Trojan Horse issues could reappear in Birmingham schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw warns

Chief inspector says Birmingham was his biggest worry during his five years at Ofsted

Martin George

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The Trojan Horse scandal could be repeated in Birmingham, the chief inspector of schools has warned.

Sir Michael Wilshaw described the city’s council as a “rotten borough… beyond redemption”, and said the state of its schools and children’s social services had been his biggest cause of concern during his time at Ofsted.

The Trojan Horse affair emerged in late 2013, over an alleged plot by some Muslim groups to take over schools in the city and run them on strict Islamic principles.

Sir Michael told The Sunday Times: “Birmingham is the equivalent of the 19th-century rotten borough...If the government does not act in Birmingham in terms of corporate governance, I am concerned we will see a return to Trojan Horse issues at some stage.”

His comments come days after the schools tsar appointed as the city’s education commissioner in the wake of the scandal told TES that academisation meant the government did not have the powers to deal with a repeat.

Sir Mike Tomlinson, one of Sir Michael’s predecessors as Ofsted chief inspector, said the government did not have formal powers to remove staff in such situations.

However, he also said Birmingham had made “a lot of progress” since Trojan Horse, and that the chances of a repeat in the city were “very, very small”, because of newly formed partnerships and school structures that prevented problems from escalating.

Birmingham City Council rejected Sir Michael Wilshaw's "caricature".

Brigid Jones, its cabinet member for children, families and schools, told The Sunday Times: “Not only have Sir Michael’s own Ofsted inspectors confirmed our progress in protecting vulnerable children in a report published just two weeks ago, the Department for Education has confirmed that we no longer need an education commissioner, such is the good work we are doing.”

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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