A former head teacher at one of the so-called Trojan Horse schools has become the first teacher in the UK to be banned from the profession for exerting an “undue amount of religious influence” on his pupils.
The Department for Education revealed the unprecedented sanction after head master Jahangir Akbar, 38, was found guilty of professional misconduct by a National College for Teaching & Leadership (NCTL) hearing last month.
The NCTL panel, which reconvened yesterday to announce the ruling, described Mr. Akbar’s misconduct as “of a serious nature”. It was found that he banned Christmas and promoted Muslim holidays.
The panel initially said the ban was “indefinite”, but later agreed that he would be able to reapply to be a teacher in five years because of his “good character”.
Sanctioning Mr. Akbar on behalf of Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Paul Heathcote today said Mr. Akbar would be prohibited from teaching “indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England”, according to the Birmingham Mail.
Mr. Akbar once lead Oldknow Academy in Small Heath, one of five schools in east Birmingham that failed government inspections when officers confirmed claims of a plot by radical Salafi Muslims to take control of the secular state schools.
The institution has since been taken over by a new sponsor and renamed.
The NCTL panel found that the head teacher banned the celebration of festivals such as Christmas and Diwali, and instead introduced a two-day event for the Muslim festival of Eid. He also allowed pupils to go on a ten-day pilgrimage to the Muslim holy site of Mecca.
However, he was cleared of segregating pupils, organising or delivering overly religious assemblies, excluding the proper teaching of sex and religious education, and reducing pupils’ participation in art and music performances.
Panel chairman John Pemberton said that, “Although the panel has found that Mr Akbar agreed to the inclusion of an undue amount of religious influence, the panel has not made a finding that Mr. Akbar was promoting religious extremism.”
Adding: “Mr. Akbar has pointed out that he had no mentor or coach and that he lacked support during the period of his tenure at the school, which included the wider ‘Trojan Horse’ allegations and publicity. The panel accepts this.
“Taking into account Mr Akbar’s lack of experience, the influence of the governors and his previous good history, the panel believes that he should have an opportunity to demonstrate to a future panel that the prohibition order should be set aside.”