Trojan horse trustees resign, blaming official ‘witch-hunt’

The entire board of trustees resigned yesterday from a school at the centre of the alleged Trojan horse plot by extremist Muslims to take over schools.

Tahir Alam, the chairman of the Park View Educational Trust, announced that he and his board would stand down but said they had no regrets and no wish to make an apology.

It came after Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, which investigated the plot in Birmingham, said that Muslim governors had promoted a narrow curriculum and intolerant attitudes at some Birmingham schools.

Mr Alam made the announcement outside the gates of Park View School in Alum Rock, Birmingham. The trust also managed two other schools.

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The trust has been the focus of allegations made in the anonymous Trojan horse letter — now widely held to be a hoax — alleging the existence of a clique of hardline Muslims attempting to seize control of Birmingham schools. Those allegations triggered several inquiries, by the city council, Ofsted and the Department for Education (DfE), and last month the trust’s three schools were placed in special measures by Ofsted.

Mr Alam has always denied any wrongdoing and branded the investigations “a witch-hunt”. He said that the trust was resigning with a deep sense of injustice and sadness, adding: “We are immensely proud of the role we have played with others in bringing about school improvements at Park View School. It is now one of the highest- performing in the city.”

Mr Alam said there had been a “vicious and co-ordinated offensive” against the trust and its schools, conducted by the DfE and Ofsted, and blamed Michael Gove’s “profound mistrust of Islam” for creating a “fertile environment for suspicion to grow and innuendo and rumour to fester”.

The views of disgruntled former members of staff had been blown out of all proportion, Mr Alam said, adding: “We are now at a stage where our grade A students are asking ‘Why do people think I’m a terrorist?’ They are worried about the impact having Park View on their CV might have on their chances of securing a college or university place or for their future job prospects.”

Mr Alam called for David Cameron to remove Sir Michael from his role.

Speaking on a radio phone-in yesterday morning, Sir Michael was challenged by a listener about Ofsted’s actions in the city, but he said they were prompted by contact from concerned parents and pre-dated any request by Mr Gove to tackle the problem.

He said: “It’s deeply upsetting, what’s happened in Birmingham. It’s about governors overstepping the mark . . . It’s the job of governors to ensure schools are run according to law, that tolerance is promoted not intolerance, that there is a broad and balanced curriculum.”

Asked how schools that were found to be inadequate after the inquiry had been rated outstanding a year earlier, Sir Michael told the LBC show that a change of leadership could have a very fast effect.