A letter to The Guardian newspaper signed by a group of leading educationalists and Muslim leaders has called into question the impartiality of education watchdog Ofsted as well as the British education system itself.
Here is the full statement which was published on June 3:
“Several major Ofsted reports are due to be published about the so-called ‘Trojan Horse’ schools in Birmingham which are alleged to be at the centre of a plot to ‘Islamise’ schools.
“The reports will be a landmark in British educational history and the history of Britain as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, for better or for worse.
“First-hand accounts of the Ofsted inspections that have emerged are disturbing. They suggest that inspectors were poorly prepared and had an agenda that calls into question Ofsted’s claim to be objective and professional in its appraisal of standards in schools serving predominantly Muslim pupils.
“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. In at least one instance, these conflicting judgments were made by the same lead inspector. This has damaged not only the reputation of the schools but the integrity of the inspections process.
“This is uncharted territory, with Ofsted seemingly being guided by an ideology at odds with the traditional British values which schools are meant to espouse, particularly fairness, justice and respect for others. We, the undersigned, believe that such an approach compromises not only Ofsted’s impartiality but also the British education system itself.”
Here is a list of signatories to the letter:
Tim Brighouse and Robin Richardson, Former Runnymede Trust.
Salma Yaqoob and Tom Wylie, Former HMI.
Ibrahim Hewitt, education consultant.
S Sayyid, University of Leeds.
Arzu Merali, Islamic Human Rights Commission.
Sameena Choudry, Equitable Education.
Baljeet Singh Gill, Ruskin College.
Massoud Shadjareh, Islamic Human Rights Commission.
Farooq Murad, Muslim Council of Britain.
Arshad Ali, Institute of Education, University of London.
Maurice Irfan Coles and Abdoolkarim Vakil, King’s College London.
Gill Cressey, Muslim Youthwork Foundation.
Steph Green, Ruskin College.
Mustafa Draper, Abbas Shah, Tasawar Bashir and MG Khan, Ruskin College.