The ‘Trojan Horse’ school scandal in Britain is alive and well, and expanding. The recent downgrading of several Muslim schools suggests a growing nervousness about Islam in the UK, and what they are teaching or allowing on their premises.
The inspections also suggest wider social concerns about the make-up and cohesiveness of British society after years of immigration, and over whether faith schools, in particular, prepare pupils to play their part as full UK citizens. The debate over “British values” came to the fore in the wake of the “Trojan horse” affairs, and the realization that hundreds of British Muslim men – and some women – had become radicalized enough in msoques and schools to join extremists in Iraq and Syria.
The head teacher of the Church of England school in east London at the centre of a fresh controversy over alleged Islamic extremism, has expressed surprise at the Ofsted inspection findings.
The Sir John Cass Foundation and Red Coat Church of England secondary, and a group of independent Muslim faith schools in Tower Hamlets, will be criticized by Ofsted over safeguarding concerns, following snap visits by the schools inspectorate in the wake of the “Trojan horse” affair in Birmingham. London Sir John Cass secondary school’s focus of Islamic indoctrination, is to be downgraded from outstanding to Ofsted’s lowest rating of inadequate, primarily over Facebook activity by teachers linked to extremist material, and existing segregation between boys and girls in school areas.
The independent Muslim schools have complained that abrupt changes in policy and incomplete guidance on controversial issues such as British values and radicalisation has made it impossible to meet Ofsted and government guidelines.