We have been asked to comment on the ongoing and continuing issues about the alleged take over and infiltration by hardline religious elements in some Birmingham schools. Report after report into the Trojan Horse affair, has provided insights with claim and counter-claim. Some of the reporting has been detailed and some has been based on the opinions of those in the middle of this firestorm. However, what is clear and factual is that OFSTED will be reporting back sometime this week on their findings.
We understand that there are fears within some sections of Muslim communities that this affair inadvertently may be adding to fears and anxieties about Muslim communities given that the headlines may re-enforce the narrow ideological thinking of some regarding Muslims. We also understand that given that there are serious allegations that have been made regarding some of these schools, that the State and the Department for Education had to act to find out whether there is a basis to the claims. We also believe that due process needs to take its course and we have always, in what we have done, followed due process since it is the right thing to do and also maintains the integrity of processes.
However, we must add that the greatest impact of this whole hazy and quite worrying affair is the impact on the parents of the children who attend these schools. Many are, rightly, worried and want to know what the future holds for schooling for their children. Some are worried that by attending the schools, their children may be labelled and others are just worried about what to do. We therefore welcome a response from OFSTED this week and hope that whatever the findings, parents can find some respite from the uncertainty of not knowing. This is key and in all of this affair, let us therefore spare a thought for the parents and the children who have suffered the greatest impact given the uncertainty and the counter-claims taking place.
Finally, we hope that the future of any educational establishment means that young people are exposed to people of different identities, cultures and beliefs. This is the cornerstone of our society and it is the foundational basis on which we should continue to build this country on. It is also essential, given that young people will be living in an increasingly globalised and heterogenous world.