Birmingham & Black Country

'Trojan Horse': Five schools in special measures criticised

Pupils at Park View School
Image caption Three of the schools placed in special measures are run by the Park View Educational Trust

Five Birmingham schools placed into special measures in the fallout from an investigation into an alleged hard-line Islamist takeover plot have still not improved, the schools watchdog said.

Ofsted carried out inspections in September after the five schools were put into special measures in June.

The anonymous "Trojan Horse" letter which was sent to Birmingham City Council claimed a socially-conservative group of Muslims was trying to get their own members on to governing bodies and oust head teachers.

Four of the schools currently in special measures are independent academies and one is in local authority control.

In a letter to parents, the Park View Educational Trust - which runs three of the academies - said many of the issues raised by Ofsted have already been "fully addressed".

Birmingham City Council, which is responsible for Saltley School, said it has taken "decisive action" by putting in place an interim executive board and asking Washwood Heath Academy to help with leadership.

Image copyright Google

Golden Hillock School - an academy run by the Park View Educational Trust

  • Inspected 10 September
  • New trustees appointed in July
  • A new interim principal of the group took over on 1 September
  • 18 teachers have left, 15 joined and there are 14 supply teachers working on long-term contracts since the April inspection

"Safeguarding remains a serious concern", according to the report.

The new trustees have "a realistic view of the magnitude of issues it faces", Ofsted said.

But it also said the interim principal "has yet to grasp the full complexity of the issues facing the academy".

Ofsted judgements:

  • The sponsor's statement of action is not fit for purpose
  • The improvement plans are not fit for purpose
  • It "strongly recommends" the school does not appoint newly qualified teachers
Image copyright Google Maps

Nansen Primary School - an academy run by the Park View Educational Trust

  • Inspected 12 September
  • A new trustees appointed on 15 July
  • Acting principal running the academy since January
  • The vice-principal currently absent from work

Ofsted described leadership at the school as "ineffective" adding there was "no clear direction or vision of how to address weaknesses".

"Senior leaders lack an in-depth understanding of the complexities of issues and they are unrealistic about what they need to do," the report concluded.

Ofsted judgements:

  • The sponsor's statement of action is not fit for purpose
  • The improvement plan is not fit for purpose
  • It "strongly recommends" the school does not appoint newly qualified teachers

Oldknow Academy

  • Inspected 9 September
  • A new board of trustees appointed in August
  • The academy's principal returned to work in September

Ofsted said since its last inspection, "little has been achieved to address deep-seated weaknesses in governance and safeguarding".

Staff remain "divided, with split loyalties and allegiances", the watchdog concluded.

It said the new trustees have had a "very limited impact on the academy".

"Worryingly, trustees were not aware that a visit to Saudi Arabia had taken place this year for pupils and staff, despite a similar trip last year receiving criticism from inspectors at the previous inspection due to failures in safeguarding," the report said.

Ofsted judgements:

  • The sponsor's statement of action is not fit for purpose
  • The academy's improvement plan is not fit for purpose
  • It "strongly recommends" the school does not appoint newly qualified teachers

Park View Academy - an academy run by the Park View Educational Trust

  • Inspected 8 September
  • A new board of trustees "very recently" established
  • The new executive principal appointed for the three academies run by Park View Educational Trust is also the acting principal of Park View Academy

Ofsted said since its inspection in April, there has been "very little effective action taken to bring about much-needed improvements".

"It is of concern that some senior leaders hold an inaccurate view of the academy's performance and fail to acknowledge issues and weaknesses raised in the previous inspection," the report said.

Ofsted judgements:

  • The sponsor's statement of action is not fit for purpose
  • The academy's improvement plan is not fit for purpose
  • It "strongly recommends" the school does not appoint newly qualified teachers

Saltley School - under local authority control

  • Inspected 11 September
  • Overseen by Washwood Heath Academy since September
  • Fourteen teachers have left the school and 16 joined since the April inspection.

There has been "little improvement in the five months since the school was made subject to special measures", the watchdog said.

Responses to an Ofsted questionnaire by staff said some "segregate themselves into groups based on their religious beliefs", the report found.

Ofsted judgements:

  • The combined local authority's statement of action and current school improvement plan are not fit for purpose.
  • The school may not appoint newly qualified teachers before the next monitoring inspection.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites