Friday, 13 June 2014

A culture of fear and intimidation

On 10 June 2014, Lucy Osborne informed us thus in The Daily Mail:

"Teachers forced out of schools at the centre of the Trojan Horse allegations have been gagged by the authorities. At least 12 senior staff, most of them heads, were banned from speaking out as part of their six-figure pay-off deals, it emerged last night. Some claim they were bullied, intimidated and threatened over the bid by extremists to target state schools in Birmingham.
Their concerns were vindicated this week when a three-month inquiry concluded that an organised campaign had been waged by governors to impose extreme Islamic policies on pupils, leading to a ‘culture of fear and intimidation’ among staff.

Despite this, the teachers still feel unable to discuss what happened at their schools. And yesterday neither the Department for Education nor Birmingham City Council would guarantee the whistleblowers would not face action for speaking out…

Reports by Ofsted and the Education Funding Agency revealed that Muslim governors had attempted to impose an Islamic agenda on several schools, effectively turning them into Muslim faith schools. Governors at a school in Bradford promoted an Islamic ethos by encouraging teachers to modify their teaching to suit Muslim students…

A source from one of the schools said she knew three former teachers who were ‘bullied, paid, or a combination of the two’ to stay quiet. And several of those approached by the Mail yesterday said they wanted to speak out but were unable to.

However, one head, Bhupinder Kondal, told Radio 4’s The World Tonight she had been forced out by religious conservatives at Oldknow Academy, the primary school revealed to have used terms such as ‘white prostitute’ to describe Western women in assemblies, to have taken pupils to Saudi Arabia and to have removed Jesus dolls from plays.

She said: ‘I resigned against my will. I felt that I couldn’t carry on any longer. I’ve been really unhappy about what I’ve gone through.’

And Noshaba Hussain, Muslim former head of Springfield Primary, said she was forced out by ‘well-organised and sinister’ extremists in 1993 and made to sign a gagging clause. She said: ‘The council is pretending they want to get to the truth but if they were sincere in that they would remove these gagging clauses.’

The DfE insisted that any gagging clauses would not prevent staff speaking out in the public interest, while Birmingham City Council said staff should feel able to ‘speak freely’. But the council did not deny it was telling teachers not to speak to Ofsted or the media.”

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