Dr Sarah Beresford
Tuesday 10th June saw the publication Ofsted’s much awaited report into 21 Birmingham schools in the so called leaked ‘Trojan horse’ letter which alleged a planned takeover of schools by Islamist extremists. One of the schools investigated was Park View Academy. Ofsted’s report found that the recruitment and promotion of staff at Parkview was unfair and opaque; students were not prepared adequately for life in a multicultural society; and there were few opportunities to learn about non-Muslim beliefs, nor adequate citizenship lessons or Sex and Relationships Education. This blog argues that this recent controversy is representative of a deeper problem than so-called ‘muslim take over plots’ or ‘Faith schools’. The issue is of the place of religion and religiosity in schools and in the curriculum. The issue has caused a public row between two senior coalition ministers with the Home Secretary Theresa May accusing the Education Secretary Michael Gove, of failing to deal with an alleged Islamist plot to take over schools. The issue goes deeper than a discussion on Faith schools (Park View is not a Faith school. If this amount of religious indoctrination can take place in a school which is not a faith school, what amount of indoctrination is taking place at faith schools?).