The following is an update today (April 23) from Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, on the Trojan Horse investigation:
I want to take this opportunity to correct some of the mis-information which has featured in some of the national media over the Easter weekend.
You will remember that last week I announced the appointment of a Chief Advisor, Ian Kershaw, and the creation of a Review Group, chaired by Stephen Rimmer. I also said that there would be a joint Scrutiny Board held in May and that the Review Group would publish its final report in July. Further to these announcements, I can now confirm remits for all three and the membership of the Review Group.
INDEPENDENT CHIEF ADVISOR
1. To review all intelligence available to the city council relating to Trojan Horse.
2. To undertake any necessary further intelligence gathering on behalf of the city council to aid understanding of the Trojan Horse allegations.
3. To work closely with Ofsted, DfE and the Education Commissioner, Peter Clarke.
4. In undertaking the above, to have particular regard to understanding what has and hasn’t been happening in respect of the discharge of statutory and “best practice” governance and safeguarding responsibilities in the schools concerned – and also by the DfE, Ofsted and the city council.
5. To provide the Review Group and joint Scrutiny Board with any reports necessary to help their understanding of what has and hasn’t been happening in schools. Also, to advise on the implications of any proven allegations and suggest corrective/improvement actions.
The Chief Advisor will be accountable to the Leader, Councillors Brigid Jones and John Cotton, Director for People (Peter Hay) and the Chief Executive (Mark Rogers).
1. To review the findings of the Chief Advisor – and any other reports that may be made available by DfE, Ofsted or others – with a view to publishing a report (in July 2014) that, insofar as is possible, explains the authenticity or otherwise of the Trojan Horse allegations and makes recommendations to the city council and any other relevant bodies to ensure effective future governance and safeguarding arrangements in all schools.
The Review Group will be chaired by the West Midlands Director for Preventing Violence to Vulnerable People (PVVP) – Stephen Rimmer. Stephen is on secondment from the post of Director General, Home Office.
The Review Group membership will be:
Birmingham City Council:
Cllr Brigid Jones
Cllr John Cotton
Cllr Ansar Ali Khan
Cllr Habib Rehman
Kamal Hanif (Headteacher, Waverley School)
Liam Byrne MP
Andrew Mitchell MP
ACC Gary Forsyth (West Midlands Police)
Bishop David Urquhart (Bishop of Birmingham)
Dr Mohammed Naseem from Birmingham Central Mosque had also agreed to be part of the group. Sadly, you will have heard the news of his death yesterday. Therefore, when it is appropriate to do so, the mosque will nominate another representative.
Rob Kelsall, National Association of Head Teachers (representing all headteachers’ professional associations)
Emma Knights, National Governors Association
I have requested that the DfE, DCLG and Ofsted also send representatives (officials) to the Group. It is my understanding that these requests are being treated sympathetically.
The joint Scrutiny Board will be convened in May to:
a) receive, in public, an interim appraisal of the Trojan Horse allegations from the Chief Advisor (Ian Kershaw) and Chairman of the Review Group (Stephen Rimmer).
b) make suggestions that might assist the Chief Advisor’s further investigations;
c) consider whether or not there are any immediate recommendations to be made to the Leader and Chief Executive in respect of securing the highest standards of good governance and safeguarding in schools.
This joint committee will have cross-party representation which is in the process of being determined.
So, to be clear, there will be an interim report to the Joint Scrutiny Board in all probability the second or third week in May and a final report will be made by the Review Group in July to the Leader of the Council and Cabinet to coincide with the publication of the report by Peter Clarke, the Education Commissioner. Both reports will be made public.
ISSUES ARISING AT THE WEEKEND
I am sure you will have seen reports in the Telegraph containing leaked information about the results of Ofsted inspections of a number of schools. Also leaked was a copy of a report from the Education Funding Agency which is a delivery body of the DfE, in which the findings of its investigation at Park View, Golden Hillock and Nansen Primary, were put into the public domain.
That such important and sensitive information has been leaked, particularly at this time, when further investigations are getting underway, is wholly reprehensible and completely unacceptable.
We have made strong representations to the DfE and Ofsted and have received the reassurance that a “leak inquiry” is being conducted by the Cabinet Office.
It is our expectation that this inquiry will be comprehensive and transparent and that those who have seen fit to undermine the efforts of the city council and the government to get to the bottom of these allegations, will be appropriately dealt with.
Aside from the understandable upset these leaks have caused, I must also take the opportunity to set the record straight by saying that there are as yet no final judgements on any of the schools inspected. I cannot emphasise this enough.
I have been advised by Ofsted that the final reports will not be made public until May. Any further speculation about the outcomes is therefore inappropriate and potentially damaging to schools reputations. The only other comment it is appropriate for me to make at this time is the Telegraph wrongly reported that Springfield Primary School had been inspected in the previous weeks. This was not the case.
For those of you unsure about the 18 schools that have been inspected recently at the request of the Secretary of State, I am able to confirm the list at the end of this update.
Last week, I advised that we have received information in respect of 25 schools. Given that the Chief Advisor has started only yesterday and therefore in the early stages of his investigation, I am not in a position to advise you of the names of the other 7 schools as it would be premature to assume that they are involved.
Given the comments I have just made, it is all the more important now that there is a joined up approach to the further investigations by the city council, DfE and Ofsted.
In the interests of the schools concerned and the communities they serve, I believe that it is essential that Ian Kershaw, Peter Clarke and Sir Michael Wilshaw (leading for Ofsted) co-operate closely with each other, albeit respecting their individual remits and accountabilities.
I want to make it clear that it was our preference all along to have a partnership with DfE and Ofsted and between us to have a joint investigation, with a published single report.
I have already said that it is regrettable that the Secretary of State was not persuaded on the merits of this, however, in the light of what has gone on over the weekend, it now seems beyond doubt that we should see full alignment and co-operation between the investigations. You can see that I have already extended the hand of co-operation by inviting Ofsted, DfE and DCLG to sit on the Review Group and I now hope that will be reciprocated in the way that these investigations progress here on in.
LIST OF SCHOOLS
According to Ofsted these are the schools it has inspected at the request of the Secretary of State:
Adderley Primary School
Alston Primary School
Golden Hillock School
Gracelands Nursery School
Highfield Junior and Infant School
Ladypool Primary School
Marlborough Junior School
Montgomery Primary Academy
Ninestiles School – an Academy
Park View School – The Academy of Mathematics & Science
Regents Park Community Primary School
Saltley School and Specialist Science College
Small Heath School
Washwood Heath Academy
Welford Primary School
It is also our understanding that the Education Funding Agency, at the request of the DfE, also visited Park View, Golden Hillock and Nansen Primary.