'Trojan Horse': Cases against teachers dropped
The case against five senior teachers accused of professional misconduct in the so-called "Trojan Horse" inquiry has been dropped.
An independent panel found the integrity of the process had been "called into disrepute".
It said 25 witness statements from a prior inquiry had been "deliberately withheld" from the panel.
The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) said it would consider the ruling before commenting.
Several schools in Birmingham were investigated amid claims of a Muslim hardliners' plot to control them, known as the Trojan Horse affair, which began in 2014.
The professional conduct panel of the NCTL found its own organisation withheld 25 statements which had been used in an inquiry led by former counter-terror boss Peter Clarke, into the allegations of a plot.
The statements were disclosed at a late stage of the proceedings, the panel said, which was a breach of process and demonstrated a lack of co-operation.
Earlier this year, legal representatives for some of the people whose statements were to be disclosed argued their identities should be protected as agreed when giving evidence to the Clarke report.
But the teachers' lawyers argued the statements should have been disclosed earlier so they could better defend their clients.
The five teachers who had been facing tribunals over alleged professional misconduct are:
- Razwan Faraz, former deputy head teacher at Nansen Primary
- Arshad Hussain, assistant head teacher at Park View
- Hardeep Saini, former head teacher at Golden Hillock
- Lindsey Clark, executive head teacher at Park View
- Monzoor Hussain, former head teacher at Park View
The teachers are all worked for the former Park View Trust, a trust which oversaw the running of several schools in Birmingham, including Park View, Golden Hillock and Nansen Primary.
The Clarke inquiry found no evidence of extremism but said "there are a number of people in a position of influence who either espouse, or sympathise with or fail to challenge extremist views".
The inquiry was sparked by the appearance of a letter giving details of an alleged plot to oust some Birmingham head teachers and make their schools adhere to more Islamic principles.
It stated parents could be encouraged to turn against the leadership team if they were told the school is "corrupting their children with sex education, teaching about homosexuals, making their children pray Christian prayers and [carrying out] mixed swimming and sport".
Eventually, the NCTL set up disciplinary hearings against a number of teachers at the schools, accusing them of professional misconduct.
The hearings have been running since 2015.
Lawyers for Monzoor Hussain and Ms Clark issued separate statements saying both parties were relieved the ordeal was over.
"For three years Mr Hussain has been unable to carry out his profession, with all the financial pressures that has caused to his family," a statement said.
Ms Clark's lawyers described the victory as "hollow" as she had fought for a verdict clearing her of any wrongdoing.
An NCTL spokesman said: "The NCTL will carefully consider this latest panel hearing before deciding the next steps in this process."
Teaching union NASUWT said, on behalf of Mr Faraz, that Tuesday's decision raises serious questions about the conduct of the NCTL.