The case against five senior teachers accused of professional misconduct in the so-called “Trojan Horse” inquiry has been dropped.
An independent panel found the integrity of the process had been “called into disrepute.” It said 25 witness statements from a prior inquiry had been “deliberately withheld” from the panel.
Several schools in Birmingham were investigated amid claims of a “Muslim hardliners'” plot to control them, known as the Trojan Horse affair, which began in 2014. Birmingham’s Muslim community widely rejected the accusations which they saw as an Islamophobic attack on their schools orchestrated by the neo-con Education Secretary Micheal Gove. The Trojan Horse letter upon which the allegations were based is now widely considered to be a hoax.
The professional conduct panel of the NCTL found its own organisation withheld 25 statements which had been used in an inquiry led by former counter-terror boss Peter Clarke, into the allegations of a plot. The statements were disclosed at a late stage of the proceedings, the panel said, which was a breach of process and demonstrated a lack of co-operation.
Teachers’ lawyers argued the statements should have been disclosed earlier so they could better defend their clients. The five teachers who had been facing tribunals over alleged professional misconduct are:
Razwan Faraz, former deputy head teacher at Nansen Primary
Arshad Hussain, assistant head teacher at Park View
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Hardeep Saini, former head teacher at Golden Hillock
Lindsey Clark, executive head teacher at Park View
Monzoor Hussain, former head teacher at Park View
The teachers are all worked for the former Park View Trust, a trust which oversaw the running of several schools in Birmingham, including Park View, Golden Hillock and Nansen Primary.
The Clarke inquiry found no evidence of extremism but said “there are a number of people in a position of influence who either espouse, or sympathise with or fail to challenge extremist views.”
Eventually, the NCTL set up disciplinary hearings against a number of teachers at the schools, accusing them of professional misconduct. The hearings have been running since 2015.
Lawyers for Monzoor Hussain and Ms Clark issued separate statements saying both parties were relieved the ordeal was over. “For three years Mr Hussain has been unable to carry out his profession, with all the financial pressures that has caused to his family,” a statement said.
Ms Clark’s lawyers described the victory as “hollow” as she had fought for a verdict clearing her of any wrongdoing.
An NCTL spokesman said: “The NCTL will carefully consider this latest panel hearing before deciding the next steps in this process.”
Teaching union NASUWT said, on behalf of Mr Faraz, that Tuesday’s decision raises serious questions about the conduct of the NCTL.