Part 1 can be accessed here.
Part 2 can be accessed here.
Part 3 can be accessed here.
Part 4 can be accessed here.
In previous blogs, I have covered some of the details concerning the collusions between the Bradford Council and members of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) at Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College, in order to overthrow and divest blame upon the governing body for the failings of the school. In this piece, we will analyse the aftermath of the removal, exposing the alleged duplicitous behaviour of the Bradford Council in piping anti-Muslim hysteria vis-à-vis the Trojan Hoax plot.
Michael Gove, the then secretary of state for education, authorised the Bradford Council’s shoddy IEB application on the 7th of April 2014. What followed on the part of the Council was extraordinary. As already evidenced in a previous blog, there were no issues about “imposing Islamic ideology” raised in replete minutes of various meetings between the governing body and the SLT. However, the Council circulated a memo to Council members controversially highlighting that there were “issues of religious conservatism”. Despite this, the briefing note is also significant in that it also showed the Council promulgating a position that it was aware of the claims made in the Trojan Horse document, “however, to date, [the Council had] seen nothing to suggest that any formal investigations are required in Bradford”. Councillor Ralph Berry, the portfolio holder for Children and Young People, corroborated this in his interview with Radio Sunrise on the 24th of June 2014, stating,
“There is no evidence of a Trojan Horse plot, even in Birmingham, my colleague in Birmingham, the portfolio holder there has confirmed such.”
In other words, the official Council line was, there were no Trojan Hoax plots.
Anonymous Council Sources
Through subterfuge, however, it is alleged that members of the Council disseminated narratives which thoroughly supported the disproven Trojan Hoax lies and scapegoated governors at Laisterdyke, and in particular Faisal Khan. This was brought to light by Khan himself in the abovementioned interview (see here).
My sources state that when preparing for an article about the Trojan Hoax (published on 14th April 2014), the Guardian journalist Helen Pidd confirmed that claims in this article regarding Laisterdyke, and the “pressuring” of the principal by “hardline Muslim governors”, were promoted by someone senior within Bradford Council.
In a propaganda piece published on the 3rd of May 2014, by the anti-Muslim neoconservative establishment mouthpiece Andrew Gilligan, “senior official sources” were lauding Bradford Council, which had removed the governing body apparently to “prevent the ‘Islamisation’ of the school”. The article had Khan as the focus of the attack.
On the 11th of June 2014, the Independent falsely reported in its headline that “teachers were suspended for refusing to impose strict Islamic model”. In fact they had been removed for baselessly impeding the payment to an education consultant which was critical for furnishing a response to the IEB notice. The payment was later accepted as legitimate by the Council’s internal auditing department. There are other claims made in this article made which were patently false or spun to meet the prevailing anti-Muslim neoconservative agenda. All the allegations were exposed for their fickleness and manifest underlying racism in detail in the abovementioned Sunrise Radio interview.
Pertinently, the report further added that,
“Independent Bradford councillor Faisal Khan was today accused by a council colleague of “wanting to turn Laisterdyke into Park View” and having led a “concerted effort” to drive Mrs McIntosh and her deputy head out.”
The association with Park View and “driving out” accusation was a clear effort to further ring “Trojan Horse” bells around Khan. It is alleged that the person who put forth such claims was Councillor Ralph Berry. I have been unable to corroborate this information from other sources in Bradford.
The trait of duplicitous behaviour in the above allegation is seen in the scandalous acts of the SLT last year, which prevented children at Laisterdyke from entering the school in order to avoid contact with Ofsted. On the 10th of June 2014, Khan Tweeted that children were disallowed entrance into the school and were sitting on pavements outside in order to revise. In response, Berry indifferently said that it was “normal exam study leave” and that it was a “no story”. It was made clear to Berry that children were meant to be attending a revision class and he responded that he would check. On the 11th of June, the Dail Mail picked up the scandal and reported it showing evidence of actual revision guides held by pupils which clearly demonstrated that they should have been inside the school. The vice principal Chris Scrivens flatly denied the report. Berry completely ignored the claims and proceeded to comment on the “sadness” of “folk” using “Rothermere press” to “attack State education”. Presumably it is okay to use the press to attack individuals anonymously. Quite obviously, the concerns of the pupils were superseded by the reputation of “State education”.
Berry also ignored an anonymous letter sent (09/05/2014) from a whistleblowing “public servant” who alleged that the Laisterdyke vice principal had explicitly directed the manipulation of data to make school progress seem closer to national benchmarks, thus misleading Ofsted (I will discuss the Ofsted reports further below). Inter alia, a further damning accusation was made that “individual pupil results are tampered with to make the data yield positive trends”.
A month later Berry, rather than act upon the information, sought to take refuge behind the Ofsted report which was based upon the whistleblown deception when questioned on the social network:
The claim of falsification of data in order to mislead Ofsted seems to be vindicated by the appalling results which materialised in both 2014 and 2015.
As per Principal Jen McIntosh’s request to Ofted’s Katrina Guelli asking her to visit the school after the governing body had been removed, Ofsted duly visited Laisterdyke once the IEB was in place and subsequently published a Section 8 report. It provided for a comparatively glowing read: it found that the “overall quality of teaching in the college is steadily improving.” What is lesser known is after the dismal 2014 results which validated the claim that estimates about pupil progress were being unrealistically inflated, Ofsted came in for a further inspection under Section 117 on the 28th of November 2014. The report (again, by Guelli) for this visit was not published on Ofsted’s website, however the report has been released under a Freedom of Information request. Ofsted found that,
“The College has not made enough progress towards addressing the areas for improvement in the last section 5 inspection”
The “last section 5 inspection” was the one dated 5th of September 2013. In other words, it directly opposed the publically accessible June 2014 Section 8 report, indirectly constituting an admission that Ofsted had been given a misrepresented view of the reality at Laisterdyke and the governors were correct in identifying SLT weaknesses.
The report was scathing with particular focus dedicated to English. As highlighted in my previous blog, the forecasted results for English were often fettled to present a false positive perspective. Ofsted stated,
“GCSE outcomes in 2014 were a severe set-back on the college’s journey towards good, particularly in English. The college has responded to the English results with a range of actions, including commissioning an external review. This review has identified an underlying issue in the quality of teaching of writing but this is only just beginning to be addressed.”
The most obvious question at this point is, why was this Ofsted inspection not published on the Ofsted website? And why are media outlets still churning comments about Muslim governors yet, in an emphatic demonstration of white privilege, fail to even mention a report critiquing white teachers?
The way in which the Bradford Council subverted normal process to rush through an IEB and simultaneously presented itself as the “anonymous saviour” of schools protecting it from the Trojan Hoax allegations, whilst ostensibly claiming Bradford Trojan Hoax-free, certainly raises questions for the Council as well as Ofsted. Those Muslim governors who were comprehensively back-stabbed by this deceptive behaviour can point to the GCSE results and the subsequent, secretive Ofsted report which have surfaced over the past year and half in order to exonerate their statuses as individuals concerned only about raising standards in synchrony with the sensitivities and sentiments of the community.
Early this year, it was reported that governors at Laisterdyke were removed “controversially”, and that 1,622 people to sign a petition objecting to the way the issue was handled. On the 3rd of September, it was also reported that Jen McIntosh had been replaced by an interim-head. The wheels of justice, though glacially, are turning indeed.
There are other individuals who contributed to whipping up the Trojan Hoax frenzy and demonstrated the abovementioned behavioural traits. However, in order to understand the background to these traits, a number of events at another school targeted will need to be explored. Carlton Bolling College will be the subject of my next pieces.