Tackling extremism in schools now high priority


Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has said her department will expand the role of counter-extremism in schools following the Trojan Horse scandal in Birmingham.

The education secretary's statement to the House of Commons said that schools failed by Ofsted now have different leadership, including being run by different academy trusts, while individual staff remain suspended.

She also threatened further intervention if improvement plans in Birmingham are not implemented.

To prevent extremism, there will be a separate counter-extremism steering group and a stronger role in checking against such risks in future. She warned that there would be no tolerance of extremism.

The leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, Russell Hobby, said: "There are still fundamental flaws in the system of local oversight for schools. We operate in a highly autonomous and fragmented system.

"There is no substitute for strong local relationships which can spot troubles before they emerge."

Meanwhile, Ofsted's chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has told MPs that councils must have a role overseeing academies in order to prevent further cases of extremism in schools from occurring in the wake of last year's Trojan Horse scandal.

He said: “They have responsibility for ensuring all their children are in good educational provision – that means they have to have oversight of what’s happening in academies.”

He also urged the Department for Education to inject additional funding into the schools involved in the Trojan Horse inquiry in a bid to help them recover from the scandal, because the schools were struggling to recruit staff in the wake of the inquiry. He warned that they could be at risk of further exploitation unless action is taken.

Asked whether the so-called “dual system” – whereby local authorities are responsible for maintained schools and regional school commissioners are responsible for academies – is useful, Wilshaw said that the issue needs to be clarified. “What we don’t want is an increasingly complex educational map,” he said. “It’s already complex and we want to simplify it.”

School Leadership Today