The Guardian prepares itself for ‘Trojan Horse’ Ofsted humiliation

June 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm (apologists and collaborators, Brum, children, communalism, Education, Guardian, Islam, islamism, Jim D, misogyny, relativism, religion, religious right, secularism, truth)

Picture of Richard Adams

Adams of the Graun: evasion and waffle

When Ofsted publishes its reports into the Birmingham schools involved in the so-called ‘Trojan Horse’ allegations of the islamisation of nominally secular state schools in that City, it will censure six schools for failing to provide a “rounded education” or prepare pupils “for life in modern Britain.” In other words, the essential claim of the ‘Trojan Horse’ document – that Islamists have been organising to impose their fundamentalist agenda on schools in Birmingham – is true.

Since the ‘Trojan Horse’ document appeared in March, and the Ofsted inspections were ordered, Tim Boyes, the Head of Queensbridge School in Moseley, Birmingham, has come forward to claim that in 2010 he warned the Department of Education that in some Birmingham schools, pupils and staff were displaying “racist, aggressive and disrespectful behaviour” and that “I and a whole series of colleagues … were reporting concerns about governance and things that weren’t going well … tensions and politics have exploded and as a result head teachers have had nervous breakdowns, they’ve lost their jobs, schools have been really torn apart.” Gove’s department failed to act, says Boyes.

Very similar claims have now been made by a prospective school governor, Keith Townsend, who told Monday’s Radio 4 Today programme that a small group of governors had “infiltrated” the governing body of an un-named Birmingham school (thought to be Golden Hillock School in Sparkbrook), demanded a stricter Muslim regime, and set about driving out the non-Muslim headteacher. Townsend says he reported his concerns to Birmingham City Council in 2008 (when it was controlled by a Tory-Lib Dem coalition) but received a “dismissive reply.” Labour MP Steve McCabe says he can recall having a conversation with Mr Townsend at that time and taking his concerns to an assistant director at the City Council.

All of which puts the Guardian in a bit of a spot. All the Graun‘s coverage to date has concentrated upon suspicions about the provenance of the ‘Trojan Horse’ document, rather than the question of whether or not the allegations of an organised Islamic fundamentalist campaign to take over some Birmingham schools, are actually true. The logic put forward by the Graun is that because the ‘Trojan Horse’ document may well be a hoax, therefore the claims made in it must, of necessity, be untrue: an argument that simply doesn’t follow, if you give it a moment’s thought. At times, the Graun and its Education editor Richard Adams, seem to have been acting as little more than a mouthpiece for the ultra-reactionary Islamist Tahir Alam, Chair of governors at Park View School, and influential at its sister schools Golden Hillock and Nansen. Adams even wrote a glowing report of a visit to Park View, that was clearly arranged, organised and supervised by Alam himself!

How will Adams and the Graun react when the Ofsted reports show them to have been so completely and egregiously wrong about what’s been going on in Birmingham?

Well, we were given a foretaste yesterday, in a typical piece of evasion, double-speak and waffle from Adams. The article’s wretched nadir must surely be this:

“The tranche of reports on 21 state schools, which could be published as early as this week, say there was scant evidence of religious extremism on a daily basis in classrooms, with most criticism reserved for school management and cases of overbearing behaviour by school governors.

“Ofsted’s inspectors appear to have been unable to find much evidence of claims of homophobia or gender discrimination, which have been alleged by anonymous former teachers at some of the schools” (my emphasis  -JD).

Now, try a little experiment: try substituting the word “racism” (or, indeed, “Islamophobia”) for “religious extremism” in the first paragraph, and, again, for the words “homophobia or gender discrimination” in the second: then see how it reads.

This isn’t exactly a new low for the Graun (there’ve been too many of them to keep up with), but it’s one more depressing example of that paper’s miserable descent into relativism, pro-Islamism and a complete betrayal of secularism and enlightenment principles.

15 Comments

  1. The Guardian prepares itself for ‘Trojan Horse’ Ofsted humiliation | OzHouse said,

    […] Jun 03 2014 by admin […]

  2. Mike Killingworth said,

    Many Muslims believe that their religion is as much a legal system as a confessional practice and that therefore they can only practise it in a Muslim country. (After all, this is why India partitioned when us Brits left.)

    I have no idea whether this makes them “fundamentalists” and, frankly, neither have you. Because the word is simply a jibe.

    • Lamia said,

      “Many Muslims believe that their religion is as much a legal system as a confessional practice and that therefore they can only practise it in a Muslim country”

      Nothing is stopping them going to one. Britain is not a Muslim country. the fact that someone ‘believe’ they are entitled to live and act according to different laws from the rest of us does not make that belief worthy of respect.

      “I have no idea whether this makes them “fundamentalists” and, frankly, neither have you. Because the word is simply a jibe.”

      If it is a jibe, then it is merited. It is hypocritical and dishonest to claim public funds in order to run schools according to curricula and practises that contravene the conditions of that funding. Arguably it’s fraud.

      That’s quite aside from the fact that the schools have been teaching antisemitism, homophobia and misogyny. But then, the ‘progressive’ pro-Islamist section of the left has been quite at ease with those for some years now.

      Just keep chanting ‘Islamophobia!’, Mike.

  3. Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

    It’s a shame Ofsted didn’t get to do its work with whoever failed to teach you secondary school English, e.g. “failing to provide a “rounded education” or prepare pupils “for life in modern Britain.” does not necessarily equal “Islamists have been organising to impose their fundamentalist agenda on schools in Birmingham”. Indeed, I have been ‘organising to my ‘fundamentalist’ political agenda for the world for years – but with no discernable effect. So there is nothing inherently worrying in hearing someone say, ‘We want all schools to follow the tenets of our religion and we are organising as Gnostics to ensure this’. It’s what a Gnostic or person of whatever religious fervour would do. It’s only if that religious group can actually can make meaningful changes that we should be worried about such a threat to secularism but that doesn’t include progressive changes e.g. I’m sure putting Eid, Diwali etc. as school holidays was attacked when introduced as bending to religious lobbies – but then I’d imagine the AWL will ban Christmas.

    Whilst it will be interesting to see what Ofsted say, they are hardly an objective organisation – as part of the state, they are all signed up to the anti-Islam agenda in the way that the steel-bands organising, Bob Marley record playing and cool teachers (the only ones) of my youth would doubtless have been seen as agents of radical Black nationalism if today’s paranoias had been imposed then. I’ve a reasonable knowledge of the practices of most major religions and that’s useful where I live in east London and such should certainly be taught in Birmingham as well.

    My impression of most Heads is that they believe in the Nazi form of rule in their little empire. They would have you believe it is their own personal school (and will never publically acknowledge the role of the council) and will do all they can to ignore the governors. Any disobedience by school students can get a nuclear response (the local lad who was expelled, just before his GCSEs, for possessing a joint, outside school and who was not even cautioned when found by the cops but who was reported to his school by them) and the wonderful 12 year old organising against her school becoming an Academy in SE London and who was consequently threatened by her Head (and which she just shrugged off – my ‘Person of the Year’, so far). Therefore, when a Head says such and such about manoeuvres etc, whilst not automatically presuming the opposite, I realise that they are people who like their power completely untrammelled and I am duly sceptical.

    It is important to push for secularism. Enforcing religious practice or distorting education through such is unacceptable but it is very easy to misinterpret. I don’t know what are the latest ideas on seating the sexes together, but I imagine some may genuinely think it improves their education not to do this in the way I think girls schools get higher results than mixed schools. A refusal to teach sex education might be justified by saying, ‘if we do that, most kids will be made to stay at home that day and we’d rather lose that than a day’s education’. Of course, these could also be the clever excuses of those reactionaries who just want to ban sex education etc. and no quarter should be given to them – but nor assumptions made either.

    • Jim Denham said,

      “It’s a shame Ofsted didn’t get to do its work with whoever failed to teach you secondary school English, e.g. “failing to provide a “rounded education” or prepare pupils “for life in modern Britain.” does not necessarily equal “Islamists have been organising to impose their fundamentalist agenda on schools in Birmingham”. ”

      ..eh: in this context, it does. Learn to think.

    • Mike Killingworth said,

      (1) much as my heart agrees with SPP’s assessment of headteachers’ psychology, my head asks: would schools be better run by committees?

      (2) when I sat on an education committee (35 years ago now, oh dear oh dear) I was told, as SPP says, that co-ed benefits boys and single sex girls, although I don’t suppose Muslim fundies want to heat that! The real point is that we don’t know how to devise a form of schooling that delivers equality…

  4. Bob-B said,

    The Guardian acting as a mouthpiece for an ultra-reactionary Islamist. What a surpise.

  5. s4r4hbrown said,

    The Guardian coverage hasn’t been balanced. On the other hand, it has been extremely unhelpful to have information leaked to Andrew Gilligan of the Telegraph.

  6. Andrew Coates said,

    On Newsnight on Wednesday Paxman, a chap from Quilliam, and a head of a Leicester Islamic school talked about this.

    The Quilliam speaker repeatedly tried to get the Islamist Head teacher to unequivocally denounce Sharia punishments for adultery or stealing like stoning, cutting thieves’ hands off and the rest.

    The Head avoided giving a straight answer, but suggested that a due – Sharia – process was needed for these punishments to be carried out.

    I wouldn’t like to be caught nicking paper clips or be found snogging somebody at his “educational” institution.

  7. Jim Denham said,

  8. flyingrodent said,

    I’ll admit that I could probably do with some educating here – ironically -but I’m struggling to see how, for example

    “Too little is done to keep students safe from the risks associated with extremist views”

    …Translates into “Trojan Horse letter proven to be real”.

    Further, I’m not sure that saying the school is “not doing enough to mitigate against cultural isolation” is the same thing or even similar to finding evidence of a “Jihadist plot” to “take over” the school.

    (See here for an example of a person repeating claims of “jihadist plot” in convenient scare-quotes http://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/the-alleged-jihadist-plot-to-take-over-brum-schools/ )

    I can entirely believe that a lot of hard-liner parents would get together to push wacky ideas on their local schools – non-hard-liner parents push less wacky ideas, with far less motivation.

    Nonetheless, I’m still not seeing how a judgement that a school isn’t “mitigating against cultural isolation” enough to the point where it “could leave students vulnerable to the risk of marginalisation from wider British society and the associated risks which could include radicalisation” translates into a proven, concerted attempt to e.g. indoctrinate children with the most insane and hardcore Islamist beliefs.

    Now, maybe Ofsted is speaking bureacratese here, and “not doing enough” actually means “actively permitting nutters to brainwash kids”.

    Nonetheless, maybe it doesn’t. Which does kind of suggest that all the boo-yah, in yer face Rusbridger stuff is a little bit OTT, no?

    • s4r4hbrown said,

      I’d like to recommend this really interesting comment
      http://hurryupharry.org/2014/06/05/excuses-excuses-sudan-tuam-and-birmingham/#comment-1420537041

      One problem is – if the Ofsted etc reports were quite gentle people would complain they’d been suborned by ‘Islamists’. If they were pretty tough other people would feel sure that the process had been hijacked by ‘neocons’. There’s been some poor reporting all round – in my opinion worse on the side of those trying to minimise the problems.

    • Jim Denham said,

      Rodent:

      Read what I actually wrote, not what you mis-remember from my post. I do *not* say “Trojan Horse letter proven to be real”. I argue (in the main post above) that even if the Trojan Horse document is a hoax, it doesn’t follow that the claims it contains are false, and that the Ofsted reports into 6 Birmingham schools strongly suggest that the claims are, essentially, true.

      Teachers, other people involved in education, councillors and and parents (including some Muslim parents) in Birmingham have known what’s been going on for some years. Khalid Mahmood, MP for Perry Barr, has even described the activities of Islamists in schools as a form of “grooming.”

      s4r4h: thanks for that link to a good, fair and balanced post at That Place

  9. Boleyn Ali said,

    OFSTED has neither the skills required to make a reliable assessment nor the necessary independence to be credible. The Guardian is beyond reason. Education is a monetised and ideological mess.

    As ever a simple, longstanding socialist policy, a universal, secular education system is the only rational answer.

    • Mike Killingworth said,

      And what would you do, BA, with parents who prefer tradition to reason? Re-educate them? In camps, with or without running water?

      The real problem, as with almost any political issue you care to mention, is that the majority prefer one thing, but aren’t terribly exercised about it, whilst a minority live for its opposite, and care for nothing else. Islamism, Trotskyism, what’s the difference – behaviourally?

      The reason to admire CLR James, for example, is that he was exercised about more than one thing. Singlemindedness is only a sign of emotional health in genius.

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