The Sunday Times claimed yesterday that as many as a dozen schools in Tower Hamlets face investigation after falling under the influence of Islamic fundamentalists.
This allegation has been strongly denied by Tower Hamlets Council.
According to The Sunday Times, un-named officials at the Department for Education are concerned that the situation may be worse than was alleged in the original ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal earlier this year, in which the newspaper claimed Islamic fundamentalists had attempted to infiltrate secular schools in Birmingham.
Emergency inspections of 21 schools in the city by Ofsted resulted in five Birmingham schools being placed in special measures.
“Tower Hamlets is expected to be the next Birmingham, but even worse, because the problems surrounding Muslim fundamentalists imposing their views on education seem to be more embedded,” the Sunday Times claimed a Whitehall source said.
According to the newspaper, both secular state schools and private Islamic schools are under suspicion, and there are concerns that non-Muslim teachers are staying silent for fear of losing their jobs.
“The Department for Education will rely on whistleblowers to come forward about non-Muslim teachers being sidelined by Muslim fundamentalists in the borough,” the source allegedly told them. “But potential whistleblowers fear they may be bullied, further sidelined or fired if they raise concerns.”
Tower Hamlets council has strongly denied these claims. It said there is no evidence that the next ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal is to be uncovered in the borough, despite one of its schools being subject to a recent unannounced inspection by Ofsted.
A statement said: “Tower Hamlets council has some of the best urban schools in the world due in part to an unrivalled partnership between headteachers, parents, governors, local politicians and the local education authority over a 20-year period.
“For instance, 17 out of 18 secondary schools are rated by Ofsted as good or outstanding.
“The model we have adopted is based on early intervention and where problems have arisen in terms of performance or standards we have acted swiftly to address any concerns.”
Regarding the ‘Trojan Horse’ allegations, it said: “We have no evidence of such practices in our maintained schools.”
It expected Marner Primary School, subjected to the unannounced Ofsted inspection, to be given the all-clear.
A wave of announced checks have been carried out by inspectors up and down the country in the wake of the Birmingham scandal amid serious concerns about standards.