Birmingham & Black Country

'Trojan Horse' school 'renamed Easter eggs so they did not sound Christian'

Adderley Primary Image copyright Google
Image caption Teachers at Adderley Primary School allegedly renamed Easter eggs "chocolate eggs" in a bit to avoid referring to the Christian festival

Teachers at a school linked to the Trojan Horse affair renamed Easter eggs to remove any links to Christianity, a former employee claims.

Hilary Owens, a former teaching assistant at Adderley Primary School in Birmingham, told an employment tribunal they were rebranded "chocolate eggs".

Another former staff member said Muslim pupils were put on lists to stop them going on Easter basket-making classes.

Ms Owens is claiming unfair dismissal alongside three other ex-staff members.

'Hardline plot'

Adderley Primary School was one of the schools mentioned in the so-called Trojan Horse letter, a four-page document that alleged there was a plot by Islamic hardliners to take over schools.

It came to public attention while Ms Owens and her colleagues' tribunal was taking place.

The tribunal was adjourned in April last year when West Midlands Police arrested the four on charges of conspiracy to defraud, but the charges were dropped in May due to "insufficient evidence".

Ms Owens, 46, who describes herself as a practising Christian, told the tribunal she could not remember who had told staff to stop using Easter when referring to the sweets.

"I don't understand that, because having an Easter egg doesn't make you a Christian," she said.

"Some parents would have been upset if they came home and said 'Mummy, I've got an Easter egg', so we had to be very culturally aware," she said.

Ms Owens also told the tribunal resignation letters handed to head teacher Rizvana Darr in 2012 claiming to be from her and three other staff members were forged.

At that time, as well as Ms Owens, Yasmin Akhtar, Shahnaz Bibi and Rehena Khanom had formal grievances against Mrs Darr.

The school alleged that the resignation letters were part of a plan to destabilise the school, but a Birmingham City Council audit in 2013 said "it appears false resignation letters have been produced".

The hearing continues.

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