The papers: The Trojan Horse plot aftermath and RIP Rik Mayall
- 10 June 2014
Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw's report into 21 Birmingham schools, in the wake of allegations of Islamist infiltration of the city's education system, dominates Tuesday's press.
Although - as the Daily Mail says - the letter speaking of a "Trojan Horse" operation to take schools over is now widely believed to have been a hoax, evidence of a campaign to impose a "narrow faith-based ideology" in many schools was found.
Education Secretary Michael Gove's response to the revelations "strikes a blow for British values", the Mail continues.
Mr Gove has ordered that all UK schoolchildren are taught "British values" and has said girls should be told that "women do not have to wear veils".
The Times says that head teachers at "Muslim schools" in Birmingham claimed they had been intimidated by parents and governors demanding strict interpretations of Islamic rules.
The heads were told that children "should not draw, play tuned instruments or swim in mixed classes," the paper reports.
Its leader column says the evidence Ofsted assembled was "damning", not just about the schools but with regards to Birmingham City Council and the government's response to the initial allegations.
The paper adds: "One school official complained yesterday that the investigators came 'looking for extremism'. What is sobering is that they found it."
Its opinion column says "David Cameron's solution to give Ofsted the right to carry out 'dawn raids' is too glib... the sort of headline-grabbing quick fix of which the prime minister seems sadly enamoured.
"Radical Islam is a threat... the issue needs to be dealt with seriously and with a sense of purpose. Mr Cameron and his team have performed shoddily."
The Sun's coverage asks an ex-governor of one of the "Trojan Horse" schools, a parent, Birmingham's former lord mayor and an Islamic expert their views on the issue.
Parent Mohammed Zabar tells the paper that last year, things changed at the school his children attend.
"My daughter came home and said she was told she was un-Islamic because she didn't wear a headscarf," he explains.
Ghaffar Hussain of the counter-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation told the paper: "Some people say 'No, it isn't true, it's not our fault, we are being demonised for being Muslim'.
"The fact is, there have been some incidents of 'Islamising' in schools in Birmingham. We have to face up to things."
The Guardian interviews some parents and teachers at schools mentioned in the report who are worried that children's lives will be "blighted".
Lee Donaghy, assistant principal at the extensively criticised Park View school, said: "This is a normal state school, like thousands of others across Britain - 98% of our pupils just happen to be Muslim. British Muslims.
"Park View school is a beacon, and now that risks being extinguished."
Writing an opinion piece in the paper, John Harris says: "Ultimately religion is a second-order issue here.
"What's most important may be one of the most toxic legacies of this government: the fact that from plummeting morale among teachers, through a mounting shortage of primary school places, to the glaring failings of the free school programme, and now this latest controversy - we have a state education system in complete disarray."
The sudden death of comedian and actor Rik Mayall is Tuesday's other big story.
The Daily Mirror uses its front and four inside pages to pay tribute to the "much-loved TV star".
The paper says his sudden death is still a mystery, but it points out that the entertainer - who suffered head injuries in a near-fatal quad bike crash in 1998 - had to take medication for epilepsy.
Colleagues who worked with him in the last few days while he made a film in Portugal say he seemed "healthy and happy", the Mirror adds.
In the Sun, Tony Parsons says the comic "taught an entire generation to laugh at the world - and ourselves.
"Rik was a lover of slapstick, extreme silliness and a very British kind of toilet humour.
"What was really special about him was there was a real intelligence behind the silliness."
"We asked him what he wanted to do, what was his dream role, and he was very honest. 'I want to play a lead character who is just like me,' he said, 'vain, greedy, depraved, obsessed with money, and not afraid to kill.'"
The Daily Telegraph's obituary reflects on the impact that the breakthrough Young Ones series - written by Mayall with his then-girlfriend Lise Meyer - had.
"The show tore up the established rules of comedy; the resulting 35 minutes of rampaging, violent slapstick struck many as having more in common with Warner Bros cartoons than established sitcoms."
The performer himself was a contrast to his obnoxious characters, the Telegraph adds.
"Mayall was quietly spoken and shy... but also 'evasive, slippery, canny, cautious and a tad self-congratulatory'."
She adds his "sheer, white-light, burning charisma" could enliven any role, no matter how peripheral.
"Memory tells you that he was actually a major part of Blackadder" even when he was on air for just a few minutes, she points out.
Thinking of going anywhere this summer? You may have to think again, if the newspapers are to be believed.
The head of the Passport Office now faces a quizzing from the Commons Home Affairs Committee, the paper reports.
Paul Pugh, the civil servant in charge, denies there are such large backlogs, but admits there has been "exceptional early summer demand", the paper adds.
The Daily Star calls the situation a "passport crisis" and says Britons "face being stranded".
The paper quotes Labour's immigration spokesperson David Hanson who says "there are serious concerns that Theresa May's mismanagement of resources has left the passport services so stretched."
The paper quotes an anxious traveller who left six requests for calls from the Passport Office's help-centre, but still has not received her child's passport after weeks of waiting, and is concerned her family's holidays may be ruined.
The Daily Mail says workers from the PCS union at the agency are threatening a one-day strike unless matters improve.
The paper says that MPs have been "deluged" with complaints about passport delays from worried constituents.
The Passport Office, which made a £73m surplus last year, told the paper that it had dealt with one million applications this year to date, and had redeployed 200 staff - some from anti-fraud duty - to the frontline to cope with the "unexpected surge".
Footballers in favela
In case you haven't noticed, there's a World Cup looming, and today's raft of football stories show the "beautiful game" up in all its highs and lows.
After reporting on the England team's visit to one of Rio's notorious slum areas -"the gritty favela of Rochina" - to undertake some training exercises with local youngsters, sign autographs, make friends and pose for publicity photos, the Times notes an earlier British incursion in the city.
The paper says the Grecians, a professional side in England for six years, were "embarrassed" to lose 2-0 to a side of amateurs from Rio and Sao Paulo.
The aftermath of the match shows how much Brazil has changed in a century, the paper notes, as three of the visiting Devonians were arrested for taking their shirts off during a kick-about on Copacabana Beach.
The Daily Mirror remarks on the high level of security - including a navy gunboat - provided by the Brazilian hosts for the English team.
One fan who witnessed England's arrival tells the paper "it could have been Barack Obama coming in, not a national football team.
"There were so many soldiers in the cavalcade and two or three ambulances."
The Daily Star's coverage focuses on the fans back home, particularly those you might think have gone over the top.
Among them, perhaps is Southampton's Tony Baddams who - the paper tells us - has spent three weeks covering every inch of his home with England flags, shirts... and giant fluffy dice.
Jennifer Lopez (aka J-Lo) has withdrawn from the event in which she was due to sing the official world cup anthem due to "unspecified production difficulties", the paper reports.
The Brazilians may not care though, the Guardian adds, as many have complained the song "We Are One (Ole Ola)" sounds "too generic for the nation's bossa nova-crazed audiences and features foreign musicians singing mainly in English and Spanish".
But it's not just music lovers who may be worried about the impending tournament: The Daily Telegraph reports that teachers are worried about pupils being tired during their exams through watching too much late night football.
"Staying up late the night before an exam is simply scoring an own goal," says George Turnbull of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors, who can clearly not resist a footie-themed pun.
"Now is the time to be disciplined, and there's no reason students can't record matches to watch later."
The paper notes most GCSE and A-levels will finish before June 24, allowing students to watch England's final group game against Costa Rica without feeling guilty. Whether that will be a good or bad thing remains to be seen.
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