One of the schools hit by the so-called ‘Trojan Horse’ Islamisation plot, where female pupils were reportedly barred from playing tennis with male teachers, has been named an official ‘UK School of Tennis’.
Park View in Alum Rock, Birmingham was at the centre of the Islamisation scandal. During a misconduct hearing, it was alleged that girls there had been banned from tennis because male teachers “did not want girls to be seen with their bits jumping up and down”.
Monzoor Hussain, the former principal, allegedly made the remarks to school press officer, Susan Packer, after she complained about girls being pulled out of tennis coaching sessions led by men.
Ms. Packer told a National College for Teaching & Leadership hearing that the comment “shocked me and made me feel very uncomfortable as I did not think it was appropriate for a principal to say that.”
She said that when she complained to former Park View executive head teacher, Lindsey Clark, about the alleged ban, she was told “the governors did not want mixed sports lessons”.
Park View was later renamed Rockwood Academy, and a new leadership team was installed.
Now, in a stunning twist of irony, the school has been named among 21 British schools to be dubbed ‘Schools of Tennis’ by the Tennis Foundation charity, the Birmingham Mail reports.
Rockwood and another Birmingham school, Nansen Primary — also linked to the Trojan Horse plot — will each receive up to £5,000 for the scheme, which promises to train teachers as coaches.
Adrian Packer, CEO of CORE Education Trust which runs the schools, said the project was an “incredible opportunity” for pupils, many of whom are entitled to free school meals.
He added: “I don’t want our students to have the misconception that tennis is an elitist sport that is only available to a privileged few.
“The School of Tennis programme will provide our students with high quality access to a sport that they have told us they want more of.
“They will relish the opportunity to take advantage of all the exciting elements of this innovative new initiative.”
Paul Williams, Schools Tennis Manager at the Tennis Foundation, said: “We’re looking forward to supporting these schools so that they can make tennis more appealing to their particular students and subsequently enjoy all the physical and social benefits which tennis brings.”
The ‘Trojan Hoarse’ plot — whereby hard line Muslim parents and governors attempted to covertly Islamise secular state schools in Birmingham — began to be uncovered in 2014, and culminated in 14 teachers being investigated for exerting “undue spiritual influence” over their pupils. Several were banned from the profession.
Other schools implicated in the plot were found to have banned the celebration of festivals such as Christmas and Diwali, introduced extra Muslim festivals, and sent pupils on Islamic pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia.
They were also accused of segregating pupils according to sex, banning the teaching of music and drama, and introducing lessons in Arabic.