Trojan Horse review
Publication of the Trojan Horse Review Group Report to the Leader of Birmingham City Council – Tuesday 22 July 2014
This report by Birmingham City Council’s Trojan Horse Review Group is a review of the findings of the Independent Chief Advisor’s investigation report (ICA – Ian Kershaw).
The review group endorses the ICA’s report and finds the criticisms of the city council over a number of years justified, although it notes that other stakeholders have major responsibilities for schools and their governance.
The review group agrees with the direction of the ICA report’s recommendations, and makes 12 recommendations (see below) in addition to the commitments made by the leader of the council on 18 July 2014.
The review group expects the civic leadership to progress all recommendations, set out in the ICA’s report and the review group report, and sees the ICA’s report as the catalyst for a radical and far-reaching response from the city council and its partners to what has happened.
The review group makes clear that the problems and failings of a small number of schools are unacceptable and go against the tradition and aspiration for a fully inclusive city; however it also notes that the issues relate to the risks posed by a small number of activists seeking to subvert a small number of schools.
The review group agrees that the key issues relate to the development of good governance across all schools.
Importantly, the review group states that, while other groups and partners have a part to play, it must be the overriding responsibility of Birmingham City Council to ensure that each and every child’s interests are properly safeguarded by the education system across the city, irrespective of a school’s legal status.
The council and all key partners, including Ofsted, need to agree key actions that can deliver effective governance across all Birmingham schools, according to the review group.
Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “I welcome this report and thank the review group for their dedication in taking their responsibilities with the seriousness this issue deserves.
“I am fully committed to ensuring their recommendations are taken on board and acted upon. I also welcome the acknowledgement that this is a complex issue requiring the commitment of all agencies involved in children’s education, local and national. We must all work together to ensure that the children and young people of this city get the rounded education that they deserve.”
Recommendations of the review group:
1. To endorse the direction set by the ICA report and its overall recommendations.
2. For Birmingham City Council to develop a clear plan to implement these recommendations by September 2014, with sustainable capacity and capability, effective and transparent sharing of information and intelligence, clear visible leadership in raising school standards and appropriate involvement of the wider Birmingham education community, for example an annual advisory conference.
3. For Birmingham City Council to ensure a proper and transparent process of accountability for the failings of the past, for appropriate recognition of the damage done to individual Heads, teachers, parents, governors and worst of all children, and for early impact in reassuring Muslim and other communities in the city about the value and achievability of effective governance arrangements.
4. To strengthen significantly the system of schools governance, particularly in respect of effective appointment procedures and training, audit systems and credible whistleblowing arrangements, including the provision of a single public telephone number for complaints about school leadership and governance. This work must also make explicit the core values appropriate to our liberal democracy across all schools – respect for the law, democracy, equality and tolerance of different faiths and other beliefs. To give practical effect to that purpose, for example, much more regular joint work of projects across different schools from different neighbourhoods within the city should be supported by the Council, Birmingham Education Partnership and Birmingham Governors Network in particular.
5. To produce a clear, simple and concise re-statement of the legal framework within which governors must fulfil their responsibilities with particular reference to their accountabilities around the proper use of public funds and good employment practice.
6. To sharpen, monitor and account for the circumstances within which it is genuinely appropriate for any individual to be a governor of more than one school In Birmingham at any one time; and to ensure strict enforcement of the National Governors’ Association position in limited terms of appointments.
7. To work directly with Ofsted, Birmingham Children’s Safeguarding Board and others in sustaining a sharp focus on any school exhibiting “isolationist” tendencies, and to work with any such school to reduce that risk. Ofsted must ensure that it is no longer possible for any school to be assessed as outstanding or good without having good Safeguarding standards.
8. To reinvigorate a Birmingham-wide approach to inclusivity, integration, openness and transparency across all schools, taking into account in particular the demographic trends across the city and emerging new communities – including that children and young people from minority ethnic groups now account for 60.6% of all children living in the area, and proportion of children and young people with English as an additional language in Birmingham primary schools is 43% and in secondary schools is 38%. This must include strong and visible support towards empowering all girls in all our schools, and to ensure they are treated with total equality and respect.
9. For Birmingham City Council to develop with partners, including the Birmingham Education Partnership and the National Unions of Head Teachers, a clear Code to give effect to the duty of care and responsibilities towards head teachers.
10. For Birmingham City Council, in concert with partners, to issue a clear and simple statement of “what good looks like” in primary and secondary schools across the City in respect of Preventing Extremism, within a wider context of ensuring a good education for all school children.
11. DfE to issue revised national guidance for school governors, taking full account of the key learning from Trojan Horse, as soon as possible, particularly in respect of transparency of appointments; and to ensure all schools have a broad and balanced curriculum with regards to Religious Education, Personal Social Health Education, Sex and Relationships Education and assemblies, considering introducing statutory school policies for all primary and secondary schools accordingly.
12. For all of this work to be taken forward now in direct engagement with communities across Birmingham - particularly in working up any mobilising campaign around securing a brighter future for Birmingham’s children – and overseen by a civic leadership group to ensure effective and sustainable implementation, chaired and strongly represented by credible independent voices.
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News and Updates
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Any media enquiries on the Trojan Horse investigation will continue to be dealt with by the Birmingham City Council press office on 0121 303 3287.
Birmingham City Council has appointed Ian Kershaw as its independent Chief Advisor to lead on the review of the so-called 'Trojan Horse' allegations.
The council has created a number of ways in which anyone with any information on the alleged plot can share details with Mr Kershaw as part of his investigation:
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone -0121 303 7602 (line operational during office hours – at other times voicemail will be available for anyone wishing to leave a message so a return call can be arranged)
In order to assist us in investigating any reported incidents, we require the name and contact details of the individual making the report, so that, if necessary, we can contact them in order to obtain further information.
The identity of any individual contacting us will be treated as confidential information by Birmingham City Council, and will not be disclosed except where necessary:-
- a) for the purposes of any investigation into the reported incident(s), or
- b) where Birmingham City Council is legally required to do so such as for the prevention or detection of crime or where ordered to by a Court.