Trojan Horse: nearly 80% of the 21 B’ham schools met safeguarding requirements, so why did Ofsted criticise them for not engaging with Prevent?

Janet Downs's picture
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Safeguarding includes protecting children from extremist views, according to police guidance about what Prevent* means for schools. Safeguarding met requirements in sixteen of the twenty-one schools visited by Ofsted as part of its Trojan Horse investigations.

Education Secretary Michael Gove missed this encouraging news from his Commons statement. Instead, he implied judgements on leadership and management were full inspection results which damned all but three of the schools. This was misleading.

Despite the fact that safeguarding met requirements in sixteen schools, inspectors commented about engagement with Prevent in eleven of them.

There appears to be some inconsistency here. The Ofsted Schools Inspection Handbook, revised April 2014, tells inspectors that when judging behaviour and safety they should take into account:

“…the extent to which pupils are able to understand, respond to and calculate risk effectively, for example risks associated with extremism.”

Extremism is defined as including “risks associated with e-safety, substance misuse, knives and gangs, relationships (including sexual relationships), water, fire, roads and railways.”

Nowhere are inspectors asked to judge a school’s engagement with Prevent.

Not all local authorities (LAs) have been enthusiastic about Prevent especially in its insistence that Prevent should be separated from promoting community cohesion. This separation is odd considering the Prevent strategy review said “Prevent depends on integration, democratic participation and a strong interfaith dialogue.”

One LA initially reluctant to embrace Prevent was Leicester City Council which had built up strong relationships with local groups. Leicester was fearful Prevent would damage these ties. When the City eventually engaged with Labour’s Prevent strategy, it renamed it ‘Mainstreaming Moderation’ and focussed on all forms of extremism not just Al’Qaeda.

When Teresa May relaunched Prevent in 2011, Leicester was again reluctant. Since 2012, however, it’s been delivered by an inter-faith centre and focuses on integration. The centre is also responsible for the DCLG** programme, “Near Neighbours”. In Leicester it would be difficult, therefore, to split Prevent from community cohesion. But the Government hopes to make it a legal requirement for councils to implement Prevent without taking into account local circumstances. This could be counter-productive.

Birmingham, however, embraced Prevent. But it’s in Birmingham that Prevent seems to have been least successful (see here). This bodes ill for making it mandatory for LAs to implement Prevent. Even the Education Secretary and Home Secretary can’t agree on how best to put Prevent into operation. And ACPO advice dated 2013 contains links to out-of-date Government guidance no longer available.

So, given the confusion and controversy surrounding Prevent, should Ofsted comment about schools’ engagement with it? Inspectors are expected to judge how effectively a school keeps pupils safe from risks including extremism, but is it a step too far to criticise schools that don’t explicitly engage with Prevent?

UPDATE 19 June 2014. The Telegraph, January 2013, reported on a leaked "secret" DfE memo about "socially conservative" faith schools. The memo referred to extremism with particular reference to new Independent School Standards which will require private schools to promote respect for “fundamental British values” . The report claimed:

'Ofsted has not yet trained its inspectors in how to enforce such standards but it is introducing a “specialist cadre” of inspectors to look at faith schools as part of a planned “prioritised inspection programme.'

'However, the education department has admitted in briefings that it can only look at the “ethos” of independent schools, rather than how they are actually run.'

'And the department says it has failed to measure the mindset in state schools because it cannot work out how to “detect” extremism or a “baseline” to start from.'

The Telegraph article may or may not be accurate (it was criticised for factual inaccuracies and failing to give a balanced view here), but it would appear that 18 months ago Ofsted inspectors of Independent Schools hadn't received their training and the DfE couldn't work out how to detect extremism in state schools.

FURTHER UPDATE 19 June 2014 The DfE has a Due Diligence and Counter Extremism Division. The only information I've found about its remit is that it's responsible for checking the background of free school proposers. Any further information about what this Division actually does would be welcome.

*Prevent is part of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy.

**Department for Communities and Local Government

The Ofsted Inspection Handbook can be downloaded here. The data re whether safeguarding met requirements can be found in the table at the bottom of the Advice Note sent by chief HMI Sir Michael Wilshaw to Michael Gove. The Note can be downloaded here.
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Comments

Phil Taylor's picture
Sun, 15/06/2014 - 12:38

Thanks once again Janet for pulling together some disturbing facts which I haven't seen commented on elsewhere. I expect that, in due course, we'll hear a lot more about Prevent.

It's a great pity that neither the media or the opposition have, as far as I can see, picked up on these issues.

Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 15/06/2014 - 14:19

Phil - Michael Wilshaw is going to meet some of the parents. I hope they ask him why inspectors made comments on schools' engagement with Prevent when it is not required in the Ofsted Inspection Handbook.


Phil Taylor's picture
Sun, 15/06/2014 - 14:37

Yes Janet, I saw that he is to meet them. He could hardly refuse.

I just hope they're suitably primed on all aspects but particularly on Prevent, and that afterwards they will speak publicly about the meeting.

Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 15/06/2014 - 14:57

Phil - and now Blair has joined the swamp drainers by comparing the Trojan Horse plot to Boko Haram, the group that kidnapped the Muslim girls in Nigeria.


Phil Taylor's picture
Sun, 15/06/2014 - 15:25

Yes Janet, I heard a clip on the news. Had the Marr programme recorded but can't bear to watch Blair anymore. He rivals Gove in his conviction that he's always right.

And the comparison is so ridiculous. I don't suppose he actually knows much about the Birmingham issue - it's just a knee-jerk response.

Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 15/06/2014 - 14:38

Ex-Tory MP, Matthew Parris, writing in yesterday's Times (behind paywall) shared my concerns about the "assumption of guilt". It undermines confidence in the rule of law, he wrote. Like MP Crispin Blunt, who feared draining the "swamp" might cause a greater problem by forcing people to choose, Parris believes "an impression of injustice may do more to spread jihadism than a fuddy-duddy old schoolteacher who tells the girls to wear scarves".

He says profiling human beings is dehumanising them - making assumptions because people fall into a particular category rather than judging them because of their individual character is "deeply, deeply wounding."

So the parents who meet Wilshaw might want to ask why their schools were grilled on whether they engaged with Prevent when it's not required by the Inspection Handbook and other schools don't seem to be asked the same quesion.

Phil Taylor's picture
Sun, 15/06/2014 - 15:28

Perhaps some of the schools will formally complain about their 'inspections'. particularly in the light of the fact that Prevent isn't even mentioned in other inspection reports.

I wonder who would deal with such a complaint as Wilshaw is so heavily implicated?

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Mon, 16/06/2014 - 10:31

There is no mechanism beyond Ofsted itself and Gove Phil.

That's why I'm doing this:
http://wcld.focusteam.org.uk/2014/03/03/taking-ofsted-into-the-dragons-den/

Andy V's picture
Tue, 17/06/2014 - 18:58

Janet, A potential glitch in the logic of the thread in that it appears to be based on a Section 5 Inspection but none of these were. That is to say, they were all Section 8 Inspections and as such are not constrained by the handbook or framework for Section 5 Inspections:

"Her Majesty’s Inspectors carried out inspections of 21 schools in Birmingham between 5 March 2014 and 1 May 2014. All of the schools that were inspected are publicly funded and none is a faith school.

All of the schools were inspected under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. Fifteen of these schools were inspected at the request of the Secretary of State. Six were inspected because of Ofsted’s concerns about the effectiveness of safeguarding and leadership and management in these schools.

This advice note draws on evidence from all 21 inspections and meetings that were held with lead inspectors, headteachers, professional associations and representatives from Birmingham City Council."

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/advice-note-provided-academies-and-ma...

Section 8:

"Other schools not in a category of concern

We will inspect a school not in a category of concern, if we have serious concerns as a result of:

a qualifying complaint
a request by the Secretary of State
other information which is brought to Ofsted’s attention."

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/schools/for-schools/inspecting-schools/inspecti...

On this basis it is not unreasonable to deduce that the SoS Educ authorised the Section 8 Inspections on the basis of a potential breach of CONTEST and Prevent. The former is the counter terrorism strategy of which the latter is a part. I appreciate that I am speculating here but this would make sense in relation to the Trojan Horse letter (hoax or otherwise) that strongly implied radicalisation as opposed to concerns about educational standards.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 07:14

Andy - that's an interesting point. The advice for the Section 8 inspections appropriate in the circumstances says the inspections should be conducted in accordance with the Ofsted Inspection Handbook (which, as I've said, defines extremism but does not mention Prevent).

The Section 8 guidelines ask inspectors to consider:

"how well the school’s strategies and procedures, including the provision of appropriate guidance, help pupils to prepare for life in modern democratic Britain and a global society, and to prevent extremist behaviour ."

It does not, however, ask inspectors to judge engagement with Prevent. Some schools, indeed some LAs like Leicester, incorporate Prevent with community cohesion or concentrate on the latter. That approach is not recommended in Prevent. So, if inspectors are judging schools on their engagement with Prevent, it may actually be counterproductive.

Guidance for Section 8 inspections can be downloaded here.


Andy V's picture
Tue, 17/06/2014 - 19:32

Apologies Janet but here is an addendum to my earlier post:

People may also wish to be aware of the formal guidance issued to all schools, LAs and academy/free school chains:

Keeping Children Safe in Education (KSCIE), which at page 9, para 25 under the sub heading 'Specific Safeguarding issues' provides a list that includes "radicalisation" with an embedded link to the Prevent document on the gov.uk website.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/fil...

Also para 10 of the April 2014 Inspecting Safeguarding (Section 5 Briefing) document states at para 10, page 5 and 6 that:

"10.Safeguarding can involve a range of potential issues such as:

extremist behaviour"

With all this in mind (e.g. Trojan Horse letter, SoS Educ directing Section 8 Inspections, and Safeguarding embracing both 'extremism' and 'radicalisation', I am struggling to see the strength of the case against what the government and Ofsted did. That said, I do accept that the SoS Educ may have been better advised to send unannounced DFE observers to governors meetings at the schools causing concern (see Sir Tim Brighouse's observations in the Guardian today) but even so how do you tackle the number of schools involved simultaneously using that strategy? One could argue that the number of schools precluded this because to visit one or two schools had the potential to alert the others and nullify the desired goal.

Henry Stewart's picture
Tue, 17/06/2014 - 19:54

The case against what the government and Ofsted did?

Well, there seems to be little evidence of extremism. What there is evidence is of problems with governance. Specifically of pushy parents (who happen to be muslims) over-reaching their role and seeking to directly control key elements of schools.

If these were maintained schools, an effective local authority would have simply worked with the schools to put this right, without turning it into a national witch-hunt at huge cost to the schools involved.

Thats the problem and it seems to highlight a huge problem with the academy model. If the only way to correct problems like this (which will continue to happen with schools) is a heavy handed approach like this, plastered across the national media, then it seems to me there is something seriously wrong with the model.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 06:55

Andy - thanks for the link.

I've had a look at the "Radicalisation" document linked in "Keeping Children Safe in Education". Its primary focus is to describe Channel (a key element of Prevent). This covers the establishment of Multi-Agency Panels (MAPS). Each MAP is chaired by the LA and may include school reps. The document says "ownership" of the risk of involvement with terrorism lies with the police. It makes no reference to school inspections.

The section about Inspection in the link you provided refers users to the Ofsted Inspection Handbook. This defines extremism (given in my article) but does not mention Prevent.

So, there is no duty of inspectors to monitor schools' involvement with Prevent. Given there is confusion and controversy, even among ministers, over the best way to implement Prevent, it is a step too far for inspectors, who are not likely to be experts on Prevent, to judge schools' engagement with the policy.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Tue, 17/06/2014 - 20:45

Henry there is no case against what the government and Ofsted did?
There can be no case because there is no legal structure within which a case could exist. If the secretary of state for education and Ofsted agree then there's nothing anyone can do about it. Whether or not the schools is under LA control is completely irrelevant.

Phil Taylor's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 07:24

I agree. But doesn't your last para demonstrate how far we have sunk into a Kafkaesque world where schools are judged on a demand that they obey the edicts of an obscure project that is not even mentioned in the Ofsted Handbook nor, it seems, in other inspection reports?

I would guess that, all round the country, school leaders are scurrying about trying to be clear about what this sinister Prevent programme requires of them, which hoops they have to prove they have jumped through, what evidence they will be forced to provide.

Farce or tragedy?

Phil Taylor's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 07:11

Presumably an Academy chain, for example, could mount a legal challenge, perhaps a Judicial Review?


Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 08:37

No Phil they haven't. Only public and private schools can.

That the great ironies of 'free schools and academies'. They don't actually have any meaningful freedoms.

Even their supposed freedoms to avoid the new nightmare curriculum aren't real as children in all state schools will be examined on it from the age of 6 and schools held to account according to their results.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 08:41

The only significant extra freedoms they got were those generated by them having more money, due to taking the bribes to hand over their property.


Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 09:15

Rebecca - the Academies Commission found the so-called extra freedoms available to academies don't amount to much - non-academies can do most things academies can do.

That said, there seem to be some "freedoms" which come with academy status which are dubious:

1 The ability to engage teachers without qualified teacher status (QTS) with no requirement that they ever work towards it (as in the case with non-academies).
2 The freedom to opt out of school meals standards (Ofsted said the breakfasts provided Langley Hall Primary Academy, one of the first free schools, did "not ensure that pupils have a consistently healthy and well-balanced diet").
3 The ability to give contracts to companies linked to trustees.
4 The freedom to pack governing bodies with relatives or with people who will form a clique to deliberately undermine senior leaders. If this group dominates the governing body then it can ensure its own favoured candidates are employed as teachers.

It is the last freedom which seems to have been a factor in B'Ham (and possibly elsewhere).

Andy V's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 11:48

Phil, Judicial Review is a process open to all:

"Judicial review is a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body.

In other words, judicial reviews are a challenge to the way in which a decision has been made, rather than the rights and wrongs of the conclusion reached ... "

http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/you-and-the-judiciary/judicial-review/

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 12:32

Provided a law's been broken.

Unfortunately the process of providing the legal instrument which make it possible for regulated organisations to succeed in obtaining a judicial review of their regulator was suspended in 2010, just after it had been applied to Ofsted for its work in public and private schools but before it the planned consultation regarding its extension to the state sector could take place.

The legal infrastructure was developed to ensure regulators worked in the interests of society and applied the standards defined in the regulators code or behaved in ways which were consistent, transparent, proportionate and targeted at cases where action was needed. The process of judicial review forces a regulator to improve its practice to be compliant with the regulators code if it is not and if it is clearly not applying the principles of consistency, transparency, proportionality and appropriate targeting.

Andy V's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 16:55

No law has to be broken. I can only repeat the quote direct from the Courts and Tribunals website used in my early post:

"In other words, judicial reviews are a challenge to the way in which a decision has been made, rather than the rights and wrongs of the conclusion reached." This not about breaking any law.

Salford don't seem to think that the use of Judicial Review for Ofsted has been suspended:

"Ofsted inspection complaints process - a handy guide for early years settings

Ofsted has changed the way that it handles complaints. There are now three 'steps':

If you are unhappy with the way the inspection was carried out and/or the resulting grade, contact Tribal or Prospects, depending on who carried out your inspection, so that they can start dealing with the complaint. You should then be sent a draft inspection report. Ofsted aims for 14 days but this is getting drawn out due to backlogs. Following this, if you are unhappy with the report you have ten working days from publication of the report to submit a step two complaint.
Prospects or Tribal have 30 working days to investigate a step 2 complaint and write to the provider with the outcome. If you are still unhappy with the outcome you have 15 working days to lodge a step 3 complaint with Ofsted.
At this stage, Ofsted will carry out an internal review and will look into the step 2 investigation. Ofsted will then write to you, normally within 30 working days with its decision. If you are still unsatisfied at this point the only step left in this process is to refer the complaint to the Independent Complaints Adjudication Service for Ofsted. This service has a limited remit in that it effectively only looks at the conduct of the inspectors and is unable to reverse earlier decision making by Tribal, Prospects or Ofsted. It is possible to bring a court case against Ofsted before the High Court which is a judicial review action. Judicial review is the means by which the High Court examines the acts and/or omissions of a public body. It is not a process of appeal and therefore, the court will not substitute its own view on the matter in question. Rather, it is a review of the legality of the act or decision in question."

http://www.salford.gov.uk/ofstedupdates.htm

The information is taken from:

"Ofsted updates - Salford City Council
www.salford.gov.uk/ofstedupdates.htm
4 Apr 2014 - From 4 November 2013, early years providers are subject to a ... At this stage, Ofsted will carry out an internal review and will look into the ... a court case against Ofsted before the High Court which is a judicial review action."

Additionally:

"Solicitor Morris Hill, an expert in local government .. There may be a number of grounds for challenging findings made by Ofsted. Usually, it will be necessary to make use of Ofsted's internal complaints procedure, but thereafter, another option for a school may be to seek relief from the administrative court by way of an application for judicial review. In early 2012, one school, Furness Academy, sought a judicial review of Ofsted's inspection process. While the school failed to halt the publication of a report labeling it as ‘inadequate', Ofsted, following what they described as ‘an invitation by the judge' voluntarily agreed to and subsequently issued a second covering letter to the disputed report, expressly reiterating the reasons for the inspection outcome, having previously issued a covering letter with the report which said "but for the inadequacies in mathematics, the academy's overall effectiveness would have been graded satisfactory".

(Edexec dated 14 March 2013)

http://www.edexec.co.uk/news/2326/school-ofsted-inspections---the-new-fr...



NB: All dates quoted are post the alleged 2010 suspension date, added to which internet searches have failed to identifying anything to confirm the alleged suspension, it is my belief that all categories of schools can seek judicial review of an Ofsted Inspection outcome.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 18:23

There are two types challenges to a regulator. The first is the kind which challenges a particular decision with a view to getting that decision changed. The second is the kind which challenges the way a regulator is behaving in order to get them to change the way they behave in general. If you win a judicial review it means you've won a judgement of the second type.

In practice organisations were finding they were unable to win judicial reviews. The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act(2006) was introduced to ensure they had a clear legal framework to use to do so. Although Ofsted was advised to comply with it for its work with state schools in 2009 (when it became obligated to it for its work with public and private schools), state schools were never given the legal instrument to use to win judicial review so Michael Gove was able to use Ofsted as his personal puppet to force abysmal policy on schools.

Andy V's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 19:08

My research indicates that the position you detail is inaccurate. This is evidence by the advice given by Salford and Edexec. The latter being an experience solicitor in the field. What Salford indicates is that there are mandatory steps to follow before reaching Judicial Review. In the absence of any hard evidence to support your position it has to be said that contrary to your assertion, "No Phil they haven’t. Only public and private schools can" Judicial Review is available to all schools.


Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 20:14

Here is a link to the order to the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act which gives charitable (third sector) and private organisations regulated by Ofsted the right to use the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act(2006) to obtain a judicial review:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2009/9780111481080
(see part 1A with Ofsted being specifically mentioned at point 21).

This legislation was created because regulated organisations found that previous powers they thought they had to win judicial review were ineffective in practice.

Please could you link me to the legislation you believe state schools can use to win a judicial review of Ofsted Andy?

Andy V's picture
Thu, 19/06/2014 - 08:28

I am wholly unclear as to what it is you are trying to say here.

Yes, the LRA covers education and, yes, there is a Schedule (12) covering the 'Chief Inspector and Other Inspectors'.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/40/schedules

Yes, it also covers the Office of the Chief Inspector

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/40/part/8/chapter/1

Yes, it covers the Education and Inspections Act. See Part 8

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/40/contents

There is no mention of a school or LA being stopped from pursuing a Judicial Review. You also assert the following:

"In practice organisations were finding they were unable to win judicial reviews. The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act(2006) was introduced to ensure they had a clear legal framework to use to do so. Although Ofsted was advised to comply with it for its work with state schools in 2009 (when it became obligated to it for its work with public and private schools), state schools were never given the legal instrument to use to win judicial review so Michael Gove was able to use Ofsted as his personal puppet to force abysmal policy on schools."

But the evidence I have found and used covers:

1. The Cumbrian Judicial Review in 2010 that led to the school being graded Satisfactory
2. Advice from Salford on Ofsted and challenges including Judicial Review published in April 2014
3. Advice and training from Edexec in March 2013

I note that whereas all your evidence is based in 2006 and 2009 the earliest link I have found is 2013. This makes me minded to say that provided a school follows the complaints/challenges rubric for Ofsted and do not obtain an acceptable response then they can (that is say, any school of any type coming under Ofsted) pursue a case for Judicial Review. This is underscored by the absence of any exceptions on the Courts and Tribunals website.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Thu, 19/06/2014 - 21:10

The Cumbrian case didn't win a judicial review Andy.
It was misreported on the BBC (I watched the report and quoted it at the time but it was later correctly contradicted).
They found it wasn't possible to obtain one. The best any organisation has been able to do is to get a single decision overturned.

The reason is basically the relevant laws under which (in theory) a judicial review could be obtained apply to education only. This means in practice that they are interpreted by Ofsted and the SoS for education. The LRRA was based on the national consultation on the principles and best practice in regulation which led to the creation of the regulator's code of best practice. It was constructed so that individual regulators could be held to account according to these wider principles.

The process of judicial review is underpinned the reality that if push comes to shove (if the legal process reverts to independent commission which it does if there are several legal challenges) the interpretation of other parties subject to the law is key.

This standard which are outside Ofsted and the SoS for education which can be used to force judicial review.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Thu, 19/06/2014 - 21:18

Actually can I check the Cumbria case you're talking about is Furness Academy? I don't think that was 2010 - I think it was later - 2011/12? So perhaps you're referring to a different case in which case which one?


Andy V's picture
Fri, 20/06/2014 - 07:42

Rather than unnecessarily repeat myself you may like to read the quotation and then use the link provided above from the Solicitor at Edexec (18/6/14 @ 4.55)


Rebecca Hanson's picture
Fri, 20/06/2014 - 08:16

So when you referred to
"1. The Cumbrian Judicial Review in 2010 that led to the school being graded Satisfactory"
(Andy 19 June 8:28am above)
as your evidence to prove that schools and win Judicial reviews of Ofsted,
you were actually referring the Furness Academy case in 2012 where the Academy failed to win a Judicial Review (in your link to the Edexec document).

Andy V's picture
Fri, 20/06/2014 - 09:20

Just read the posts and use the links.

The context was set on 18 Jun 14 @ 11.48 "Judicial Review is open to all".

On 18 Jun 14 @ 4.55 I cited 2 sources: Salford City Council and Edexec. The former based on the advice given by "Solicitor Morris Hill, an expert in local government ..."

There, you know have all the clues to answer the questions you conjured up because you can't be bothered to read or just don't read.

As ever you persist in your clearly ingrained habit or methodology of misrepresenting what contributors actually say.

The following is also noteworthy:

"He [Russel Hobby, NAHT] pointed to the case of one school, Furness Academy in Barrow in Furness, which recently pursued a judicial review of its inspection process. The school failed to halt the publication of a report labelling it as “inadequate”, but in the High Court Mr Justice Collins agreed with the school that key judgements were “untrue and unfair”, and told Ofsted to issue a clarifying letter.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/9248536/Head-teachers-threaten-lega...

All these sources are dated after those you have cited which are in 2006 and 2009.

I do not intend to respond to any other response you make on this issue.

PS You also appear to be touting inaccurate information when you say, "Provided a law’s been broken". This assertion is unsubstantiated and is not borne out in either the LRRA or Courts and Tribunal website (see my posting on 18 Jun 14 @ 4.55)

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Fri, 20/06/2014 - 10:41

Andy the question I'm asking is whether there is any evidence to suggest that state schools can win judicial reviews and if so in which circumstances that would be possible.

All the advice I've been given is that in theory it should be possible but in practice it isn't because of the circularity of Ofsted having it's own legislation. The fact that most regulators were given a new law to use to hold their regulators to account because they had similar problems is substantial evidence to corroborate this .

You seem to think that quoting a case where a school failed to win a judicial review (which would force Ofsted to change it's practice) is a relevant thing to do and I don't understand why you think that. Ofsted decided to change a single decision. That's a totally different outcome to the outcome of a judicial review which would force it to improve the way it operates.

You also don't seem to be interested in correctly quoting or understanding the documents your are posting links to.

Barry Wise's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 08:16

I think that heads and governors in Birmingham are pretty well conversant with Prevent and understand that Ofsted does look at both safeguarding provision and social and cultural development.

This is even more likely to be the case in schools with >90% Muslim intake.

And in some of the schools inspected - the one where the Deputy Head's brother is a convicted terrorist, say - one would hope the level of Police engagement with the school would be fairly high.

Like Andy, I don't see there's a strong case against what DfE or Ofsted have done. Earlier reports included stories of a head denouncing the US, invitations to unsuitable preachers and a teacher praising well-known terrorists. All this IS or should be sufficiently concerning to prompt action.

Phil Taylor's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 08:30

Interesting.

Could you provide chapter and verse for the reports mentioned in the last para please Andy?

I wasn't aware that schools could now be judged according to the behaviour of the deputy head's brother BTW.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 09:00

Barry - my concern arose because of the highly-publicised spat between May and Gove about how best to implement Prevent (killing the crocodiles v draining the swamp).

I confess I hadn't even heard of Prevent (the Guardian described it as "shadowy") so I started to investigate. I found not just ministerial disagreement, but controversy and confusion.

I'm not saying that schools shouldn't do their bit to reduce extremism (which according to Ofsted has a wider definition than radicalisation). I'm saying that engaging with Prevent might not necessarily be the best strategy especially given the disagreement which surrounds it. Encouraging community cohesion (as in Leicester) might be a better strategy. And asking inspectors to comment on Prevent in some schools but not others in the same area is inconsistent.

Andy V's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 11:52

Apologies Phil, but when you say "chapter and verse for the reports mentioned in the last para", which reports and which post does the last para refer to?


Barry Wise's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 13:05

Janet - Ofsted's future role was actually flagged up in the text of the Prevent strategy itself when it was relaunched in 2011:

Working with DfE, Ofsted will ensure that inspectors have the necessary knowledge and expertise to determine whether extremist and intolerant beliefs are being promoted in a school and then to take appropriate action. Consideration is being given to strengthening Independent School Standards. DfE is working to establish a new set of standards for teachers and an independent review has been set up to look at how these can include standards of ethics and behaviour, In future, new standards should better enable schools to take action against staff who demonstrate unacceptable views.

Para 10.52 Prevent.

In Section 10.53 the document clearly addresses where Prevent will fit in the inspection regime:

The Education Bill which is currently before Parliament removes the current duty on Ofsted to report on schools’ contribution to community cohesion. However, the stronger focus on teaching and learning and a continuing focus on provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development will enable inspectors to identify inappropriate practice, including the promotion of messages that undermine community cohesion.

The new Teachers' Standards published last year made explicit reference to Prevent and made it a breach for teachers to undermine:


fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

And para 121 of Ofsted's Inspection Handbook says:

Inspectors should consider the extent to which the ‘Teachers’ Standards’ are being met.

This gives them clear authority to look at how schools are engaging with Prevent.

Barry Wise's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 13:37

Chapter and verse:

1. "stories of a head denouncing the US"

Nigel Sloan, the former head of drama at Park View, said that Monzoor Hussain told pupils in assembly that the Americans were, among other things, “the evil in the world” and “the cause of all famine”.

Mr Sloan said: “I heard Mr Hussain say those words. It was always anti-American, anti-Western propaganda. Some of his assemblies were so anti-American in their content as to be mind-blowing.”

Sunday Telegraph 5 Apr 2014

2. "invitations to unsuitable preachers"

On Page 17 of the Park View Academy's Autumn Term Newsletter 2013 there is a report noting :

Park View welcomed Sheikh Shady Al-Suleiman
(Islamic Scholar) to an extended Islamic Assembly with our Year 10s & 11s.


The Telegraph on 9 March 2014 describes Shady Al-Suleiman as:

an extremist preacher who has called on God to “destroy the enemies of Islam”. Al-Suleiman has also asked God to “give victory to the Muslims in Afghanistan and Chechnya,” to “give victory to all the Mujahideen all over the world” and to “prepare us for the jihad”.

3. teacher praising well-known terrorists

Serving staff at Park View have told The Sunday Telegraph and the BBC’s Today programme that a senior teacher there praised the al-Qaeda ideologue, Anwar al-Awlaki, at assemblies.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 13:14

Have you to the 2013 teacher standards Barry? I can't find prevent in the version I use to assess teachers.


Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 13:43

Have you got any sources apart from the Telegraph Barry?

It publishes lots of Tory propaganda you know.

So for example if you look at Sheikh Shady Al-Suleiman's wiki it says he gave a talk to the school on time management and makes no mention of any extremist views at all.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 15:28

Barry - it would be interesting to know whether the promised training took place, what it contained and whether it applied only to inspectors of independent schools (this definition covers academies and free schools). I googled "Ofsted extreme intolerant views training" but couldn't find much (apart from a lot of stuff relating to Ofsted reports into the B'Ham schools at the centre of allegations about extremism).

However, I found this on the Birmingaham Education Partnership website. It could act as training for teachers BUT it's not an official Ofsted document AND it was published while May's review of Prevent was going on.

This just adds to the general confusion surrounding the issue. And, as I keep saying, if May and Gove can't agree, then how are inspectors (who may or may not have received training) supposed to know.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 13:50

Thanks for that Barry, but it clear says that it is just taking the definition of British Values from 'Prevent'. That's completely different to saying schools or teachers must engage with 'Prevent'.

There's some very clear principles there:
"showing tolerance of and respect for the rights of other not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs ensuring that personal beliefs are not expressed in ways which exploit pupils’ vulnerability or might lead them to break the law."
So there's plenty of scope for demonstrating that something is wrong with the school's behaviour if there are problems. There's no requirement or need to check schools' engagement with 'Prevent'.

Barry Wise's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 14:11

Rebecca - I have provided links to the Telegraph not because I think the Telegraph is necessarily the most accurate, but because they were the ones that first published these allegations back in March. If you look at the context you will see I am providing links to stories that antedated the publication of the Ofsted reports. I think some of these stories did also subsequently appear in Education Funding Agency reports, but I have not read those yet.

Whatever his wiki says or doesn't say, there are plenty of opportunities to read Shady Al-Suleiman's own words, e.g.;

Give victory to the Muslims in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Give victory to all the mujahideen all over the world. Oh Allah, prepare us for the jihad, oh Allah prepare us for the jihad. Oh Allah strengthen us for it, make us be ready for it.

Sounds too extreme for me, I'm afraid.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 14:59

Have you got a link for that quote Barry?

If anyone had been preaching that stuff to my children I'd be horrified and would expect action to be taken.

Andy V's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 18:00

Janet, This may help. It also makes clear that is for all inspectors in all types of school:

"Inspectors will get specialist training to tackle extremist and intolerant behaviour in schools as part of the Government's counter-terrorism strategy announced this week.

Ofsted will be given the "necessary knowledge and expertise" to spot radicalism in the classroom by teachers and pupils, according to the Home Office plan.

The anti-terror measures, combined with the new set of teacher standards, will ensure action is taken against members of the profession who "demonstrate unacceptable views", according to the Government."

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6087632


Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 15:01

Thanks, Barry. My initial search didn't dig up that document. As Rebecca points out, the doc says it takes its definition of British values from Prevent:

"‘Fundamental British values’ is taken from the definition of extremism as articulated in the new Prevent Strategy, which was launched in June 2011. It includes ‘democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs’."

Using a definition from Prevent doesn't necessarily imply schools must engage with prevent. If the definition had come from, say, the Oxford English Dictionary, or Wikipedia, doesn't mean schools are all expected to engage with these sources.

Andy V's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 18:33

Barry, In relation to the definition of in the National Teacher Standards it is interesting to note the content of the Citizenship programme of study at K1 - 4 e.g.::

"Developing good relationships and respecting the differences between people" (Ditto KS2)

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130904095049/https://www.edu...

"Pupils learn about their rights, responsibilities, duties and freedoms and about laws, justice and democracy. They learn to take part in decision-making and different forms of action. They play an active role in the life of their schools, neighbourhoods, communities and wider society as active and global citizens.

Citizenship encourages respect for different national, religious and ethnic identities. It equips pupils to engage critically with and explore diverse ideas, beliefs, cultures and identities and the values we share as citizens in the UK. Pupils begin to understand how society has changed and is changing in the UK, Europe and the wider world.

Citizenship addresses issues relating to social justice, human rights, community cohesion and global interdependence, and encourages pupils to challenge injustice, inequalities and discrimination. It helps young people to develop their critical skills, consider a wide range of political, social, ethical and moral problems, and explore opinions and ideas other than their own. They evaluate information, make informed judgements and reflect on the consequences of their actions now and in the future. They learn to argue a case on behalf of others as well as themselves and speak out on issues of concern." (ditto KS4)

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130904095100/https://www.edu...

As such schools should have been covering a lot of the defined material already.

Barry Wise's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 14:14

Rebecca

A the risk of repeating myself, what the DfE did back in 2011 was to implant parts of the Prevent agenda in the definition of social and cultural education, safeguarding and also in Teacher Standards. That means Ofsted can look at it (whether anyone chooses to use the word Prevent or not).

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 18/06/2014 - 15:28

To apply your logic in a different context, Barry, it's like a Conservative minister being punished for following Liberal Democrat policy.

It's reasonable to criticise them for not following the policies agreed in the coalition agreement but to use the general criticism that they've failed to follow Liberal Democrat policy is inappropriate, partly because there's never been any directive that they should and partly because if they have breached coalition policy it's far more useful to discuss precisely what policy has been breached than to use distracting and inappropriate labels.

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