'Trojan Horse' schools improving, Ofsted says

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Park View SchoolImage source, PA
Image caption,
A series of official investigations found claims of a takeover plot to be groundless

Improvements are being made at three schools at the centre of so-called Trojan Horse inquiries, inspectors have found.

Park View, Oldknow and Golden Hillock were among five schools in Birmingham put into special measures last year.

It followed an investigation into a supposed plot by a conservative group of Muslims to take over schools.

Visits last month, found they had made "reasonable progress", although remain in special measures.

The monitoring inspections, published on Tuesday, outlined improvements in teaching and leadership.

Teaching at Oldknow Academy was rated outstanding last year even though it was rated inadequate overall, due to criticism over leadership and the safety of pupils.

Those two elements have received some positive feedback in the latest report.

Despite improvements in procedures to monitor pupils and staff, Ofsted said there remained a "lack of accountability".

Staff morale also remains low and inspectors said there was a lack of trust.

'Deep-seated problems'

Park View School was told as recently as January there were still "serious concerns" over teaching.

Since then, inspectors said the overall quality had started to improve, along with pupils' achievement levels.

Despite that, Ofsted's report found there was still "considerable variance" in teaching standards and "too much remains weak".

Pupil behaviour, criticised in January, has also improved at the Alum Rock school, and there was praise for the leadership.

Inspectors said the executive principal was working "to resolve some of the deep-seated problems" and had a "good understanding of the challenges that remain".

The school is currently recruiting for a permanent head teacher.

A year ago, Park View was criticised for failing to alert pupils to the risks of extremism, despite a series of official investigations subsequently finding claims of an overall plot to be groundless.

Since then, governors have received training on the risks of radicalisation, but inspectors said sex and relationships was still not being taught.

'Extremely Fragile position'

Overall, Ofsted said a number of new systems had been introduced at the school, but it was "too early to see if they are effective".

Golden Hillock Academy, part of the Park View trust, received a similar report with regard to teaching, with improvements in many areas, although there was criticism for maths teaching, which it said was "inadequate".

The reports for Park View, Golden Hillock and Oldknow broadly contrast with that for Nansen Primary - another of the schools involved in the Trojan Horse inquiries - which has been told it is "not making enough progress".

The report said the primary was in "an extremely fragile position" and standards remained low in reading, writing and mathematics.

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