Trojan Horse – what action did Peter Clarke recommend for the Department for Education (DfE?)

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Note: comments in brackets are those of the author

Clarke recommended the DfE should:

1 Look at the way schools help individuals gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to make sure the system can’t be abused. (But academies and free schools don’t have to offer training towards QTS for untrained teachers – this is a weak point which would allow academies* to appoint unsuitable people as teachers.)

2 Schools already have a teacher designated as Child Protection Officer (CPO). His/her responsibilities should be extended to include the counter-terrorism strategy Prevent. The mandatory Child Protection training should include Prevent and the CPO should ensure the training is “cascaded to every member of staff, governor or volunteer”.

3 Consider taking against teachers who breach teacher standards. (This is another loophole: use of teacher standards in academies “depends on the specific establishment arrangements” of each school.)

4 Ensure it is responsive to whistleblowing; that it acts robustly and provides proper protection to whistleblowers.

5 Judge whether such concerns indicate extremism; if so refer these to the relevant authority.

6 The new Regional Schools Commissioners’ responsibilities should include receiving complaints about academies* and passing them on to the relevant authority for investigation.

7 Review the way in which schools are able to convert to academies and the way in which single academies can become Multi Academy Trusts (MATs). This should include making appropriate checks on MAT individuals and ensuring the MAT’s capability and capacity.

8 As a matter of urgency, consider how best to collect local concerns during conversion.

9 As a matter of urgency, review the “brokerage system” (or re-brokerage) whereby schools are matched with sponsors to ensure transparency.

10 Consider requiring academies to tell the Department about changes in governing bodies.

11 Consider giving stronger powers to the Secretary of State (SoS) to bar individuals from managing any type of school whether maintained or an academy. (This would need independent monitoring to ensure a SoS didn’t use this power to prevent individuals from being barred just because they opposed government policies or were, say, members of the so-called “Blob”.)

12 Review guidance of governors’ appointments so it includes clear expectations of a governor’s role.

13 Review and analyse the evidence collected during Clarke’s investigation of allegations made in the so-called Trojan Horse letter.

14 Take steps to understand areas of concern highlighted in the investigation - including possible financial malpractice)- and consider further action.

15 Consider whether areas of the country are particularly vulnerable to the concerns raised in the Trojan Horse investigations. (By concentrating on particular areas, say cities with a sizeable Muslim population, this has the potential of (a) alienating Muslims in the same way the first Prevent strategy did by treating them all as a suspect group; and (b) drawing attention away from other areas where governors may seek to impose their limited view of the world onto their schools.)

*academies include free schools.