Birmingham chair of governors rejects 'Islam plot' letter

Tahir Alam said he did not subscribe to the document's strategy

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A chair of governors says he was not part of an anonymous letter outlining an alleged plot to oust head teachers at four Birmingham schools.

The letter, sent to the city council, claimed the plan aimed to make the schools adhere to more Islamic principles.

Council leader Sir Albert Bore has said the letter was "defamatory".

Tahir Alam, chair of governors at the Park View School academy, said the document "maligns" his good name.

The letter claimed the scheme, known as "Operation Trojan Horse", had already influenced leadership change at four schools.

It claimed there was a plot at four schools to undermine head teachers and make schools adopt policies consistent with hard-line Islamic principles.

Adderley Primary, Saltley School, Park View School and Regents Park Community Primary School, were named in the alleged plot.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Park View - a secondary school with academy status - is to be placed in special measures by the education watchdog Ofsted in a move that could see its head teacher and governors removed.

'Ridiculous assertions'

The newspaper claimed that the school, previously rated as "outstanding", would be downgraded to "inadequate" in the category of leadership and management according to "senior education sources".

Park View Educational Trust said it was disappointed by the suggestion that information purported to be part of confidential investigations was "reaching the public domain before an official report has been published".

Mr Alam said of the letter: "This particular document is unsigned, undated, [a] completely anonymous document which maligns my good name and my good work that I've done in education for many, many years.

"So I don't subscribe to its strategy that's actually outlined in there, so I reject that totally."

Asked if he was an extremist, he added: "These are just ridiculous assertions really meant to serve the frenzy that has been generated really in the media which actually is a kind of a witch-hunt in this very, very deprived area.

"We have given these children hope and opportunity."

Sir Albert has said the letter was "hugely difficult to investigate" and part of an inquiry would focus on whether the plot was genuine.

He has said council auditors have been "reviewing all our practice in schools management" and their review work to date "shows no serious flaws in what we do".

A Department for Education spokesman said officials were monitoring Park View following serious allegations.

Ofsted said it inspected Park View School but could not confirm the judgment because the report has not been published yet.

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