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Extremism in British schools?

UK report portrays a culture of fear and intimidation following claims of a Muslim plot to infiltrate the classroom.

Last updated: 10 Jun 2014 19:17
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Britain's top schools inspector has released his findings, following accusations of a plot by hardline Muslims to take over schools in the central city of Birmingham.

The allegation of extremist influence was outlined in what has become known as the 'Trojan Horse' letter. It was unsigned, undated, and believed by many now to be a hoax. One of the education trusts singled out rejected accusations of extremism, saying inspections had been carried out in a "climate of suspicion".

Michael Wilshaw's report detailed an organised campaign to alter the "character and ethos" of schools in Birmingham, a breakdown of trust between governors and staff, and teachers being bullied and living in fear of losing their jobs. He said some of his findings were "deeply worrying and in some ways quite shocking".

The claims have had huge political repercussions, striking at the heart of the British government.

Education secretary Michael Gove says: "Any school could now be subject to rigorous, on-the-spot inspections, with no advance warning and no opportunities to conceal failure. And we will put the promotion of British values at the heart of what every school has to deliver for children."

So is there evidence of an extremist conspiracy in schools or merely individual examples of bad governance?

Presenter: Hazem Sika

Guests:

Khalid Mahmood - a Birmingham Labour MP and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Tackling Terrorism

Myriam Francois-Cerrah - a writer and journalist, and contributor to the New Statesman

Sunny Hundal - a blogger, writer and regular contributor to British newspapers

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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