What is the fall out from the Trojan Horse?

Trojan horse

The inspection reports into the so-called Trojan Horse allegations have finally been published.

After what must be an unprecedented amount of leaking, Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw has delivered his verdict.

So what do we know now?

Ofsted believes there was an organised campaign of infiltrating schools, undermining head teachers and governors running state schools like private fiefdoms.

Whether or not the anonymous Trojan Horse letter was a fake, Sir Michael believes that the warnings were real. Schools were being targeted for takeovers by people with a particular religious agenda.

It doesn't say who was involved or how they were organised, but head teachers told Ofsted they felt bullied and under pressure.

Leaders of schools caught up in the claims, such as Park View, have passionately rejected such claims - and say that it is a view shaped by pre-conceptions about schools serving a predominantly Muslim community.

They warn of "knee-jerk reactions" and say they have "nothing to hide".

Parental choice

But the decisions have already been taken and letters sent out which will begin the process of changing how the schools are run.

Nansen primary school

The investigations have been framed by fears of extremism - but the strongest warnings from the inspections have been about how the schools were being managed.

Governors were accused of effectively taking on the role of managers, with the teachers as their intimidated staff.

The response from the Department for Education has been to insist that schools instil a stronger sense of "British values" in pupils, and deliver an inoculating shot of democracy, tolerance and mutual respect.

Ofsted has called for more structural changes - such as tightening the monitoring of academies and improving the training and openness of governors.

But what would stop this happening again?

The biggest complication for those running England's schools is that it is a system with a built-in vulnerability to energetic entryism.

The principles promoted by successive governments - of ever-greater school autonomy and parental choice and community involvement - are seen as great strengths in improving schools.

But it also means a fine balance between the ideal of local control of a public service - and the risk of takeovers by self-appointed community leaders.

And there are longer term questions for a country of ever-widening diversity. What happens if more parents want a type of school of which others disapprove?

Sean Coughlan Article written by Sean Coughlan Sean Coughlan Education correspondent

How many attacks on schools around the world?

There have been almost 10,000 attacks on education in recent years

Read full article

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • HolidayHaute holiday

    When you’re wealthy, money is no object. BBC Capital discovers six places the rich like to escape to

Programmes

  • (File photo) A mother polar bear and two cubssThe Travel Show Watch

    From polar bear watching to crocodile conservation - highlights from 2014

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.