Commenting on the publication of the independent Report of Ian Kershaw, commissioned by Birmingham City Council into the ‘Trojan Horse’ letter, Chris Keates General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:
“This very detailed Report confirms that there is no evidence that schools in Birmingham have been infiltrated by extremists or have become breeding grounds for terrorism and radicalisation.
“What the Report highlights is that the excessive freedoms and flexibilities given to schools by the Coalition Government have resulted in the diminution of the role of local authorities and lack of clear systems of national and local oversight and monitoring. Consequently, the school system is at the mercy of poor governance and leadership and management practices.
“There is no doubt that the Report highlights some serious concerns which must be addressed as a matter of urgency. The children and young people and the staff in the schools deserve no less. Throughout all of these investigations scant attention has been paid to the stress and trauma staff and pupils have faced.
“The Report highlights examples of financial impropriety, shoddy and unfair recruitment practices and failure of some governors and school leaders to comply with statutory provisions. Such practices have nothing to do with radicalisation but are simply corrupt and inappropriate practices that the lack of scrutiny and monitoring has allowed to flourish.
“There are some sensible suggestions in the recommendations in the Report, but as the majority of schools covered by this investigation are academies, which are the sole responsibility of the Department for Education, Birmingham City Council will be unable to implement them.
“It is a great pity that to get to this point certain communities have been unjustly scapegoated and demonised when it is evident that a significant contributory factor to the problems in these schools is the failure of the Coalition Government, in its haste to marketise and privatise the school system, to exercise due diligence to ensure that schools were fit to self-govern.”
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