The latest from Tristram Hunt

Fiona Millar's picture
LSN readers might be interested in a report from a meeting I attended on Saturday, at which Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt set out Labour’s policy priorities. Last summer I wrote this blog about his predecessor Stephen Twigg’s vision for school reform. Hunt appears to be moving things on quite quickly.

He was being interviewed by Dame Jane Roberts, chair of the Compass Education Inquiry.  The Inquiry is putting together a broad range of education policy proposals. Apologies for the rough and ready nature of this blog culled from my notes.

According to the Shadow Education Secretary Labour’s priorities would be as follows:

Childcare.   There would be free 25 hours per week for 3-4 year olds.

The forgotten 50% .This referred to the "tech Bacc" announcement in Ed Miliband’s 2012 conference speech. Labour will be developing “excellence in technical and vocational pathways” via FE and apprenticeships. It would also seek to rebuild the careers service with links to local labour markets. Hunt also mentioned the importance of youth services beyond schools.

Teacher quality. Hunt said that no school can exceed the quality of its teachers and that Labour would focus on this point rather than develop more structural reforms. There seemed to be a slight change of language on this issue. I don’t think I heard the work “licensing” at all. Earlier Labour briefing has been more explicit about teacher licences. Instead he talked about autonomy and ownership, external challenge, professionals being in charge of “re-validation” (similar to re-validation in the medical profession) and teachers being up to date with their knowledge and skills.

This would be different to the appraisal system and wouldn’t challenge autonomy but be an “expression of autonomy”. Labour didn’t want to create more bureaucracy but to create a “teacher led process” with outstanding CPD available to all at the end of a first Labour term in office. Ofsted would still have a place but would be complementary to this process. The only really hostile reception he got was when he said that Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw did a good job. He qualified this by adding that Wilshaw was “quite right” to highlight places where there is still chronic underachievement.

In answer to later questions he said that he felt the coalition’s School Direct initial teacher training system was too narrow and also flagged up problems for teacher recruitment in areas like his Stoke on Trent constituency where the local university (Keele) was no longer teaching a history PGCE.

On structures he said that “coming in with a totalising vision of structural reform” would not be his priority, but that Labour would need to “clear up “some of the structural problems left behind by the coalition. There would be new ideas on a middle tier, networks and partnerships to combat Gove’s atomised landscape and these were being thrashed out in a review led by former Education Secretary David Blunkett. Hunt suggested Gove was now in “ideological retreat” following the Secretary of State’s announcement about regional School Chancellors to hold academies and free schools to account.

On school type – Labour would be “value neutral” . He spoke up in defence of the original Labour sponsored academies but also said he wouldn’t rule out future local authority involvement in school provision. Some local authorities were shining examples of success - he mentioned Tower Hamlets on several occasions. Others had failed. “It seems to be that if you have a good LA that should be part of the mix”, he said.

He added that lessons of the London Challenge were that progress and improvement went beyond single LAs. He talked of a “sub-regional space” for challenge and partnership, leading to school improvement. Labour would be looking at how to pursue a more collaborative approach because schools “don’t succeed as islands”. There was a role for school-to-school support, local authority and community involvement, allied to “no compromise” on the transparency, use and scrutiny of data.

All in all I felt it was a polished performance. From my own conversations with heads and teachers, the issue of teacher licensing appears to be more controversial that I would have thought. However I think he is right to focus on teacher quality and put clear water between Labour and the coalition’s unqualified teacher "free for all".

Some in the audience were clearly disappointed that he didn’t go into more detail about how academies and free schools would be brought back into a coherent regulatory system and how the complex network of different funding agreements with the Secretary of State, and individual school freedoms, would be managed in the future.

Stephen Twigg had implied that if a freedom was right for one school, it should be right for all. I think we will need to wait for the outcome of the Blunkett Review to get much more on this. “Funding agreements and their relationship to DFE and local authorities must be part of the solution,”  was all we got on that point.

The one bit that really jarred for me concerned the Shadow Education Secretary’s reference to the use of data. “ We have got to get over the fear of data,” he said.  Wearing my school governor hat, I felt this was a little bit naïve and patronising. Schools, heads teachers and governors are awash with data and keenly aware that to be judged good or outstanding they must demonstrate that they both understand and act on it. But this is now such a overwhelming priority that I sometimes wonder whether we are heading into a “wood for the trees” situation where data obsession and looking over our shoulders for the next  Ofsted visit trump any sort of big vision and moral purpose in schools. When the nitty-gritty of the big policy positions is ironed out, I look forward to hearing more from Labour on that wider vision and moral purpose.
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Sarah's picture
Mon, 20/01/2014 - 12:59

It's interesting to see Labour education policy starting to emerge from the gloom. Any idea when Blunkett's review will report?

Fiona Millar's picture
Mon, 20/01/2014 - 13:01

I think maybe in March….

Adrian Elliott's picture
Mon, 20/01/2014 - 13:15

Certainly agree with your comment about data.TH seems naive on the issue. However,reading Henry's account of the East Durham affair if TH tells the truth occasionally in office it would be good start!

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 20/01/2014 - 15:24

"Fear of data" raises two questions. What data? and How is the data used?

Unfortunately, politicians use "data" to make simplistic judgements about schools (eg a low proportion of pupils reaching a mandatory benchmark automatically means the school is "failing"). Or they use stats to "prove" their policies are working (eg tiny sample size, not comparing like with like, dodgy surveys, ignoring caveats).

If Hunt is going to use data he must use it honestly. The data must be reliable and verifiable. He should also remember that not everything that is valuable can be measured. And that which can be measured doesn't always have worth.

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 20/01/2014 - 15:30

Could someone tell TH that LAs don't "control" schools? It's bad enough that the Government keep regurgitating the myth without the Opposition doing the same thing.

That said, it's good to see Labour putting forward some policies at last. Twigg was too connected with the last Government's dubious education policy to be an effective opposition. The name Sven Turge stuck.

Andy V's picture
Mon, 20/01/2014 - 15:52

Sadly, I have to say there is little substance and far too much window posturing dressed as political rhetoric.

I will await the Blunkett report but not hold my breath.

Mark H's picture
Mon, 20/01/2014 - 23:29

Labour ideological struggle with Education continues. There appears nothing new from New Labour times. Blunketts failed radical attempt to modernise education through the contraversial City Academies Programme in 2000 has earned him the opportunity to review structures to go alongside his failure on standards.

New Labour and Gove have provided the perfect recipe for the renewal and expansion of large bureaucratic external structures outside of LEA control. In truth, new partnerships that are unnaccountable to the communities they serve. Thank Mr Blair.

Without resorting to personality politics Tristam Hunt does not grasp what the needs and the wants of the grassroot community are.

Teacher licenses are just another state gimmick to justify the current failure of this lot in coalition. CPD and identifying trainings is sufficient. Ongong regular internal and external assessments on teachers are suffice. Licences are just a gimmick. We just cannot shake the "policy on the hoof" mentality that was so often associated with New Labour.

An improvement on Stephen Twigg but I cannot see how the general public are going to warm to the present shadow cabinet. There is no link to grassroots only branches

Roger Titcombe's picture
Tue, 21/01/2014 - 11:46

Andy and Mark H are right. The problems with the English education system ARE deeply structural. They are rooted in marketisation, league tables and a complete lack of democratic accountability. To put the appalling Blunkett, arguably the worst Education Secretary of all time, in charge of a review into the failings of a system whose fundamental flaws he played a large part in creating says it all.

Fiona's insights into the way Labour's education policies are developing are deeply depressing.

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 21/01/2014 - 13:22

Roger - I share your criticism of past Labour educational folly. But at least TH isn't associated with these as much as Twigg. Nevertheless, past Labour policies are an albatross round TH's neck. I've tried to be positive because at least he's attempted to articulate some kind of policy.

Unfortunately, we are where we are. No future government can put academies back in the LA fold. It would be too expensive to untangle the legalities. However, there should be a way in which academies could ally themselves to LAs or even rejoin the LA family so they can concentrate on their core function: providing education not poring over contracts.

TH might want to look at the farcical situation where the Secretary of State (which might be him in the future) is Principal Regulator for thousands of academy, foundation and VA school trusts.

Allan Beavis's picture
Tue, 21/01/2014 - 15:03

It is heartening that the Shadow Education Secretary is beginning to communicate to the public what could be Labour's coherent strategy to help reverse the chaotic and rudderless education policies of the coalition. Academies and Free School numbers are now so significant that it is pointless to expect Labour to dismantle these - this would result in only more confusion and upheaval and further destabilise many schools that have already faced any number of sudden changes, from status to grade boundaries, to GCSE and Ebacc.

What is most important is that all schools are treated equally and this extends from the National Curriculum to qualified teachers and from them all being accountable to a local body and, by extension, the local community. This body - whether is it the local authority or another public body - should have an overview of all the local schools in their care, providing support and ensuring fairness in areas such as admissions and exclusions and should act in the interests of local parents.

What we have to get away from is this accusation that local authorities "control" schools. The Right have used this argument to justify free market independent state schools whilst at the same time having a swipe at the Left, whose support of LAs apparently have made us "enemies of promise". LAs don't control schools. They steward them. This is not the same thing.

I agree with Fiona here that it is difficult for schools and anyone in education to get over their fear of "data" when data has, for some considerable time, been used as a seal of approval or disapproval for a school. Data only tells part of the story and, sadly, data obsession under the coalition has reached boiling point whereby a previously
subtle disapproval of a school has turned into open aggression. Enforced schools closures and draconian Ofsted regulations bear witness to this.

Data IS important but only insomuch as it is collected by individual schools so that they be clear about how to improve teaching across the whole school and for particularly challenging or under performing students. When it is used for self-promotion, for jostling for top spaces in league tables and in competition with other local schools, we create a divisive and selfish schools landscape where any debate about how to improve ALL schools gets stifled because underperforming schools, which need support and resources, are more and more vulnerable to being punished and stifled. Under this atmosphere of dictatorial control, it is difficult to see any school can properly serve each student when their focus is on hitting some often unrealistic target in an unrealistic time frame.

Until politicians tell us that data is not to be used to stigmatise or punish a school but limited to helping the school gather information on how best to teach, we will all pore over data and fear its consequences. But data rarely reflects the real people behind the figures and charts. Much less emphasis should be put on them and more resources put where it is needed. They did away with all this in Finland and it has worked. And not just the PISA data says so...

Roger Titcombe's picture
Tue, 21/01/2014 - 15:53

Janet - I realise that structural reform presents problems but step by step solutions could be devised. A program for the renationalisation of British Rail is a good example. This is supported by more than 80 per cent of those polled. The solution is cheap and easy. BR takes over, franchise by franchise as they expire. I can't understand why Labour fails to advocate such a hugely vote winning policy.

Step by step structural change is also possible in the English education system. Here is my suggestion for the stages.

1. Abolish Ofsted and replace it with an independent non-commercial HMI answerable directly to parliament (as Ofsted once falsely claimed it was).
2. Reform local government by recreating LEAs and Education Committees. A by-product would be the abolition of 'Cabinet' government so re-democratising and reinvigorating Local Government. At the same promote the creation of unitary LAs where possible.
3. Give the new LEAs regulatory power and responsibility over the admissions policies of all the schools in its area so as to promote balanced, all ability intakes. I favour the Hackney model for urban areas.
4. Produce a national funding formula for all schools, Academies, Free Schools and LEA schools alike.
5. Reform the powers and constitution of the governing bodies of all schools including Academies and Free schools with places reserved for elected local councillors.
6. Require all schools to produce an annual prospectus to a specified template that includes the curriculum, behaviour and other policies including full exam results in the subject by subject, passes at each grade format, that used to required. Cease the publication of aggregated attainments (eg %5+A*-Cs) and so abolish school league tables. Abolish all school specific floor targets.
7. Abolish KS2 SATs to be replaced by CATs taken in Y6 and various other specific diagnostic, standardised assessments. DfE to continue to publish on the internet technical data that it expects LEAs to use for the local inspections of all schools in its area.
8. HMI to conduct periodic inspections of all schools alongside LEA inspectors. LEA inspectors to provide CPD and school support with the help of HMI when requested.
9. HMI to inspect LEAs, Academy chains/sponsors. Free School sponsors all on the same basis.
10. Require parents' referenda on the control on the governance and control of schools if a threshold proportion of parents sign a petition according to a standard template. This could restore schools from independent to LEA control.
11. Create a permanent national educational institute with a carefully constructed constitution with academic, professional and political appointments on a non-party basis to advise all forthcoming governments on education policy

These are just initial thoughts. There are probably better step by step approaches.

The problem Labour has in Education and the NHS is in making a clean one-off break with it own disastrous contribution to fragmenting and commercialising the education system (Blair's Academies) and the NHS (Blair's Foundation Trusts). There is zero credibility in Tristram Hunt's defence of Labour's Academies while condemning piddling aspects of Gove's Academies and Free Schools.

Margaret Thatcher/Tony Blair recognised the need for structural change in order to eventually privatise all our public services and were ruthless in bringing it about. Labour needs the courage and inspiration to create a new model of social ownership, control and accountability of public services. It would cost the taxpayer much less by chopping away all the fungal private sector parasites now feeding off the taxpayer.

Unfortunately it is increasingly clear that neither Tristram or Ed are up for it. All we are getting is gimmicks that address only the peripherals.

Andy V's picture
Tue, 21/01/2014 - 16:42

One question, why does it have to be Labour driven/initiated? You quite rightly and clearly point up the damage done by both the Conservatives and Labour and thereby implicitly make the case that neither can nor should be trusted. The less said about the LibDem's the better, who at best I would characterise as the deck attendant on the Titanic desperately trying to rearrange the chairs. It follows then that for me the foundation stone for an effective and most though sadly not totally politically ideologue free way ahead would be to ally the education select committee with representatives of employers (CBI and FSB), Universities, and educationalists of repute who would be charged with reviewing and reframing our educational policy (its purpose and goals) and to whom DFE/HMI/Ofsted/Schools would be accountable; although schools indirectly through the appropriate channels. If this led to HMI and Ofsted merging into an organisation independent of any SoS all the better. Indeed, this route would remove education from the existing cabinet portfolio.

If I could scrap one thing right now it would the league tables and their arbitrary floor targets. What is needed is a common and widely accepted methodology to benchmark pupils' potential (e.g. CATs) allied to at least one external verification between Primary and KS4 to monitor progression. My second magic wand sweep would be to scrap GCSEs and move to an end of compulsory stage diploma with pathways for academic/work related or a mix of both at 18/19.

Having said that, it is probably why I'm not and wouldn't make a politician.

Roger Titcombe's picture
Tue, 21/01/2014 - 16:01

Alan - We have posted simultaneously. There are many common threads. I am not surprised as the general thrust of what we are proposing is frequently advocated and supported on this site and elsewhere.

Brian's picture
Tue, 21/01/2014 - 16:53

'One question, why does it have to be Labour driven/initiated?'

It doesn't and as Roger points out the Labour leadership has neither the vision nor the courage to even think about it. The Tories wouldn't even consider it as it suggest some element of local collaboration and accountability, both of which they are firmly against. The Lib / Dems will support anything which will allow them to hold onto their unelected power.
So I guess forums like this will continue to discuss excellent proposals like Roger's and become increasingly frustrated as politicians look for more and more quick fix, headline grabbing, make-my-reputation, blame-somebody-else policies.

Roger Titcombe's picture
Tue, 21/01/2014 - 17:45

Andy - I could go along with all of that. I suppose I feel that the only hope lies with Labour because Cameron/Gove certainly isn't going to do it. There was a time when Charles Kennedy's Lib Dems had refreshing, original and challenging ideas about education but Clegg and Laws haven't a clue. Also it fits well with Ed Milliband's 'One Nation' theme. However what we all seem to agree on, together with others that have previously expressed similar views on this site, is that education has to be taken out of party politics. However it can't be ideology free. We do indeed need some respected National Education Commission drawing on professional, academic and business expertise. But the boundaries would have to include an insistence on a publicly funded system of post-enlightenment-values-driven, all ability comprehensive schools under local democratic stewardship (a good word that) in order to realise entitlement to the development of individual abilities, talents and interests in all three of Bloom's domains, in the context of a broad and balanced education for all young people of all abilities up to the age of 16 followed by progression to more career specific, high quality Further and Higher Education. The Conservative's 1980s TVEI had a lot to commend it. Specialist Vocational Colleges at 14 do not. We need cleverer, healthier, wiser, more talented young people whose personal abilities are developed through the acquisition of knowledge and skills that enable and empower them so as to maximise their degree of free choice over their future lives. As a member of the post war 'golden generation', this is something that to a large degree I think I have had and taken for granted. I can't accept that globalised capitalism makes it impossible to achieve at least as much for my grandchildren.

Mark H's picture
Tue, 21/01/2014 - 22:38

Roger, Thank you for your comment. Market forces have indeed tore apart Comprehensive State Education of non selective community schools in the quest for choice and competition. Selection by Stealth encourages more local sink schools. The ability for affluent families to choose a better performng school is of course linked to the propaganda and promotion of league tables. Academies use there own grading systems gained by informal or formative assessments, which is confusing for the parent and student. How are these grades weighted. The grading STRUCTURE is perhaps something that Mr Hunt needs to focus on. How can you assess whether a teacher requires a licence upgrade when they are using contraversial and confusing grading systems If a teacher gains A grades through succesfull summative assessments but their teaching methods are poor and unorthordox do they need to re-licence. If it works it works.

The lowering of free schools as a result of choice in one school is set against the raising of free school meals in another adjacent school who have no choice. In simple terms, the result creates a vacuum and fragmentation of local communities.

Then of course there is the marketisation of headteachers caused as result of New Labour "demand" Ed Miliband wishes more competition in banks and energy however we need to look at recent history. Competition creates a market of increased salary and rewards. Headteachers throw themselves at Academys and Private Schools after being trained by the state. The transfer of management experience and fully trained heads is advantageous to the independent sector and is very cost effective. A surrender of there service to the market. Mr Hunt needs to charge such schools for the transition and training and top up the treasury coffers.

Fiona's critique of academies has always been plain to see. She can only report back what she observes. What Labour requires is an Shadow Education Secretary that is not Oxbridge.

Sorry Tristram studying the texts of early historians and their ideas cloud your findings and judgement due to you using your own beliefs in the hope of locating universal ideas.

What is you view on this Fiona? Do you now believe structures are priority over standards

agov's picture
Wed, 22/01/2014 - 09:41

"Step by step structural change is also possible in the English education system"

Exactly so.

This twaddle from Hunt is just part of NuLab flailing around trying to find a reason for existing and churning out one wheeze after another hoping that something might be popular enough to get a few votes. Last week they were busy losing votes by whining about the plight of the middle class. This week Reeves has been losing votes by attacking the poor.

In reality it is entirely obvious that Hunt, a figure of despised hilarity on the Right, is more or less just as committed to agreeing with Gove as was the hapless Twigg. So NuLab to be 'value neutral' - heaven forbid they should actually believe in anything other than looking after their rich mates.

As Gove intends to push through compulsory changes to governing bodies, obviously as a prelude to compulsory academisation (before the election no doubt) -

I can't see what would be the point in voting for a degraded party that won't even pretend that it would make any real change to Goveland. Perhaps Blunkett will change all these perceptions - as if.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 22/01/2014 - 10:23

Thanks, agov. I found the following via your link. It contains Coalition waffle about how it's giving schools more "freedom" to decide what to teach while simultaneously laying down a national curriculum; giving schools more "control" over their budgets when they had it anyway (Academies Commission 2013, OECD 2010); ensuring Ofsted tells schools how they can "improve" which would allow the DfE to "intervene to make sure" they do "improve" (more enforced academies, no doubt, backed up with misleading data).

Brian's picture
Wed, 22/01/2014 - 10:03

I'm sure your analysis of why Gove is pushing through changes the Governing Bodies is spot on. Belatedly he's realised that problems with academies and free schools tend to bounce his way. He's struggling to find somebody to blame now the convenient target of LAs is diminishing. Somebody need to be in the firing line. It's going to be Governing Bodies.

Roger Titcombe's picture
Wed, 22/01/2014 - 10:22

I bet he is not going to increase their local democratic accountability.

Brian's picture
Wed, 22/01/2014 - 10:27

I don't think you'll find any takers for that bet, Roger.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 22/01/2014 - 10:27

Unfortunately, Labour has been completely ineffective in challenging Coalition dissembling. The ammo's been published on this site since it began but we rarely hear Labour pointing out Govt misrepresentation: the dodgy surveys and Mr Men debacle caused some merriment about Mr Sloppy but not much else.

The Academies Commission published its report a year ago. It contained criticisms about the academies programme (see faqs above) yet I don't recall Labour picking up on these. The trouble is the present sorry state of affairs began when it was in power.

agov's picture
Thu, 23/01/2014 - 13:21

Thank you Janet.

The blatant hypocrisy in that link made me literally laugh out loud!

Tubby Isaacs's picture
Wed, 29/01/2014 - 17:13

Didn't a lot of schools convert to academy because of a short term bribe?

How about the governors of these being allowed to opt back in to the LA?

Tubby Isaacs's picture
Wed, 29/01/2014 - 17:15

And introduce same minimum ratio of parents on governing body to academies and free schools.

Tubby Isaacs's picture
Wed, 29/01/2014 - 17:24

Clearly they should ring you up and you'd put them right on how to win the next election.

"Value neutral" means on what the legal status of a school is.

Tubby Isaacs's picture
Wed, 29/01/2014 - 17:26

"Reform local government by recreating LEAs and Education Committees. A by-product would be the abolition of ‘Cabinet’ government so re-democratising and reinvigorating Local Government"

We've got a Cabinet in Tower Hamlets. Seems to work well for education.

Andy V's picture
Wed, 29/01/2014 - 18:07

As I recall there were three incentives:

1. Freedom from LA control
2. Yes, extra money rising from not paying the LA top slicing for their funding for services
3. Alleged freedom from the national curriculum (but not core subjects)

Roger Titcombe's picture
Wed, 29/01/2014 - 18:31

Here is a view on this. It has certainly been a disaster for education here in Cumbria.

agov's picture
Thu, 30/01/2014 - 12:57

A device for the biggest onslaught against schools being of their communities ever, and NuLab is indifferent.

Thanks for clearing that up. Well worth the wait.

Why would I care about which bit of the liblabcon misruling class gets to do most damage to the nation?

Roger Titcombe's picture
Tue, 11/02/2014 - 14:20

Some more bad ideas have emerged from Tristram Hunt in the weeks following my last post on this thread.

First there is the plan to 'licence' teachers every five years. The fear here relates to the criteria used to judge them and the possibility of heads using such a system to get rid of outspoken critics from the ranks. This is a very dangerous proposal that could lead to even more centralised control of how to teach.

Then there is the very latest Ed Milliband announcement that he wants parents to be given the right to get rid of headteachers they don't approve of. The discussion of school discipline policies on other threads reveals the serious dangers here.

However there is a chink of light in Ed Miliband's direction of travel.

"Writing in the Guardian, before delivering the annual Hugo Young lecture on Monday night, Miliband concedes: "I meet as many people coming to me frustrated by the unresponsive state as the untamed market. And the causes of the frustrations are often the same in the private and public sector: unaccountable power with the individual left powerless to act."

Parents have frequently been confronted by unaccountable power in respect of Academy conversions and take-overs. This is point 10 in my post.

10. Require parents’ referenda on the control on the governance and control of schools if a threshold proportion of parents sign a petition according to a standard template. This could restore schools from independent to LEA control.

Is there some convergence here? It would be a major step forward if Labour promised to give parents statutory powers to veto changes of status of schools through referenda. This would have sunk many past LA school closures and compulsory Academy takeovers and would prevent even more future conversions against parents' wishes.

Ed's policy could also give parents the right to a referendum on the transfer of the control of Academies from sponsors and Academy chains to LAs.

This would be a really significant step in the right direction.

Andy V's picture
Tue, 11/02/2014 - 16:54

Mr Hunt is utterly bereft of idea, and I'll believe the Milliband position when it comes out in print in a manifesto couched in terms that underscore he wont change his mind. There again Clegg did that over tuition fees and look what happened.

Andy V's picture
Wed, 12/02/2014 - 14:51

The latest offering from Mr Hunt is ... to be honest I'm in polite company and thus can't type what thoughts ran through my mind when I read this morning:

Is this really the best he and Labour can do? To be honest (and perish the thought) Mr Milliband would make a more effective shadow SoS Educ - at least his clarification gave a tiny glimmer of hope regarding arresting/reversing the privatization juggernaut.

Can Mr Hunt and his party really believe that parroting from a select committee and electioneering on someone else s bandwagon is good politics let alone good education policy.

Was it that long ago since Mr Hunt attended school that he really has no idea that teachers nurture character, resilience, tenacity etc all the time?

Does his political naivety and vacuity really know no bounds?

Has he never heard of either the Every Child Matters agenda and Personal Learning and Thinking Skills strategies embedded in the then new national curriculum launched by Labour in 2004 and 2007/08 respectively? Both of these policies had all the traits he now promotes embedded within them.

I am too old to be surprised by politicians and their acute insights (sic) and on this occasion I left stunned by the utter bankruptcy of the announcement.

Roger Titcombe's picture
Wed, 12/02/2014 - 15:30

Andy - I fear you are right. I have been trying to put a positive gloss on Tristram Hunt since he was appointed but I have to agree with you. Ed Miliband is drifting about. He really does need to get a grip. To quote a description of Emile Heskey. He couldn't hit a barn door from five yards. This site highlights scandalous failures and misdeeds of Gove's DfE almost every day, yet HM Opposition is deaf and blind to them.

I fear that the reason lies in its inability to face up to its own role in providing the platform for the Gove education 'reforms' and the example it set in successfully getting the media to believe its own lies.

Iftikhar Ahmad's picture
Thu, 24/04/2014 - 22:04

Muslim children not only need halal meat or Eid Holidays but they need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their development period also. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

The schools must satisfy the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural needs of Muslim pupils. State schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers are not in a position to satisfy their needs. A good school is not just a knowledge factory or a conveyor belt for churning out exam passes - it is a community, a family. A community is held together by common values and principles.

It is a common saying that British schooling is upholding British values of integration, respect, tolerance and equality. But all minority groups find British schooling is the home of institutional racism and British teachers are chicken racist. This is one of the many reason why they would like to see their children attending their own schools with their own teachers. Muslim community started setting up school in the 80s and I set up the first Muslim school in 1981 and now there are 180 Muslim schools and only 12 are state funded. Sikh and Hindu communities have set up their own schools. Now Black community is thinking of setting up schools with their own teachers.

Western media and politicians have been trying their best to propagate against Muslim schools. Muslim schools are even called Osama bin Laden Academies by a Teaching Union. Only less than 5% of Muslim children attend Muslim schools while more than 95% are in state schools to be mis-educated and de-educated by non-Muslim monolingual teachers. The demand for state funded Muslim schools is in accordance with the law of the land. Muslim community is not asking for any favour. Muslim community pays all sorts of taxes and is less burden on social services. Church leaders say it is no longer "appropriate" for them to run Sacred Heart RC Primary School which has just six Christian pupils. The school in Blackburn, Lancs, could be handed to the nearby Masjid-e-Tauheedul mosque.

The Muslim community has been passing through a phase of fourth Crusades. The battleground is the field of education, where the young generation will be educated properly with the Holly Quran in one hand and Sciences in other hand to serve the British society and the world at large. A true Muslim is a citizen of the world, which has become a small global village. We are going to prepare our youth to achieve that objective in the long run. A true Muslim believes in Prophet Moses and the Prophet Jesus and without them one cannot be a Muslim. My suggestion is that in all state, independent and Christian based school special attention should be given to the teaching of Comparative Religion and Islam should be taught by qualified Muslim Teachers to make the children aware the closeness of Islam to Christianity and Judaism which will help them to think about Islam, as “A Pragmatic and Modern Way of Life,” during their life time.

Muslim schooling is on the rise in the West. Anti-Muslim attitudes in state schools contribute to its growth. there are 240 to 250 private Islamic schools in the U.S and 188 Muslim schools in the United Kingdom and out of that 12 are state funded. The increasing enrolment in these schools reflects the religion’s growing number of Muslims and the desire of parents to shelter young Muslims from discrimination and discomfort they might encounter at state schools. But Islamic schools, like mosques and other Islamic institutions, can be viewed with distrust and even hostility. Jewish Schools in Israel teach Children about Evolution. They have a curious way of teaching it. They said the Jews were made by god and the Palestinians evolved from apes. On the other hand, Muslim schools teach children that human beings are from Adam and Eve(peace be upon them)

The demand for Muslim schools comes from parents who want their children a safe environment with an Islamic ethos. Parents see Muslim schools where children can develop their Islamic Identity where they won't feel stigmatised for being Muslims and they can feel confident about their faith. Muslim schools are working to try to create a bridge between communities. There is a belief among ethnic minority parents that the British schooling does not adequately address their cultural needs. Failing to meet this need could result in feeling resentment among a group who already feel excluded. Setting up Muslim school is a defensive response. State schools with monolingual teachers are not capable to teach English to bilingual Muslim children. Bilingual teachers are needed to teach English to such children along with their mother tongue. According to a number of studies, a child will not learn a second language if his first language is ignored.

“A good grasp of one’s mother tongue is an essential base for a child who then has to get to grips with the language of their host country,” reckons Amelia Lambelet of the Fribourg Institute of Multilingualism. Therese Salzmann, an expert in multilingualism at the Swiss Institute of Youth and Media, agrees. “The teaching of mother tongues reinforces self-confidence and gives the child a feeling of security.” She adds that “taking account of a child’s double cultures is a determining factor in their social integration and professional success.”

It is absurd to believe that Muslim schools, Imams and Masajid teach Muslim children anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-western views. It is dangerously deceptive and misleading to address text books and discuss them out of their historical, cultural and linguistic context. It is not wrong to teach children that Jews are committing the same cruelty in Palestine what German did to them before or during Second World War. It is not wrong to teach children that anti-social behaviour, drinking, drugs, homosexuality, sex before marriage, teenage pregnancies and abortions are western values and Islam is against all such sins. This does not mean that Muslim schools teach children to hate westerners, Jews and homosexuals.

British society must learn to respect and tolerate those who are different. God has created diverse human beings to live in this tiny global village of one family. Creation by its very nature is diverse with different species, different communities, different cultures and languages. These differences represent the beauty and wonder but diversity is sometimes not fully appreciated, resulting in all sorts of clashes. The British society and Establishment must learn to respect and accommodate others, as if in a family. A report by the Institute for Community Cohesion found that native parents were deserting some schools after finding their children out numbered by pupils from ethnic minorities. Schools in parts of England are becoming increasingly segregated. The study focused on 13 local authorities. Many of the schools and colleges are segregated and this was generally worsening over recent years. This is RACISM because British society is the home of institutional racism. A study by Bristol University reveals that a high level of racial segregation in Oldham schools and tension between communities resulted in recent riots in 2001. The solution is that those schools where Muslim children are majority, may be designated as Muslim community schools. The native parents do not want their children to be educated along with migrant children. As soon as they find that the number of other children are on the increase, they remove their children to those schools where native children are in majority.

During colonial days, British did not follow local customs or culture. They didn't exactly "go native". They even forced the native Americans and native Australian to adopt all the evils of their culture and customs. They are still the underdogs of American and Australian societies. At least Australian Prime Minister apologised to the natives for their evil deeds. Brits living in Spain and France don't even bother learning the language of the new adopted country. Frankly suggesting that people don't want to become "British" they should move elsewhere is extremely irritating. Immigrants are in UK because they are needed, it was never an act of charity. Without migration, British economy and society will bleed to death. British culture and customs will undoubtedly change as it has for millennium due to immigration. I am not quite sure why Brits would be worried about that.

You better teach your children in your own schools and let migrant communities teach their children according to their needs and demands. British Establishment and society should concentrate on the evils of their own society and stop trying to change the way of life of Muslims. Muslim community does not want to integrate with the British society, indulging in incivility, anti-social behaviour, drug and knife culture, binge drinking, teenage pregnancies and abortion. Prince Charles, while visiting the first grant maintained Muslim school in north London, said that the pupils would be the future ambassadors of Islam. But what about thousands of others, who attend state schools deemed to be "sink schools"? In education, there should be a choice and at present it is denied to the Muslim community. In the late 80s and early 90s, when I floated the idea of Muslim community schools, I was declared a "school hijacker" by an editorial in the Newham Recorder newspaper in east London. This clearly shows that the British media does not believe in choice and diversity in the field of education and has no respect for those who are different. Muslim schools, in spite of meager resources, have excelled to a further extent this year, with couple of schools achieving 100% A-C grades for five or more GCSEs. They beat well resourced state and independent schools in Birmingham and Hackney. Muslim schools are doing better because a majority of the teachers are Muslim. The pupils are not exposed to the pressures of racism, multiculturalism and bullying.

There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their
needs and demands.
Iftikhar Ahmad
London School of Islamics Trust

Andy V's picture
Fri, 25/04/2014 - 07:41

If you want that style of educational environment it already exists in the form of the Madrasa where Muslim children can be educated in Islam and Islamic ways.

Andy V's picture
Fri, 25/04/2014 - 07:13

If I was reading this before midday on 1st April I could smile and think, yes, nice one but it isn't and I can't.

For me this is an appalling example of bigoted racism and demonstrates all that is wrong with mulitculturalism when approached through the lens of an ethnic sub group that has no desire or intention of either integrating and playing a constructive participatory part in the host country. Instead the sub group simply want to transplant their own culture and work toward separatism.

Before throwing assertions around about social issues facing British society you should clean up your own societies. Just look at other self professed Islam countries - whether they consider themselves Islamic theocracies or not. The rank hypocrisy and cultural misogyny practices by Islamist groups. Practices that are part of the Koran but patriarchal in tooth and claw. Look at what Islamic factionalism is perpetrating in Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Northern Nigeria, China, the Philippines, South Sudan. In many cases this is Muslim killing Muslim and suppressing the equal rights of females to vote, to be educated, to be equal to males. All that and only now do I mention the wanton grooming and most horrendous physical, emotional and sexual abuse of underage white indigenous girls. Should I mention the grossly unfair male chauvinism at the heart of decision made in Sharia Courts or the effective enslaving of foreign domestic and construction workers in the Middle East, who after been lured there have their passports taken and suffer all manner of abuse and indignities.

To be sure no religion is without is current or historical errors and sometimes atrocities but don't forget the words of Isa, 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone', and most certainly wouldn't be Islam throwing the first stone.

My trite response is that if you want to live in an Islamic state then choose from existing ones and do not try and invidiously turn Britain into one.

Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 25/04/2014 - 08:13

Andy - this is the "toleration" the London School of Islamics Trust preaches:

"Those state and church schools where Muslim children are in majority may be opted out as Muslim Academies. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. Similarly, all Muslim Academies and schools should have Governing Bodies, consist of Muslims only and there is no place for a non-Muslim in Governing Body of a Muslim school. Muslim members understand the needs and demands of the Muslim children and they are in a better position to solve the every day problems and issues of Muslim schools with Muslim children."

Written evidence to Education Select Committee from the London School of Islamics Trust November 2012

The London School of Islamics Trust has been a Removed Charity since October 1991.

It appears, then, this "Trust" isn't a properly-constituted charitable trust. Its "director" bombards internet forums with versions of the above. Here's one (mercifully shorter) beneath an article on Conservative Home.

Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 25/04/2014 - 08:45

Andy - it appears the long, long comment from the London School of Islamics Trust is a cut-and-paste job which has appeared on many forums. Even the pasted website link no longer works.

Some posts linked to the Trust (which isn't a trust) do change, however. In this one Iftikhar Ahmad claims to be 19 years old (!), says British 9 and 10-year-olds are having babies because of sex education in primary schools (apparently more explicit than a display in Boots) and sex is "smutty and dirty" because it's not just about procreation.

Andy V's picture
Sun, 27/04/2014 - 07:12

I wonder what it is that makes Trolls enjoy the sound of their own keyboard and swirling irrationality that inflicts their thoughts? Still if it makes him happy. Simple things and all that.

Andy V's picture
Fri, 25/04/2014 - 08:50

Thank you Janet. In that case I shall make no further effort to engage with a 'troll'

Iftikhar Ahmad's picture
Sat, 26/04/2014 - 21:35

Trojan Horse

The whole saga is outrageous, beyond belief and frankly if it was not so serious, it would be comical. The documents on which this whole action is perused is false and as there is no proof of extremism in schools, Mr. Gove has made it illegal for Muslims to have conservative views (coming from a minister of conservative government, its comical really). Feel like we are back in the fifties in the USA again. Michael Gove is an avowed Zionist which is not the best way to approach issues like this! Because it can lead greater attacks on Islam. It amazes me that on the basis of an anonymous letter the whole country has been lead to believe that there is an organised plot to somehow take over schools, now allegedly across the length and breadth of Britain! Furthermore the amount of coverage that this has received from the media as being a credible story, to me, suggests the level of Islamophobia in our society has reached alarming and dangerous heights. I would suggest that for the sake of fairness, equality and justice all schools are subject to the same level of scrutiny. For example Christian, C-of-E, Jewish and Hindu,Sikh schools. I believe that this not only a witch hunt but a move to tarnish and undermine the credibility of Muslims in general and the noble teachings of a widely practiced and rapidly growing religion which a people devotedly choose to follow. Islamophobia should be stopped - especially when the racist is a government minister or department. you must share this island with many people, why does it belong to one people? Grammar schools regularly carry out gender segregation, shall we remove those Head teachers too.

The horse in question, it is alleged, contained Muslim extremism – brought to state schools by stealth, by governor bodies launching subtle pincer movements, to remove the kind of pesky teachers who might object to the segregation of pupils by sex, or a refusal to stick to the syllabus. How incredibly extremist. Schools where segregation of pupils by sex occur. How different from boy's only Grammar schools and High schools for Girls that exist in predominately Conservative areas. And that exist predominately in the private school sector. It does though surely produce better exam results, as pupils are less influenced by the idea of 'girl's subjects' and 'boy's subjects', and are less likely to be distracted by sex. Allegations of an Islamic takeover plot of Birmingham schools are just the latest in a string of slurs against Muslims. It is not clear what is meant by an "Islamic plot takeover", and whether that is the same thing as saying or hinting that some Muslims might want to get some schools to adopt their particular version of Islamic religious values, behaviours and life-styles. If it is the latter, that would not necessarily be an indication of "terrorism", so I struggle to see the need for 'counter-terrorism' input. It is not terrorism in any way shape or form. It is important to remember this is not about Islam as such but yet another chance to bash people perceived as foreigners. To many Muslim is another word for immigrant and coloured person, two terrible bugbears. Why should an unnamed, undated, unspecific source has effected students, teachers, governors, parents in one swoop. It has serious implications on unfounded accusations for hundreds of people. In no way shape or form is this right, nor should have it EVER happened. Just by a anonymous letter how can you judge the schools and it is bringing such bad vibe to Birmingham schools and local Muslim community we feel like we're targets no matter how hard we try we will never please and move forward from the terrorist labelling. I am disgusted at the way these particular schools and governors were targeted for no reason other than being Muslim. No solid evidence wa available to substantiate these accusations which arose and yet such great weight and focus was attached to them. Morally unjust and utterly unacceptable. The Trojan Horse document was clearly written by someone who knows little about Birmingham and even less about Islam. It has chimed, however, with widespread Islamophobic fantasies and fears amongst non-Muslims, and as a result of unethical reporting in the media has done much damage.

On the one hand we get told we are not integrating enough and we should engage more in civic society. On the other, when we do, we get accused of having sinister agendas.Since when do concerns by religiously conservative parents about teaching on homosexuality, girls and boys mixing, and the reciting of prayers, require anti-terrorist experts to get involved? Allegations of an Islamic takeover plot in Birmingham schools aren't justified by the evidence – and the government response is way out of proportion. Perhaps its best to let the Muslim community sort these issues out. These are in effect Muslim schools now. It is up to the Muslim community to see off hard liners (if there are any) otherwise it is their own children's' education that will suffer. I think it would be very difficult for non Muslims to get involved either as governors or management so perhaps that it is one of the reasons for the conflicts that have arisen. It may be best for the Government to but out providing the record of the school is o.k from an exam point of view. I am so disgusted that even after it was proved there is no factual evidence or basis for that racist and hate filled document, schools in Birmingham are being subjected to this horrific ordeal and the name of many good reputable teachers is being tarnished... Why? Clearly viewable that this accusation has been purposely placed on these schools which surprisingly consists of majority Muslim children. Clearly the school policies are being contradicted by Mr Gove as they clearly state that it is the schools priority and job to meet the needs of the local community and of the students within the school. So if a school is doing that then what is the issue? What is happening feels like the persecution of a religious group. This is important because the witchunt feeds Islamophobia. As we can see from the bombings and arson attacks on mosques in the UK, Islamophobia is a very dangerous and divisive form of racism. I'm sick of this hatred of Islam and Muslims. Haters, ignorant scum, look for any means to target Muslims, now even in our schools. It's a joke and this has to stop. How hypocritical does a country have to be to illegally invade Muslim countries and then accuse Muslims of terrorism? I am a Muslim. I am an anti-terrorist.
I never realised how racist and anti-Islamic this country is until I moved here. These people are here legally and have the right to live how they want to. Just because there are terrorists who use Islam as a doctrine to justify their hateful acts, does NOT mean that every Islam wants to change Britain to Sharia Law, kill the gays and put all women in burkas! These people are being judged and punished for the actions of others that have nothing to do with them, simply because they are of the same religion. Do you judge Germans in the same way because their country committed genocide? Or the Irish if they are from an area where religious conflict was particularly violent? No. Seems like thinly veiled racism to me, not the 'staunch upholding of British rights against religious extremists' as you all seem to espouse. What do people mean when they talk about 'multiculturalism'? If a lot of people come from a foreign country and settle in a particular area they will bring the culture of that country with them. Of course they will want their schools to promote their values. Gender segregation is everywhere in the Muslim world including in EU applicant, Turkey, so either we believe in Britain as multicultural or we don't. You don't get to pick and choose the bits you want. Why not sit down with parents and listen to their concerns, instead of ordering an investigation? Shocked at this terrifying witch hunt against Muslims who are simply trying to raise standards. Its totally unacceptable to create a furore in the country over anonymous accusations with no proof. Because it is a divisive move and will affect community relations. This is the very reason why society does not function properly, this is a deliberate attempt to spread fear amongst communities, as the best way to control a nation is through fear itself. because this is NOT ,,I repeat is NOT an Islamic plot to take over Birmingham, so DO NOT put false information in the media to put Muslims down!!!!! What next.....Muslims taking over hospitals, banks, pubs....come on... Tomorrow, a Pakistani MP would become the PM of GB and this does not mean that the country has become a colony of Pakistan.

What's taking place is an absolute disgrace. This whole witch hunt is putting Muslims off from becoming governors at a time when it is need the most. Why should Muslim parents be targeted when all they want at the end of the day is a good all round education for their children. Before Muslims governors came on to the scene all the inner city schools were doing poorly and failing all the children of the school. Muslim parents were criticised for their lack of involvement in their children's schools. Now they are being vilified. It is an absolute disgrace that an ex anti terrorist police office has been brought in to investigate the situation. It stinks of racism and the desire to label all Muslims into the category of extremist and jihadist. What a disgrace by the national and the local government. It's wrong for Gove to be deliberately politicising our Education system. All our children deserve respect and not to be scapegoated. What a total waste of tax payers money and tactical manoeuvre by Michael Gove to divert attention away from the real issues. Gove’s war is designed to destabilise governing bodies where Muslims form a majority. Don't want us to be part of 'big society'? We totally reject the idea that there is Muslim plot to take over Birmingham schools. We abhor the scapegoating of the Muslim community being whipped up by the media. We call for the removal of Peter Clarke as we believe this is a provocative appointment, designed to divide our community. I don't believe that there is an Islamic Plot to take over Birmingham schools. It's a set-up. Anonymous complaints have been used in the past to hound good head teachers of community schools out of their jobs in order to facilitate the creation of academies. This whole story smells of falsification and corruption. I suspect that the people wishing to take over schools are not Islamic extremists, but Academy Chains with business interests. A shamefully irresponsible and sensationalised inquiry whose adverse impact on community relations locally and nationally will sadly be lingering long and far.

If British authorities are so concerned about their education institutions being infiltrated by ``extremists'' then I suggest they stop Tony Blair, architect in chief of the illegal and violent 2003 Iraq invasion from speaking at colleges and universities across the UK and the world. His lies and fabrications caused the deaths, directly and indirectly, of thousands of Iraqis, British and Americans. While the survivors of his wars suffer in silence, this former British Prime Minister makes millions through his speaking engagements at educational institutions across the world with little or no sign of remorse for the suffering he caused. Nothing I see in the above articles suggests the British Muslim educators in question did anything illegal, let alone anywhere as remotely destructive as the twice elected British Prime Minister. Britain's interests would be served better if they questioned their own domestic and overseas policies instead of perennially whining on about ``extremist'' from their (mostly) law abiding immigrant communities.

There are a total of 21300 Primary and 3900 Secondary schools in the UK. Finding that 6 out of these 25200 had board members who wanted to push their extremist views over the governance of those school is not a Islamic Plot or Trojan Horse to Islamises UK. This is a massive overreaction and the Islamophobia on display in the comments is more terrifying than the actual case itself. Stop the racist witch hunt in Birmingham schools. We Muslims have a right to our religion. I decry everything which denigrates Muslims in this country. The media and governmental attitudes and actions, inflame prejudice and ignorance. We want the best for our children and such baseless witch hunt of school governors does not help the cause of better education.

Stop this hate against Muslims. It is not them who are terrorists , but all those who imply they are with the help of media you try bringing others to your side giving false details - twin towers wasn't Muslim either - that was the Americans - you will not win as Islam Will forever grow and prove it is peaceful through the will of God (Allah SWT)... ameen. This is undermining confidence in the Muslim community and increasing Islamophobia. This is another example of the media whipping up hysteria against the UK Muslim community. The way our Govt treating British Muslims is as if all Muslims are terrorists unless they prove otherwise. Govt should focus on its job. Govt of this school worked hard to help a failing school achieve outstanding rating from Ofsted. Please fix Ofsted and stop demonising Muslims.

Muslim children not only need halal meat or Eid Holidays but they need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their development period also. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. Legally, the state has an obligation to respect the rights of parents to ensure that 'education and teaching(of their children) is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.' The schools must satisfy the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural needs of Muslim pupils. State schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers are not in a position to satisfy their needs. A good school is not just a knowledge factory or a conveyor belt for churning out exam passes - it is a community, a family. A community is held together by common values and principles.
London School of Islamics Trust

Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 27/04/2014 - 08:14

The investigations into allegations surrounding some Birmingham schools are still ongoing. It would be wise to wait until these investigations are completed before commenting. There have been too many incontinent remarks already made without adding to them.

Iftikhar Ahmad's picture
Thu, 05/06/2014 - 20:40

Do you really think we live in a Democracy? :D A Democracy is supposed to be run by the people for the benefit of the people - not for the elite 1% and their mates" We all have one vote and it counts the same as anybody else's vote so yes I do. We have the power to vote governments in and out. It's people who don't know what they're voting for (some vote just for a party because their parents did or just have no idea at all) that lead the country in to trouble. If somebody votes without knowing what they've voted for then more fool them... they can't complain afterwards.

What is the point of warning a city council about this? they are voted in by the local people, and if these are the types of schools their supporters want, they are not going to do anything to curtail their proliferation.
The so called Syrian Jihadists are the product of British schooling with non Muslim teachers. Because of institutional racism in schools, they develop low self confidence and low self esteem. They find themselves cut off from their cultural heritage and are unable to enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. They suffer from Identity Crises. None of them were ever educated in a Muslim school.

According to a recent report, Muslim schools performed best overall, although they constitute only a fraction of the country's 7000 schools. Muslim schools do well because of their Islamic ethos and a focus on traditional discipline and teaching methods. They teach children what is right and what is wrong, because young children need structured guidance.

Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.

Outoftowner's picture
Thu, 05/06/2014 - 16:06

Janet is correct about Iftikhar Amad he belongs to a "trust" that is neither a trust nor a charity and it is based in a small terraced house in London. He posts long rambling posts on many, many web-sites, including the BBC, newspapers and even sends his wisdom to MPs. The accuracy of his grammar can change dramatically and is often extremely bad. I believe that when it is at its worst, it is his own genuine carefully crafted wording. He cuts and pastes his racist ramblings and tries to convince others that he is correct.
I hoped that dear "Iftie" had disappeared, as the last time that I heard from him on a forum that I use, I asked him if his "Muslim" school would be for all the different sects of Islam for both students and teachers, or if it would just be for the sect that he was a member of. That seemed to get rid of him. ( I mentioned all of the sects by name. There are lots but of course we know how the Shia and Sunni view each other and I believe that I know which one of those "Iftie" is. ) If he comes back, ask him a similar question.

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