Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham school governor denies 'Trojan Horse' plot claims

Park View School
Image caption David Hughes said the "Trojan Horse" allegations were "dangerous" for Birmingham

A governor at a Birmingham school alleged to be the target of an "Islamic takeover plot" has described the claims as a "witch hunt".

David Hughes, a governor at Park View School, defended it against what he said were "unfounded attacks".

The Department for Education (DfE) is investigating 12 schools over the alleged plot.

Ten MPs have asked for the council and DfE to jointly review any lessons to be learned following the investigation.

In a letter to Education Secretary Michael Gove the Birmingham MPs said it was "essential" such a review was undertaken, led by an advisor appointed by the two organisations.

A so-called "Operation Trojan Horse" letter claimed responsibility for leadership changes at four Birmingham schools, but its authenticity has not been established.

'No complaints'

Mr Hughes, who describes himself as a "white, practising Anglican Christian", has been a governor at the Alum Rock school for more than 15 years.

"In all my time as a governor we have not received a single complaint about 'extremism' or 'radicalism'.

"If we had we would have investigated it openly and thoroughly," he said.

Ofsted has confirmed it is carrying out a number of snap inspections at Birmingham schools, including Park View, at the request of the DfE.

Image caption Former teacher Michael White said Park View's board of governors was "taken over by a Muslim sect" in 1993

Mr Hughes said he suspected the school would receive a negative Ofsted report, despite previously being rated as "outstanding".

"The revisit of the inspection team gave every indication of having no wish other than to condemn the school - even the outstanding features," he said.

"Are there areas to improve at the school? Yes of course, as there are at most schools."

An Ofsted spokeswoman declined to comment on the remarks.

'Fictitious allegations'

Last week Michael White, a former teacher at Park View School, said he was dismissed in 2003 after raising concerns about extremism among governors.

But Mr Hughes dismissed the claims, saying "at no time" during a disciplinary panel had Mr White raised concerns.

He said some former staff members were "smearing" the school and "sharing fictitious allegations".

The allegations were "socially divisive and dangerous for a settled, stable, multi-cultural Birmingham," he said.

Birmingham City Council has said it is continuing to investigate the allegations and cannot comment further.

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