Trojan Horse – all “Five Steps” found in four schools, says Kershaw

Janet Downs's picture
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All Five Steps* listed in the Trojan Horse letter were present in four Birmingham schools: Golden Hillock, Nansen Primary School, Saltley School and Moseley, Kershaw found. Moseley School had not been inspected during the Trojan Horse swoop and the evidence is historic. For this reason, Moseley acts as a useful case study because it had problems which appear to have been resolved.

Kershaw found evidence of a sudden shift at Moseley to a Muslim majority governing body in 2007. This led to a difficult working relationship. Governors interfered in operational matters and were viewed as being “overly-politicised”. A union member told Kershaw that Ed Balls, then Education Secretary, was told. Shortly afterwards BCC investigated and recommended the Governing Body be replaced but this did not happen. BCC took some action but this was in the form of a compromise agreement rather than tackling governance problems. In March 2010, Moseley’s governing body was eventually replaced with an Interim Executive Board (IEB).

Ofsted’s early view of the Muslim-majority governing body is more favourable. In February 2008, Inspectors described the re-formed governing body as “good advocates for the work of the school” but lacking skills. The head’s leadership was good. But when Ofsted returned in July 2009 the head had gone. According to Ofsted, the appointment of the interim head in January 2009 was “driven by the local authority as a way of responding to several changes in staffing.” This raises the question of why the staff had left and under what circumstances.

In January 2011, nine months after the IEB had replaced the governing body, Ofsted said Moseley was only just emerging from “a period of considerable turbulence”. Moseley was given notice to improve. The IEB was still in place in March 2012 when Moseley was judged Satisfactory. Ofsted returned in March 2014, judged Moseley as Requires Improvement but said the governing body had “very strong educational expertise”.

The situation at Moseley demonstrates typical Five Steps behaviour: taking control of a governing body, undermining senior leaders, isolating other governors, interfering too much in operational matters, pressurising (unnamed person) to resign and a campaign of lobbying parents. It also shows how BCC prevaricated. When BCC eventually replaced the governors the school was able to emerge from their influence.

Kershaw investigated three schools which were not among the 21 schools inspected during the Trojan Horse pounce: Lozells Primary School, Al-Hirah and Al-Furquan. Kershaw found “elements” of the Five Steps at these schools and at a further five: Adderley Primary, Highfield School, Ladypool Primary, Oldknow Academy and Park View Academy.

Kershaw found it was “possible” some elements had been present in three schools: Marlborough Junior, Anderton Park (not inspected as part of Trojan Horse) and Washwood Heath Academy which had been cleared after a Trojan Horse monitoring inspection.

No elements were found at Regents Park Primary.

Kershaw found five “anonymised case studies” had been presented to the Department for Education (DfE) In December 2010 but the promised further discussion did not take place. This calls into question how complicit the DfE was in not responding to concerns about Birmingham schools. Perhaps this is addressed in Clarke’s report which I have not yet read. If it isn’t, then perhaps we need an independent inquiry into what the DfE knew and when, and what action, if any, it took.

NOTE. Although BCC is now a Labour council, it was run by a Con/Lib coalition from 2004-2012. Tory Mark Whitby was BCC leader for these eight years.

*The “Five Steps” are listed in full in paragraph 16 of the Kershaw report.

Ofsted reports for Moseley School can be downloaded here.
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