During my previous blogs exposing allegations against Tim Boyes, which include him being one of the authors of the Trojan Horse letter, his supporters came in the comments section to defend him and somehow refute the article. My question remained consistent in those comments, but yielded no answer: why did not Tim Boyes repeat his claim to the media and elsewhere that he raised concerns of “hardliners” taking over schools to ministers in 2010?
This was then answered, on the authority of Sir Albert Bore through a source, in a later blog. It is alleged that Boyes did not raise these concerns; he had lied. He had been gagged by the Department for Education (DfE) with a threat that if any further such false claims were made by Boyes then the DfE would release minutes of the meeting which showed that he actually had not raised such concerns.
A fraught parent, Mohammed Ashraf, who firmly believes his child at Golden Hillock School did not achieve the expected grades because of the Trojan Hoax fiasco, made a Freedom of Information request for those minutes of the meetings. The response? A deflection email which superficially adds credence to Sir Albert Bore’s alleged claims.
- It is acknowledged that there is a general public interest in disclosure because of the need for there to be open and transparent government and that the sharing of information with the public should be free and open.
- However, it is crucial to the effective implementation of policy that officials feel able to express their opinions and advice in an honest but protected space.
- Officials must be allowed space to provide full and frank advice to Ministers unencumbered by concerns about how that advice might be perceived or presented in the public arena. This is important for the process of effective government. Disclosing the information requested would work directly against this, inhibiting officials and stakeholders from exploring ideas/options due to fear that information about them might be disclosed at an inappropriately early stage [36(2)(b)(ii)] and inhibiting free and frank provision of advice to ministers [36(2)(b)(i)].
- As announced by the Secretary of State on 9 June in his statement to Parliament, the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education is currently investigating whether the department missed any warning signs, and in particular how the department dealt with warnings both since the formation of this Government in 2010 and before. The information you have requested is therefore the subject of this investigation and it is important not to release it prematurely. Premature release could adversely affect the effectiveness of the investigation process thereby impeding the effective conduct of public affairs [36(2)(c)].
In addition to my touch and sight, I can sense my olfactory receptors detecting odour as I read this response.
Reports can be leaked to the press before being released to affected schools, not once but multiple times. Reports written by former counter-terror chiefs can be leaked to intercept and undermine the findings of another report which has differing conclusions, without warranting any investigations or determining the negative impact on the public. This is the attitude when it comes to officials smearing Muslims in the media, yet when it comes to unearthing the truth which may challenge the “official narrative”, stoked by Tim Boyes and then then reinforced by Theresa May and the media, then “public interest” should be of “disinterest”, it seems.
Counter Extremism Division in the DfE?
What raises further questions is that the undersigned belongs to the “due diligence and counter extremism division”. This division seems to have a history of dodging probing questions when it comes to the extremism agenda being run from within the DfE. According to Angela Jansen, who also responded to Mohammed Ashraf’s FOI request,
“The Due Diligence and Counter Extremism Division (previously known as the Preventing Extremism Unit) was established in October 2010 and was the first counter extremism division in government outside of the Home Office. The Division’s aim is to ensure that children and young people in England are safeguarded from extremists and extremist views in schools or in out of school hours learning, and prevent young people from becoming radicalised or acting on extreme views. The division is comprised of civil servants with support from specialists who have expertise in security matters.”
The “specialists” who provide support are none other than the Quilliam Foundation, which was bankrolled under anti-Muslim neocon Michael Gove’s reign as Education Secretary. The division specifically implements the draconian, PREVENT strategy and contributes to the wider implementation of the strategy.
The question is, why is the Counter Extremism Division responding Ashraf’s request? As Ashraf, makes the point, the comments have already been disclosed to the public; what is required is verification.
The impact of the stoking of fire by Boyes and others has been detrimental to the Muslim minority, the children at these schools and community cohesion. The public demands to know whether there is any truth in Albert Bore’s claims about Boyes’ alleged, dangerous lies.