Trojan Horse Statement
Birmingham Branch Commmittee has agreed to support the following statement by Putting Birmingham School Kids First.
PUTTING BIRMINGHAM SCHOOL KIDS FIRST - Launch statement
The central allegation, that there was an organized plot to radicalise school children in a handful of Birmingham schools, remains unproven. What the OFSTED reports show is some governance issues in some schools.
In order to fix these problems we need greater clarity about the issues these investigations have revealed. This needs to be done without the sensationalist references to extremism and national security that we have seen so far which have caused confusion and concern across the city and country. Many people now believe that their children's educational potential, achievement and well-being is being threatened by politicians, who wish to be seen as 'tough' on Muslims.
This approach has been deeply unhelpful, hurtful and insulting, and most importantly could prevent us finding the solutions we need to help school children in Birmingham.
The Putting Birmingham School Kids First campaign aims to:
1. Make sure that any issues of governance within Birmingham schools are fixed and fixed fast.
2. Challenge the false and divisive allegation that this is a problem of systematic radicalization, extremism or terrorism.
We will work with anyone who is willing to put the interests of our children first. But the starting point has to be a true understanding of the problem. Many people have serious concerns about the impartiality of OFSTED and feel there was a climate of fear surrounding their investigations. But even their 21 investigations did not reveal a link to radicalisation. We share the view of West Midlands Chief Constable that the appointment of a counter-terrorism expert to investigate our schools was a provocative and unhelpful move.
The Muslim community is no different to any other faith community in having a spectrum of opinions, from liberal to conservative, on what is the correct balance between secular and religious values in the provision of education. Instead of debating these issues openly, the government has taken the completely inappropriate approach of linking this with the prevention of terrorism.
Workable solutions will not appear overnight. Trust has broken down between those who should be working together. Our role in the journey is to provide parents, staff, pupils and governors a strong forum within which to voice their opinions about the issues raised over the last few months and to give their views about whether proposed solutions will work - in a safe and transparent space.
We want solutions that ensure our school children receive a top quality education that prepares them to be engaged and active citizens. There are already many cases of outstanding practice in Birmingham, these need to be acknowledged and adopted more widely. We are proud that Birmingham is among the youngest and most multi-cultural cities in the world and stand by its people in all their diversity.
Signed: Tim Brighouse (Former Education Commissioner), Shabana Mahmood MP, Christine Blower (NUT General Secretary), Salma Yaqoob (Convenor), Dr Chris Allen (Birmingham University), Revd Ray Gaston, (Anglican Priest), Father Oliver Coss, and many others....