Extremism in schools: the Trojan Horse affair - Education Committee Contents

6  Impact on children in Birmingham

73. Nicky Morgan has stressed that "At the end of the day, this is all about making sure that the young people at the heart of these schools get the best possible education to fulfil their potential".[97] There is some way still to go to make this a reality. Prior to the Trojan Horse investigations, the Park View Educational Trust appeared to be providing a high level of education for students at its academies. Both Oldknow and Park View itself were judged to be outstanding and results at both schools were above the national average. Following the upheavals of last spring, GCSE results at Park View dropped significantly in 2014 from 75% A* to C in 2013 to just 58% in 2014.[98] Councillor Jones told us that "a lot of the children in the schools affected have had a very difficult time […] There has been relentless negative media coverage of them, their communities, their religion, their schools, in the press, day in and day out".[99]

74. In late January 2015—more than nine months after the first Ofsted inspections in Birmingham—the five schools most heavily involved were still in special measures. Sir Michael Wilshaw told us that "three have made progress, two have not".[100] The latest Ofsted inspection report on Park View, published in January 2015, found that the school was not making sufficient progress towards the removal of special measures, largely because of the significant number of teaching staff currently absent from the academy. This had had a detrimental effect on the quality of teaching, students' progress and students' behaviour.[101]

75. On 29 January the Secretary of State announced that new trustees were in place at all the academies, "led by outstanding and dedicated head teachers".[102] Oldknow Academy and Golden Hillock are to be taken over by the ARK academy chain. Saltley School and Specialist Science College (the only state maintained school to be placed in special measures) is to become an academy, sponsored by another Birmingham school, Washwood Heath Academy.[103]

76. When asked whether the children, communities and schools in Birmingham had benefitted from Ofsted's intervention, Sir Michael Wilshaw told us:

    They have benefited in some sense, because they are not the subject of the sort of policies that would be pursued by these governors with a very particular view of how schools should be run. They are free of that. But those schools have been through an enormous amount of turmoil.[104]

He added:

    These children are lovely. I have been to Birmingham several times, and I am enormously impressed by both the children and parents—I have attended public meetings with those parents, who want those schools to do well. They have been badly let down by the governors and by the fact that we cannot get enough good leaders and teachers in those schools.

77. Sir Michael made a "strong recommendation to the Department […] that additional funding should be found so that we can recruit good people to those schools very quickly, because unless that happens and we see improvement across the board, people who have gone to ground but who want to exploit the situation will do so".[105] The Secretary of State indicated in her statement the following day that the DfE would "consider all reasonable requests for additional funding [at Park View Academy] if and where it can help".[106]

78. The DfE progress report in January 2015 suggested that problems still exist with the BCC leadership on education. The Secretary of State informed the House that she considered reform was too slow at the Council and that "if the Council do not take urgent steps to improve their leadership capacity, I am prepared to make use of the powers available to me to issue a statutory direction to the Council".[107] She also announced that the appointment of the education commissioner, Sir Mike Tomlinson, had been extended to March 2016 "to oversee the council's delivery of the plan they have developed".[108]


79. The children in the schools affected in Birmingham deserve better from all involved. The DfE must continue to monitor the situation in the individual schools. We welcome the extension of the appointment of Sir Mike Tomlinson as education commissioner to address wider problems in education in Birmingham.

97   HC Deb, 29 January 2015, col 1022 Back

98   "GCSE results down at Park View and Golden Hillock schools", BBC News, 21 August 2014 Back

99   Q236 Back

100   Oral evidence taken on 28 January 2015, HC (2014-15) 880, Q68 Back

101   Ofsted report following special measures inspection of Park View School the Academy of Mathematics and Science, letter dated 28 November 2014, published 8 January 2015 Back

102   HC Deb, 29 January 2015, col 1015 Back

103   HC Deb, 29 January 2015, col 1015 Back

104   Oral evidence taken on 28 January 2015, HC (2014-15) 880, Q68 Back

105   Oral evidence taken on 28 January 2015, HC (2014-15) 880, Q68 Back

106   HC Deb, 29 January 2015, col 1015 Back

107   HC Deb, 29 January 2015, col 1016 Back

108   HC Deb, 29 January 2015, col 1016 Back

previous page contents next page

© Parliamentary copyright 2015
Prepared 17 March 2015