Part 1 can be accessed here.
Deception, lies and collusions. No, this is not a spy novel but the story of what happened behind the pompous, anti-Muslims slogans of “Trojan Horse”, “Islamist takeovers” and “plots” to undermine “secular” teachers last year. Continuing from my previous blog on Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College, this blog will expose evidence which will show – contrary to what the neocon-duped papers and Gilligan-type propagandists had everyone believe – that the Principal along with the Bardford Council employed deception and collaborated to remove the Governing Body.
The new Chair (Rifat Parveen) had been appointed in turbulent circumstances: an unresponsive, sloppy previous Chair who had sat on a Warning Notice from Paul Makin, the biased representative from the Bradford Council, and an impending IEB ensured Parveen’s plate was full. An effort was made to re-engage the head to deal with any concerns and issues. McIntosh, however, rebuffed these meeting requests on the basis that she was busy due to covering absences, and because her concerns,
“don’t need expressing or exploring, they need addressing… The proper place to address them is in the formal meetings through what is said and what is decided.” [Email from McIntosh, 17/02/2014]
This exchange took place between the 6th and 17th of February. It was discovered on the 17th of February at a governor meeting, which proceeded without McIntosh, that she had met Makin prior to the meeting that morning.
Makin and the local authority confirmed their intention to apply for an IEB, reiterating the aforementioned allegations (slow pace of implementing Getting to Good plan, lengthy meetings) [Minutes from Meeting with members of the Governing Body of LBEC, Paul Makin, 17/02/2014]. The Governing Body responded to all the allegations, which were found to be factually inaccurate. The allegations of lengthy meetings, for instance, ignored the cause: material was not provided by the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) beforehand. As pointed out in my previous blog, in order for the governors to improve themselves, they had commissioned the independent services of Mr John Barton as National Lead Governor. His words in a letter exonerating the newly appointed Chair (Parveen) reveal the ridiculous bias of both McIntosh, who snubbed her engagement efforts, and the Council, which had predetermined an IEB for Laisterdyke. Key excerpts from Barton’s letter are reproduced below:
Rifat was a recent vice-chair, but on 7 January at a special FGB meeting the Chair resigned and Rifat was thrown into the deep end as acting Chair. It truly was the deep end because the College was rated Improvement Required by Ofsted in September 2013 and an HMI monitoring visit in November had said that governors had not taken swift enough action… Rifat had great difficulty getting hold of a copy of this warning letter and was then dismayed to receive a warning notice on 16 January.
In the time I have known her she has re-energised and refocused the Governing Body. She has focused meetings so they now reach conclusion and decisions and are significantly shorter than previously.
One action I gave her as acting chair was to build a strong rapport with the Principal. Despite great effort on Rifat’s part and different approaches, this is one area where she has been less successful. Rifat has shown great patience and restraint in trying to build this relationship. She has turned the other cheek variously and not reacted when severely provoked and challenged. She has tried very hard to engage and move forwards.
[Letter from NLG John Barton, 18th February 2014]
Screenshots of the letter are below:
The burgeoning scandal gets worse as evidence reveals Makin possibly lying to the governors.
Makin claimed that the clerking service had raised concerns about governors with him (this is alluded to in the minutes also [Minutes from Meeting with members of the Governing Body of LBEC, Paul Makin, 17/02/2014]). However, an email from the Clerk regarding this claim confirms that the Clerk had never spoken to Makin:
Based on the above, one can see that the Bradford Council was not intent on supporting the existing governing body, but rather had already communicated its intention to root it out based on one perspective of the story – McIntosh’s. The situation proceeds to become almost comical as incontrovertible evidence shows that not only was McIntosh fully committed to having the governing body removed, but was actively working to undermine it through her communications with Ofsted.
In an email to the Ofsted inspector Katrina Gueli, and treating the removal of the governing body as a done deal, McIntosh suggests that Ofsted visit after the governing body had been removed:
I have now received verbal confirmation that Bradford LA is applying for an IEB to be put in place at the College to support improvement work. I am therefore suggesting that your next visit takes place once an IEB has been established and the current situation is resolved.
[McIntosh’s Letter to Ofsted, 25/02/2014
This collusion was kept from the governing body meeting held on the 3rd of March 2013. In fact, McIntosh actively deceived the governors. The minutes for this meeting reveal that McIntosh was queried as to whether there had been any correspondence with Ofsted regarding their next monitoring visit. In response the minutes record the following:
Mrs McIntosh advised governors she had made contact with the Inspector a few days ago, asking when she may be in next. Details of the date of the next visit will be emailed to Governors. [Minutes of an Extraordinary meeting, 03/03/2014]
This astonishing level of deception advanced further with McIntosh’s efforts to the sabotage the governing body.
In the abovementioned meeting, it was agreed by governors that an educational consultant be hired to support the governing body in drafting a response to IEB. McIntosh was present at this meeting. A further meeting reviewing the budget was held on the 10th of March. Given the pressing nature of the situation the governing body had to act quickly, and it was confirmed that the cost of the consultant could be met by the savings which had already accrued. The only contention raised by McIntosh was that there was a “lack of scrutiny”, compared to other areas of expenditure, however no further issues were raised. [Minutes from Finance & General Purposes meeting, 10/03/2014]
When the invoice from the consultancy arrived, on the 20th of March, the business manager Paul Murphy, via email refused to process the payment citing various issues which were not raised before. In an email dated 29th March 2014 from McIntosh to the governors (received, 30th March 2014), McIntosh explained that she had sought advice from Bradford Internal Audit (internal to the Bradford Council) on the basis that procedure had not been followed.
Pertinently, she (or Murphy) did not feel it necessary to raise the specific detailed concerns to the governing body and work with them to ensure due process.
Ironically, the Council’s Head of Audit in a letter (28th of March) confirmed that financial procedure had been followed and that payment should be made. The impact however, was achieved. Laistedyke’s opportunity to adequately respond to the IEB had been scuppered.
The evidences referenced above speak for themselves – they don’t need captioning. There was a plan, and the plan was perpetrated against those who were paraded in the media as evil conspirators hell-bent on, well, raising standards, it seems.
There is more however, and the role the Bradford Council played through their precipitant actions in ensuring the removal of the governing body will be examined in the next piece.