'Trojan Horse': Birmingham academy trust criticised
- 8 June 2014
- From the section Education & Family
The Birmingham academy trust at the centre of the so-called Trojan Horse allegations has been accused of running schools which have "taken the Islamic focus too far".
A leaked draft report on Park View Educational Trust from the Education Funding Agency says some parts of the school curriculum are "restricted to a conservative Islamic perspective".
It found that girls and boys had been segregated in some classes.
The trust has strongly disputed allegations of extremism.
Park View Educational Trust runs three schools - Park View, Golden Hillock and Nansen - caught up in claims that a group of hardline Muslims have been trying to take over schools in Birmingham.
This draft report, obtained by the BBC's Newsnight, is from the Education Funding Agency which can investigate providers running groups of academies.
This highly-critical report found a classroom culture in which Park View School which was not welcoming to non-Muslim pupils - even though the school is not a Muslim faith school.
It described a "madrassa curriculum" in PHSE (personal, social, health and economic) lessons and "posters written in Quranic Arabic in most of the classrooms visited".
Staff told the inspectors that loudspeakers in the school were used to broadcast the call to prayer.
The report says there were posters in classrooms encouraging children to begin lessons with a Muslim prayer.
And there were claims of an inappropriate external speaker being brought in to talk to pupils.
In RE lessons, the report found that the few pupils taking a Christian unit in the GCSE course, rather than the Islamic Studies paper, had to "teach themselves", because the teacher had to concentrate on what the majority were studying.
But the report says there were no signs of an enforced Islamic dress code.
The report says that the way the schools are run is "inadequate", with the chair of the trust playing an "inappropriate role in the day-to-day running of the school".
The trust has strongly rejected the criticisms and does not accept that there has been gender segregation.
A response from the trust challenges much of the detail of the report, accusing it of "sweeping statements" and inaccuracies - arguing that it makes assumptions based on prejudices about the Trojan Horse claims.
Park View was previously assessed as an outstanding school by Ofsted - a rating which is likely to be overturned when the latest round of inspections are published.