PETER CLARKE’S REPORT ON THE ‘TROJAN HORSE’ INVESTIGATION – ‘AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH FOR THE COALITION GOVERNMENT’
Commenting on the Report into allegations concerning Birmingham schools arising from the ‘Trojan Horse’ letter by Peter Clarke, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:
“The Report of Peter Clarke concludes that he found no evidence of terrorism, radicalisation or violent extremism in Birmingham schools.
“There are serious concerns for some schools which have been highlighted in Mr Clarke’s Report.
“However, the naming of individuals and organisations in this Report should provoke concerns about the accuracy of what has been reported and the rights of the individuals and organisations concerned.
“Nevertheless, the Report is an inconvenient truth for the Coalition Government; it exposes a litany of failures which strike at the heart of the Coalition Government’s education policy.
“The majority of the 15 recommendations made by Mr Clarke are directed at addressing failures by the Department for Education over a lack of suitable controls to ensure that public interests are safeguarded at all times.
“Mr Clarke’s Report presents a direct challenge to the Coalition Government’s policy direction, which has included: the repeal of the requirement for all teachers to hold Qualified Teacher Status; the abolition of a national regulatory body for the teaching profession; and the failure to apply any national standards or to properly regulate leadership and governance of schools.
“The rush to increase the number of academy schools without establishing effective and appropriate checks on individuals and groups has also been criticised in Mr Clarke’s Report today.
“In 2011, the then Secretary of State agreed with the Chief Inspector of Schools to remove the requirement for Ofsted to inspect for community cohesion.
“Mr Clarke’s Report rightly argues for effective information sharing between agencies. It is therefore deeply regrettable that one of the Coalition Government’s first priorities was to abolish the national ‘Contact Point’ initiative which was a vital resource to securing effective information-sharing.
“Financial propriety in schools has also not been assisted by the decision to abolish the requirement for schools to comply with the national standard for financial management – a further issue highlighted by Mr Clarke’s Report.
“The issues in the Report are not about the merits or otherwise of academies and free schools, but about the failure of the Coalition Government to establish effective checks and balances to ensure that the interests of all taxpayers are secured.
“The Secretary of State for Education cannot simply disregard or ignore the recommendations contained in Mr Clarke’s Report, without seriously reflecting on the range of fundamental issues that have been identified.
“It is important in the debate about the findings of this Report that the impact on children, young people and the staff in the schools concerned is not forgotten.”