More 'trojan horses' in schools
Tim Dieppe comments on news that a head teacher has faced a campaign of intimidation by Muslim parents at her school who wish to see her removed. She has been violently attacked by a parent, and alleges that there have been death threats. A head teachers' union has said that they are supporting a number of heads facing similar pressures. Tim emphasises that Islamist infiltration of schools is a significant problem that needs to be tackled with robust policies.
A head teachers' union has revealed that it is supporting members with a "variety of apparent Trojan Horse issues." The term 'Trojan Horse' refers to an organised attempt to target schools in Birmingham by Islamists, that involved efforts to force head teachers out of their jobs.
Head teacher Trish O'Donnell, of Clarksfield Primary School, emailed Oldham council in December, saying that she had "very strong reasons to believe that … a 'Trojan Horse' agenda [is] being played out." She claimed that she had been subjected to a campaign involving "death threats", "threats to blow up her car", and "aggressive verbal abuse." She has been so concerned that she has worked from home for short periods in recent months.
A confidential report into the allegations by Oldham council, has been seen by the Sunday Times. The report says that the head teacher had even been physically attacked by one parent.
The report refers to a parent governor, Nasim Ashraf who hosted "Islamic teaching sessions" on the school premises. He and his wife organised a parents' petition against the head teacher and are believed to have been intimidating school staff, and engaging in activities to "undermine the head teacher" and "secure changes at the school to reflect their interpretation of Islam." The report describes their activity as "extremely problematic" in mobilising parents against the head teacher.
No wider plot
The council's report concludes that these activities at Clarksfield Primary School did not constitute a Trojan Horse-style plot, because it found that Ashraf was not an extremist and was "not part of any wider conspiracy." There is no suggestion that he or his wife were involved in the threats of violence. The Department for Education is also investigating the allegations, and has said that the investigation has nothing to do with extremism and "shouldn't be referenced as Trojan Horse." Nevertheless, it is reported that counter-terrorism police are investigating the claims.
A "senior national figure in national counter-extremism" is quoted by the Sunday Times as saying that there was a "significant problem" of Islamist infiltration in Oldham. Concerns were raised about a second Oldham school which recently hosted a speaker who has previously justified the killing of British troops. A third school in Oldham, has been investigated by Ofsted for failing to teach "British values" and donating to an organisation linked to extremists.
The school is mostly filled with Pakistani heritage pupils who do not speak English as a first language. Since becoming head in 2006, Mrs O'Donnell has taken the school Ofsted rating from needing improvement to good. She now feels her position is untenable because of the pressure from Muslim parents to change the school from within.
The revelation that the head teachers' union is supporting a number of members with similar problems shows that this is not an isolated case. This kind of issue is symptomatic of the segregated nature of our community as highlighted in the recent Casey Review. The report highlighted that a survey of pupils at a non-faith secondary school found that pupils believed Britain to be 50-90% Asian. In 2013, 50% of ethnic minority students were in schools where ethnic minorities were the majority.
This kind of segregation is preventing integration and assimilation, and has resulted in a plurality of segregated monocultures where Islam can dominate. In these areas, schools can come under pressure from parents to become more Islamic. Head teachers in such situations need strong backing from local councils and education authorities to resist the pressure from Islamic infiltration.
Revealed: new ‘Trojan Horse plot’ (Times £)
Second Islamist 'Trojan Horse' scandal feared after Oldham headteacher reports death threats (Telegraph)
Counter terrorism police investigate fears of a 'Trojan Horse-style' plot at a primary school where the headteacher is forced to work from home because of threats from Muslim parents (Mail)
Solutions for a segregated society: The Casey review and what to do about it
The Casey Review: a review into opportunity and integration (GOV UK)