Trojan Horse inquiries into Birmingham schools criticised by MPs

MPs have criticised the official inquiries into the so-called “Trojan Horse” extremism controversy in Birmingham schools.

Questions need to be asked about the reliability of Ofsted’s inspection judgements as it failed to identify problems at some of the Birmingham schools involved, the Commons Education Select Committee said.

The group of influential MPs suggested that while the move to actively promote British values in schools is welcome, common sense must be used in checking that this is happening.

Four separate investigations were conducted into the alleged plot by “hard-line” Muslims to seize control of a number of school governing boards in Birmingham.

While no evidence of radicalisation was found, the findings – specifically Ofsted inspections – did raise concerns that in some schools governors had exerted inappropriate influence over how schools were run.

Last summer, Ofsted issued a damning verdict on the running of a number of the city’s schools and declared five failing, placing them into special measures.

The committee concluded that, apart from one incident, no evidence of extremism or radicalisation was found by any of the Trojan Horse inquiries.

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Committee chair Graham Stuart said the Trojan Horse affair was “less about extremism” than about “governance and the ability of local and central agencies to respond to whistleblowers”.

The “Trojan Horse” letter about extremism in Birmingham schools which sparked off months of media demonisation is now widely accepted to have been a fake.

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