Birmingham 'Trojan Horse' plot 'started 20 years ago'

Michael White Michael White taught at Park View School for more than 20 years before he was dismissed

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A former teacher at a Birmingham school alleged to be part of an "Islamic takeover plot" says concerns were first raised more than 20 years ago.

Michael White, who was dismissed in 2003 from Park View School, in Alum Rock, said its board of governors was "taken over by a Muslim sect" in 1993.

He said he told the local education authority (LEA) but his claims were not investigated.

Tahir Alam, chair of governors at Park View, denied Mr White's claims.

'Forced out'

Birmingham City Council said it was unable to comment on historic or current allegations while investigations were ongoing.

Mr White said Park View's board of governors was reorganised after the school was put into special measures by Ofsted in 1993.

He said there was an increase in female students covering their hair within months of Mr Alam's appointment.

"The LEA was well aware of what was going on," he said.

"They told me they didn't want to exchange one set of problems for another."

Mr White said he was "forced out" after he challenged governors' attempts to ban sex education and stop the teaching of non-Islamic faiths in religious education classes.

In 2003 he was dismissed for gross misconduct after he handed a letter to prospective teachers advising them to question the governors, he said.

Park View School Park View School was named in a letter purporting to be written by those behind the alleged plot

Mr White, who has since retrained as an electrician, said the "stress" of the disciplinary process meant he had not spoken publicly about his suspicions until he saw media coverage of the "Trojan Horse" letter.

The message, apparently written to a contact in Bradford, claimed responsibility for leadership changes at four Birmingham schools.

It says the method of doing so - detailed over four pages - has been "tried and tested".

Investigations are taking place into claims in the letter 12 schools in the city have been targeted by Islamic extremists.

Ofsted has confirmed it is undertaking a number of unannounced inspections at Birmingham schools at the request of the Department for Education (DfE).

Adderley Primary School was visited on Wednesday and Thursday.

Inspectors have also visited Nansen Primary and Golden Hillock schools.

'Widespread practice'

Mr Alam, who has dismissed the letter as a hoax, said there was "no truth" in Mr White's allegations.

"It was such a long time ago, I think it's a misreading of what the reality was at the time of his departure," he said.

The National Union of Teachers said the allegations in the letter were evidence the government's free schools and academy policies were open to abuse.

A spokesman said "thousands of schools" had been taken over by minority interests, including businesses and other religions, since the policy was introduced.

The DfE said it was unable to comment on the circumstances of Mr White's departure from the school as it was more than 10 years ago.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said it was "vitally important" to "get to the bottom of the allegations".

He said: " In due course more action will be taken. It's important though that we take that action based on facts rather than rumour."

Mr Gove added an Ofsted report into one of the schools identified would be "published soon".

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