Andrew Gilligan’s crusade against schools in deprived areas, which also happen to Muslim majority in demography, set off an almost comical sequence of events, starting with the fabricated Trojan Horse Plot and the “Islamist take-over of schools” hyperbole, resulting in three levels of investigations (Ofsted, Birmingham City Council and Department for Education (DfE)). This has resulted in reputations being tarnished, children being psychologically harmed by Ofsted inspectors, and a community feeling confused, downtrodden and comprehensively under attack by the “white elite”.
Gilligan’s latest charade resulted in Al-Hijra School in Bordesley Green, being smeared. His article, riddled with exaggerations, distortions and outright lies is a testament to his blatant lack of integrity as a journalist and as we shall see, leads one to a conclusion that Gilligan is a hype-whore.
Birmingham City Council’s Bullying Tactics
According to the Chair of Governors, Mr Waseem Yaqub OBE, Birmingham City Council (BCC) has been attempting to destabilise Al-Hijra School since November 2012; well before the “Trojan Horse” fabrication surfaced. Between April 2013 and May 2014, the BCC made four attempts at imposing an IEB (interim executive board) upon Al-Hijra School. On three occasions they were forced to withdraw because the governors demonstrated that the BCC had not followed regulations. On one occasion, whilst rejecting the local authority’s “takeover”, the HMI Regional Director for Ofsted stated,
“Birmingham City Council may not have acted lawfully in seeking to impose the package of support”.
The BCC has also been engaged in leaking selective, misleading statements to bodies through improper channels against the school to further their own agenda. In December 2013, the school was placed in Special Measures. Al-Hijra School drew up a “school improvement plan” (SIP), which was declared to be not fit for purpose by the HMI (Inspector) of Ofsted who visited the school.
Upon raising this with Chair of Governors, he stated that,
“this is true and we accept this however, the report fails to mention that the Inspect also complimented 90% of the school’s SIP.”