A Church of England school is expected to be put into special measures on Friday having previously been given an outstanding rating after an emergency OFSTED inspection found disturbing evidence that it may have fallen victim to Trojan horse-style Islamisation. Sir John Cass’s Foundation & Red Coat Church of England Secondary School (SJC) in Tower Hamlets was inspected by OFSTED 2008 but the emergency inspection was ordered after the Birmingham Trojan horse plot was uncovered.
The school announced on its website that it will close today for “staff training”, leading to rumours that major changes are being made to practises. In its promotional material SJC admits to operating segregated sixth form common rooms. One that is only open to girls, whilst the other one is open to both sexes.
The OFSTED report is expected to cite the segregated common rooms as one example of the school operating according to strict Islamic rules. They are also highly critical of a referendum that was held to decide whether boys and girls should enter the schools via separate entrances. In classes they offer an AS level in Islamic studies, despite officially being a Church of England School. No Christian equivalent is advertised.
In the promotional description of the course, the school says: “Not a week goes by when something to do with Islam is not mentioned on the news, e.g. the cartoons insulting the prophet, terrorists causing atrocities in the name of Islam, the rights of women, Shariah Law etc. The great thing about this course is that students will learn exactly what Islam is about, its true beliefs and practices.”
An emergency inspection was ordered last month after allegations schools in Birmingham had been taken over. Before the plot was uncovered those schools were also given a clean bill of health from inspectors. However, it was later discovered that teachers and governors had deliberately deceived the inspectors into believing the schools were not being run under strict Islamic rules.
The Department for Education have now decided they will start unannounced inspections so schools do not have time to hide unacceptable practises. When the inspection was ordered a government source told the Sunday Times: “There were specific concerns about the curriculum being taught in some of the schools. Since these schools were being investigated, it was decided to look at six schools in the area [East London].”
The school is funded by the Sir John Cass’s Foundation, which supports a number of educational outlets including a Primary School in the City of London which is not connected with the Secondary School despite having a similar name. The Foundation refused to comment on the allegations saying their director had instructed staff to refer any questions about the inspection report to the school. The Head Teacher of SJC also failed to return our calls.
The official report is expected to be published in the next few days, but sources have described the schools leadership as being “in a state of panic” over its findings.
In its 2008 report OFSTED noted the level of consideration given to the “diverse backgrounds” of their pupils. They said: “The quality of students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is excellent. Assemblies involve presentations from students and Muslim students have access to a prayer room”.