guardian’s follow up on the letter mentioned above (3 June 2014)
- Ofsted inspectors make U-turn on ‘Trojan Horse’ school, leak shows by Richard Adams (30 May 2014)
As a result, when Ofsted publishes its final report the school is all but certain to be downgraded to “inadequate” – Ofsted’s harshest rating – and be placed in special measures, stripped of its governors and managing trust, and handed over to new, approved management
WHAT ISN’T BEING SAID
- An Ideological War Against UK Muslims in School? by Assed Baig – provides a detailed analysis of what has transpired so far
A so-called ‘Islamist’ school plot, government leaks, off-the-record briefings, a media scramble and a government-ordered investigation of 25 schools has gripped the U.K.’s second city Birmingham in the last month.
- The Muslim Plot That Wasn’t by Assed Baig – a scathing look at the way the media has chosen to cover the story
How many Muslims do you need for a plot? Two? Three? Or more? What constitutes a plot? There is a very sinister Islamophobic narrative taking place here, one that, for all intents and purposes, accuses an entire minority community of surreptitiously plotting away to infiltrate the country’s institutions and changing its very values, or so we are led to believe.
- Trojan Horse – conjuring the slave, the witch and the grand inquisitor by MG Khan – detailing the exposure of classic Islamophobic tropes
Appointing Peter Clarke, the former Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Anti-Terrorism Unit, as the Commissioner to investigate this, only confirms the view that this whole sorry mess is not about the education (actually we should just say schooling) of Muslim children but their de-radicalisation and the Dep’t of Education would not be able to get away with the wholesale labeling of children and young people as radicalized with any community other than Muslim communities.
- ‘The so-called “Trojan Horse” document is being used to destabilise Muslim-majority schools’ by MG Khan
Where there are majority Muslim/black staff in leadership positions, the insinuation is that it must be due to some kind of unethical behaviour, favouritism, unfair advantage due to political correct equal opportunities or, in the case of Park View, implied secret Muslim expansionism. Reverse the skin colour and it is simply meritocracy in action.
- Inspectors investigating school at centre of Islamist row accused of intrusive behaviour by William Stewart – explicit accounts of the harsh questioning by officials
“A lot of girls were asked ‘Are you forced to wear the head scarf?’” the source said. “They asked one male pupil, ‘Are girls here forced to wear headscarves?’ and his answer was ‘Well there are three girls sat in the room that aren’t wearing them. So what do you think?’”
- Watch IHRC Chairman Massoud Shadjareh on Channel 4 News: Should religion and state education be kept seperate?
- The Trojan Horse Affair in Birmingham from Insted – an overview of competing but overlapping narratives
- Inside Park View academy: Religion row school ‘is victim of its success’ by Richard Adams (14 May) – words from the pupils and teachers at the Birmingham school
“There’s a chance we may be sidelined due to what’s come up in the news. People may say, oh they are from Park View, they’ve been part of the whole Trojan horse scandal, so let’s not give them a place in a sixth form or university later on. That could be a possibility,” Sajad said.
- Why I stand by my decision to send my son to Park View academy by Nargis Iqbal (30 May) – the perspective of a parent who has no regrets about sending her son to Park View
- When lies sound truthful and murder is respectable by Ibrahim Hewitt (30 May)
“Political language…,” wrote Orwell in Politics and the English Language, “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” Remember this when you read about the “Trojan Horse plot” and Ofsted reports which turn “outstanding” schools into “inadequate” institutions in the space of a few months; they are part of a much bigger scenario.
- ‘Trojan Horses’ and Policing ‘Extremism’ in Schools by Gus John (3 June)
What happens in a secular schooling system when, free from ‘the shackles’ of elected local government, parents exercise the choice the state gives them and their school chooses to reflect its community’s aspirations in the way it caters for the “spiritual, moral, social and cultural development” of children? What happens when the community that school serves is predominantly Muslim, even though the school is not a faith-based school?
- A horse told Michael there’s a monster at our school by Gill Cressey – an excellent comment piece on the ridiculous nature of the situation
- Is the Trojan horse row just a witch hunt triggered by a hoax? by Richard Adams (8 June)
The claims that have bounced around include allegations of segregated classes, compulsory prayers and incendiary preachers at school assemblies – but most have crumbled under examination. So the focus for investigation has slipped from extremism to “an awareness of the risks associated with extremism” in the elided phrase now used by Ofsted inspectors to condemn the schools most heavily involved, such as Park View academy.
- Open letter to people of all religions, all faiths from Michael Rosen
- The curious incident of the Trojan Horse in the middle of Birmingham: Twenty questions to solve the mystery by Tim Brighouse
- A ‘Trojan Horse’ for tinpot racists by Richard Seymour
I think, readers, that you may be familiar with the concept of a forged document being used to promote a conspiracy theory about a demonised minority, the better to incite moral panic against them.
- Trojan horse affair: five lessons we must learn by Tim Brighouse
There is a host of questions for Ofsted. What did the commissioning letter from Gove ask? Who were the inspection team and what was their experience and knowledge of the issues? Were they accompanied by HMI national experts? What was their common guiding brief and how did it define signs of “extremism” and “radicalisation”?
- British Values and the British Muslims – a statement from AbdoolKarim Vakil of King’s College London
- Operation Trojan Horse: how a hoax problematised Muslims and Islam by Chris Allen
- Markets, publics and education: a tale of Trojan Horses by John Holmwood
- Policy Briefing: the Trojan Horse, the media and the Ofsted inspectorate by Jacqueline Baxter
- Trojan Horse, Ofsted and the preventing of education by Shamim Miah
- TIM BRIGHOUSE: PUTTING BIRMINGHAM SCHOOL KIDS FIRST – an excellent video featuring Tim Brighouse
- ‘Trojan Horse affair fuels Islamophobia’ in Newham by Shekha Vyas (10 July)
More than 60 teachers in Newham have signed an open letter to Michael Gove, saying the Trojan Horse affair has increased Islamophobia in the borough.
…And what you’ve probably seen everywhere else already:
- Forced out by fanatics: Head teachers reveal how they’ve been bullied, smeared and driven from their jobs for resisting Islamic extremists by Sue Reid and Lucy Osborne (March 2014)
- Muslim parent: Radical school is brainwashing our children by Andrew Gilligan (April 2014)
- Guide to school Islamisation, by ‘ringleader’ of Trojan Horse plot by Andrew Gilligan (April 2014)
- Trojan Horse: how The Guardian ignored and misrepresented evidence of Islamism in schools by Andrew Gilligan (June 2014)