Statement in relation to an event organised by the Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) campaigning group
Birmingham City Council is aware that an event has been organised by MEND to debate the issues relating to the Trojan Horse events of a few years ago.
It is unclear at this stage whether the event will go ahead this evening. However, we are concerned to ensure that there are no misleading messages given about what really happened during Trojan Horse, and to make it clear that the city council in no way endorses the planned event.
What happened in the schools caught up in Trojan Horse in 2014 is clearly established and we must not shy away from challenging those who seek to deny there was a serious problem at that time. There were a number of inquiries, including the council’s own commissioned external investigation, and we have learnt the lessons of the past. The council’s current strong political and strategic leadership drives the effective oversight of school governance that we now have across the city, including clear support for head teachers, and robust systems for whistleblowing and dealing with concerns, however big or small.
Those who dispute what happened in Trojan Horse cannot legitimately dispute the facts and findings of the 2014 Kershaw and Clarke inquiries which include the following key points, which must not be forgotten:
- Kershaw – “My investigation has found that elements of the five steps referred to in the Trojan Horse Letter are present in a large number of the schools considered as part of the investigation. There are also clear patterns of behaviour amongst groups of individuals which is so common that it is reasonable to infer that there are links between these various individuals.”
- Clarke - “I found clear evidence that there are a number of people associated with each other and in a position of influence in schools and governing bodies, who espouse, sympathise with or fail to challenge extremist views….
“There has been co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained action, carried out by a number of associated individuals, to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos into a few schools in Birmingham. This has been achieved in a number of schools through gaining influence on the governing bodies, installing sympathetic head teachers or senior members of staff, appointing like-minded people to key positions, and seeking to remove head teachers who they do not feel to be sufficiently compliant with their agenda. Their motivation may well be linked to a deeply held religious conviction, but the effect has been to limit the life chances of the young people in their care and to render them more vulnerable to pernicious influences in the future.”
Birmingham City Council recognises the need to guard against any repeat of the practices and behaviours of Trojan Horse.