Inspectors are to be sent into schools in the city of Bradford to investigate claims of a takeover attempt by Islamist fundamentalists. Officials from school inspectors Ofsted and the Education Funding Agency (EFA) are likely to begin snap inspections when schools return from the summer break in September.
The Sunday Times says that government sources claim education secretary Nicky Morgan has been spurred on by a report by former counter-terrorism chief Peter Clarke into similar allegations involving schools in Birmingham. Clarke found a “determined effort” by extremists to gain control of schools and impose strict Islamic practices and teaching, and urged to government to “consider whether other areas of the country may be vulnerable and respond promptly and effectively”.
New inspections would also look at possibility of links between the schools in Bradford and senior figures in the Birmingham scandal.
An official told the Sunday Times: “Bradford is the next logical place for the DfE to investigate.
“The DfE [Department for Education] will send in Ofsted to do snap inspections and then dispatch EFA officials to examine school finances.
“The investigation model will be pretty much how the DfE went about investigating the Birmingham schools.
“Nicky Morgan is keen to make a mark and not be taken as a soft touch following Michael Gove’s [the former education secretary] departure.”
Three Bradford schools were already inspected recently, with inspectors finding “deep-rooted disagreement and distrust between governors”, attempts to drop Christian assemblies at Carlton Bolling College, as well as a refusal to let any men inside Feversham College, a state-funded Muslim girls’ school.