Gilligan is back on the Trojan Hoax train and this time he has targeted a Muslim head teacher in Birmingham. His article, like his other clichéd, formulaic, propaganda material is a blatant attack on Islam itself. Not that we needed evidence of his bias. We have already seen his favourable treatment towards the Jewish community whilst downplaying anti-Muslim crimes and disgustingly playing Jews off Muslims in the process (see also here). We have also seen how shoddy his lies and spin-ridden propaganda work is (see here, here and here)
Smear By Labelling
In this article, he attempts to make a link between the head teacher and the two brothers who left for Syria, by highlighting the fact that the brothers attended the school she was formerly at. Note, however, that there are damning allegations that UK security agencies had allowed the brothers to leave the UK and may have met them in Turkey. Investigating this would constitute journalism though, something which Gilligan is clearly not.
He further reinforces this link by highlighting that the school was attended by an “extremist preacher”, who’s only claim to extremism is that he articulated traditional Islamic views on “free-mixing” and music.
Of course, Gilligan wants us to associate these views through his roundabout rhetoric to the “radicalisation” of the two brothers who went on to fight in Syria. Once again, the PREVENT strategy is permeating his writing. These are mainstream Islamic views. Doing the same to orthodox Jewish practices results in charges of anti-Semitism! It also contradicts international norms by denigrating a minority within a minority and subjecting it to negative government policy, purely because one doesn’t agree with the views. It seems the neocon Michael Gove who regards Islamic practices as extremism (as attested to by Whitehall officials), has left his indelible mark on Gilligan.
This association with terrorism which Gilligan is desperate to somehow manufacture, is preposterous. By his argument all those who attend pubs frequented by the far-right must all be sympathetic to their foul views. I am really struggling to maintain my decorum with Gilligan. This is such a stupid argument.
His piece also includes a regurgitation of his interpretation of the now infamous Whatsapp messages, which I have a copy of and reproduced in a more contextualised form, along with the contexts as intended by those who wrote the messages. In short, Gilligan and subsequently Peter Clarke, have taken their own interpretation over and above the clarifications, views and intentions of the people being quoted. For a complete analysis of the spin applied to these messages please see my previous blog here. The reality is that the “plot” is completely unfounded and more pertinently, the Muslim head teacher Gilligan is trying to implicate, was not even a part of the Whatsapp group.
Implied Muslim Blame
This is Gilligan however. He can attribute blame to a Muslim even if there is none. Gilligan for instance, impliedly imputes blame on the Muslim head teacher that,
“Mrs Khan appears to have alienated many staff. At least four senior teachers, including Tim Smith, the assistant head and head of sixth form, have resigned in recent weeks.”
Yes it would appear to be the case that Khan is doing the “alienation”, except as a journalist, Gilligan’s duty would be to investigate the reality behind the façade being created by those who feed him information. Except that won’t happen. Allow me to provide an alternate angle on what is happening at the school.
“Alienated Teachers”: A Witch-Hunt from the Start?
Toward the beginning of Gilligan’s propaganda, he states that there has been a “narrowing of the curriculum”. My sources close to the school state that they are unaware of changes which have been made since Peter Slough has left.
With regards to the second claim, that “staff are in turmoil”, there may be some truth in this. However, as we know, facts can be spun to portray a particular perception, and in Gilligan’s propaganda pieces, they are almost invariably of the anti-Muslim variety.
According to my sources, the “alienated” senior teachers are Tim Smith, his wife Sue Smith and Frances Wilson. My sources state that these resigning teachers who are “whistle-blowing” to Gilligan, wanted James Ludlow, a deputy head during Peter Slough’s tenure, as the head (Wilson is set to resign near easter, I am told). This has not happened and it seems a vendetta is being waged against the Muslim head. This group of “tight-knit” teachers are close to Peter Slough, a friend of Michael Gove, a devout Christian and possible, alleged architect of the fabricated Trojan Hoax document.
My sources are confirming that Khan was being undermined by this group from the start. She was appointed head teacher in June/July 2014. Before she had even arrived, members of the senior leadership team were allegedly sowing the seeds of discord.
It is being said that, despite Khan being vetted and deemed appropriate for head, “anonymous questions” were given to Simon O’Hara (a governor and NUT representative). The only people who could access the application to pose these questions were members of the senior leadership, amongst whom include Tim Smith who is referenced in Gilligan’s propaganda. The questions raised casted doubt about her academic credentials, stating that she left her previous place of work “under a cloud”. This is somewhat of a grand claim considering the fact that Khan was deputy head at her previous school, which in 2013 achieved 54% A*-C in English and Maths, the same as what Small Heath School achieved in 2014 under outgoing head, Peter Slough.
At that time it was also being claimed in these questions that she was related to one of the governors too. In other words, she was being attacked for possible nepotism. This is a lie which has been regurgitated by Gilligan – my sources have confirmed that this has been categorically rejected by the head teacher.
On the contrary, it is alleged that Slough brought in his deputy head, Sue Smith, on the basis that he knew her – both of them previously taught in an international school in Saudi Arabia. The school teachers are known to bring in close relatives and friends. For example the head of technology department had recruited his wife as one of the teachers in his own department. The white folk, including good ol’ Gilligan, have no qualms here.
Taking the above into account, it can equally be argued that the nepotistic “white” staff, had “alienated” the Muslim head teacher from the outset.
There are problems which my sources have confirmed. The changes instituted by the head, for example, learning walks, where the head teacher drops into lessons for observations, have not been popular amongst some of the staff. Other staff members, I am told have had no problem with this practice, given the aim is to raise standards. The head teacher has also, according to my sources, made the marking of books a priority, which again has not been popular with some vocal teachers. Ironically, I am told that inadequate book marking was raised by Ofsted too. Only the publication of the Ofsted report can confirm this latter point however. I am sure that parents would agree, these two practices in particular are not necessarily bad, given the aim is to better achievement.
The division between the senior leadership team and particular staff members is not healthy. Perhaps the firmer attitude of the head has exasperated this. According to documents I have seen, it is being stated by staff that “unless staff are listened to and that their concerns are acted upon, things can only get worse.” That is quite a dire, almost threatening outlook, except it seems that likewise, the head teacher is not being “listened to”; her concerns are not being “acted upon” either. Instead, they are being weaponised against her.
Gilligan’s quoting of David Driscoll’s opinion is endemic of the way the media portrays issues: non-Muslims are victims, whilst Muslims are criminals in every arena. Indeed, this has been the theme of the entire Trojan Hoax government insurgency. Even teachers have fallen into this xenophobia (see comment section, here)
Driscoll according to Gilligan had said that the teachers who had served the school fantastically for years, were now being “ripped into at every opportunity”, possibly alluding to the abovementioned, newly instituted practices. No doubt the teachers have previously done a fantastic job. After all, the grades, under Peter Slough’s headship have been in decline over the past three years. As for being criticised at “every opportunity”, this, my sources state, is an exaggeration, which is completely untrue for other teachers.
My sources state that there is a perception that Peter Sough was able to maintain an “outstanding” Ofsted rating at the height of the Trojan hoax storm, despite slipping grades, “because of his contacts in Ofsted”. In the last inspection, which happened in April 2014, my sources state that the Ofsted Inspectors conducted a light-touch inspection. This latest inspection went into a full Section 5 inspection within 2 hours. Given the fact that the “horrified” Driscoll, a former HMI Inspector, relayed such partial view of the situation at the school, supporting the narrative of Slough’s friends, such a notion is not inconceivable.
Not for a second should it be understood from the above that the new head teacher is without fault. Indeed mistakes need to be dealt with. Grievances need to be heard and responded to accordingly. However, Gilligan’s propaganda is gross politicisation of issues which can be found in other schools, yet in the Muslim context, automatically feeds into a broader anti-Muslim agenda through the discourse of “extremism” and bogus take-over plots.
There is more information to come; indeed I had to omit damning parts of this piece as I am awaiting corroboration of information. There is more to this situation than the gloating Gilligan would have you believe. From the alleged undermining before the Muslim head teacher even started, to possible links to Ofsted, the circumstances are certainly circumspect. Paraphrasing the neocon Peter Clarke’s findings randomly thrown in at the end of Gilligan’s piece, there most certainly seems like a “co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained action” to get rid of the Muslim head.
 See, “The diversity that exists within religious minority groups must also be recognized. The rights of every single member of such minority groups must be respected fully.” (Beyond freedom of religion or belief: Guaranteeing the rights of religious minorities”, A/HRC/FMI/2013/3, 26–27, November 2013)